Indigenous peoples of the Americas speak about a thousand Indigenous languages. These languages are divided into a hundred or so language families including a significant number of language isolates.
North Indigenous languagesNorth American languages represent not just the continent's indigenous peoples, but also European colonialism. English, Spanish, and to a lesser extent French, as well as creole languages, are the most frequently spoken languages in North America (which includes Central America and the Caribbean islands). In North America, there are many language families and linguistic isolates. In the Arctic north, from Alaska to Greenland, Eskimo and Aleut languages are spoken. The Aleut language of the Aleutian Islands, the Yupik languages of Alaska and Russia's Far East, and the Inuit languages of Alaska, Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Greenland all belong to this group.
Most spoken indigenous languages in North America
- Mayan languages (Mexico) — 1.5 million speakers
- Mazahua (Mexico) — 350,000 speakers
- Mazatec (Mexico) — 175,000 speakers
- Mixtec (Mexico) — 400,000 speakers
- Nahuatl (Mexico) — 2 million speakers
- Navajo (Southwestern U.S.) — 150,000 speakers
- Otomi (Mexico) — 250,000 speakers
- Tlapanec (Mexico) — 120,000 speakers
- Totonac (Mexico) — 250,000 speakers
- Zapotec (Mexico) — 400,000 speakers
South indigenous languagesWith 37 language families and 448 languages, South America is one of the world's most linguistically varied region. It has over 70 languages categorized as unclassified. About 11 million people across the continent speak indigenous languages including Spanish and Portuguese. Although it is widely assumed that South American Indians came from the north, none of their languages is connected to the North and Central American language groups.
Most spoken indigenous languages in South America
- Ashaninka (Peru and Brazil) — 50,000 speakers
- Aymara (Peru and Bolivia) — 2.5 million speakers
- Embera (Colombia) — 70,000 speakers
- Guajiro (Venezuela and Colombia) — 200,000 speakers
- Guarani (Paraguay and surrounding area) — 5 million speakers
- Mapudungun (Chile) — 500,000 speakers
- Paez (Colombia) — 60,000 speakers
- Quechua (Andean region) — 8 million speakers