It's an understatement to say that Illinois is unique and I mean that as a compliment. That statement is never more true than when talking (literally) about the most common foreign language that's spoken in the Land of Lincoln. It's not the most popular non-English language in any other state.

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I found this interesting yet odd fact on an article that is not new to say the least, but it's new to me. Way back when (I think it's from 2014), the website Slate did a breakdown of the most popular languages in each state that aren't English or Spanish. Only Illinois is unique in what is spoken when it's not the mother tongue of English.

Infographic, Slate
Infographic, Slate

For Illinois, it's Polish. Of course, it's Polish. I was not surprised at all to see German be prevalent not just in Missouri but throughout the Midwest including Iowa and Wisconsin. My mother's name was Frankenbach, so that should tell you something.

The Slate article has some other interesting takeaways for non-English languages spoken in Missouri and Illinois. The most popular Scandinavian language is Danish for Missouri and Swedish for Illinois. The most common Native American language in Missouri is Cherokee while in Illinois it's Winnebago.

Next time you pull up to a Polish buffet, remember it's likely been done in Illinois first (or best).

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