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Sarah Palin thinks everyone in the U.S. should ‘speak American’

Pro tip: American is not a language.


Andrew Couts


Posted on Sep 6, 2015   Updated on May 28, 2021, 12:48 am CDT

Sarah Palin thinks it’s great that Jeb Bush can speak Spanish—but honestly, she says, it’d really be a whole lot better if everyone just spoke “American.” 

In an interview with CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday morning, the former governor of Alaska and 2008 vice presidential candidate praised Bush, a 2016 Republican presidential candidate whose wife, Columba, is Hispanic, for his attempts to reach Hispanic voters. 

“It’s a benefit of Bush to be able to be so fluent, because we have a large and wonderful Hispanic population building America, and that’s a great connection he has with them,” Palin said. “On the other hand, I think we can send a message and say, ‘You want to be in America, A) You’d better be here legally or you’re out of here. B) When you’re here, let’s speak American,'” she said, adding that English is a “language understood by all.”

The United States does not have an official language (and “American” is not a language), though more Americans speak English than any other language. But Spanish comes in a solid second place. According to the Instituto Cervantes, the U.S. is home to 41 million native Spanish speakers, while another 11.6 million are bilingual. That means there are more Hispanics in the U.S. than in Spain, and only Mexico has more, with a population of 121 million.

Photo via RogerGoun/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Sep 6, 2015, 2:11 pm CDT