speakers in the corresponding states
English is the most widely spoken language in the United States and is the common language used by the federal government, to the extent that all laws and compulsory education are practiced in English. Although not an officially established language of the whole country, English is the de facto official language and given official status by 32 of the 50 state governments. As an example, while both Spanish and English have equivalent status in the local courts of Puerto Rico, under federal law, English is the official language for any matters being referred to the United States district court for the territory.
The use of English in the United States is a result of British colonization of the Americas. The first wave of English-speaking settlers arrived in North America during the 17th century, followed by further migrations in the 18th and 19th centuries. Since then, American English has developed into new dialects, in some cases under the influence of successive immigration waves, especially of Europeans of diverse language backgrounds, to the United States.
American English varieties form a linguistic continuum of dialects more similar to each other than to English dialects of other countries, including some common pronunciations, vocabulary, spelling, and other features found nationwide. Any North American Englishaccent perceived as free of noticeably local, ethnic, or cultural markers is popularly called “General” or “Standard” American, a fairly uniform standard of broadcast mass media and the highly educated. Otherwise, according to William Labov, with the major exception of Southern and some Inland Northernaccents, regional accents throughout the country are not yielding to this standard, and historical and present linguistic evidence does not support the notion of there being one single “mainstream” American accent. On the contrary, the sound of American English continues to evolve, with some local accents disappearing, but several larger regional accents emerging.