Languages in Mexico

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Languages in Mexico

Mexico has 68 official languages, Spanish being the main one. The other 67 are indigenous languages that, although officially recognized, people almost never speak. Spanish is used by virtually the whole population and all public communications (signs, documents, media, etc.) are conducted in the language. Bilingual signs in Spanish and English might be available in popular tourist destinations.

English is understood by many in Mexico City as well as by some tourist workers in popular tourist places, but nevertheless, most Mexicans don't speak English. Educated Mexicans, especially younger ones, and professional businessmen are the people most likely to speak some English. The most popular foreign languages to learn within Mexico after English are French, Italian, German and Japanese. Among clerks, policemen, and drivers (most particularly the last) there is basically no such thing as knowledge of foreign languages.

Mexico has one of the richest diversity of languages, with more of 60 indigenous languages spoken within the Mexican territory. These languages are spoken within the communities of these indigenous peoples, who are largely segregated from mainstream mestizo society. In any case, the probabilities of finding a speaker of any of these languages is small, since only half of 20% that comprises Indian population in Mexico speaks indigenous language. On the other hand, most of these communities are fluent in Spanish as well. Therefore learning any of these indigenous languages is not indispensable at all; quite the opposite, unexpected and will gain a lot of respect from these communities. 

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