As in the rest of the United States, English is the official language in California. However, the state’s large immigrant population has resulted in equally large non-English speaking communities. Due to the state’s proximity to Mexico, Spanish is the most widely spoken foreign language. Other major spoken and written languages include Chinese, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, and various East Indian dialects.
Throughout the state, this multilingualism often results in a colorful blend of cultures, creating a multiethnic tapestry of California residents. However, in both Los Angeles and the Bay Area, tightly knit Asian and Hispanic communities sometimes feature little-to-no signs or menus in English, and few proprietors speak standard English.
Exploring the culture of California means exploring the backgrounds of those who live here, so be prepared to learn more about the world even as you learn more about the state.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition