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Spanish is Not the Top Language for ELLs in Some States

Spanish is not the top home language for students who are English-language learners in some states, though it is the most commonly spoken native language for ELL students at the national level, according to a fact sheet released this week by the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute.

Seven states have a language other than Spanish as the top language spoken by ELL students. In Maine, that top language is Somali, and in Vermont, it's Bosnian. The five other states have Native American languages, such as Ojibwa and Yupik, topping the list.

But nationally, according to the brief, 73.1 percent of ELL students speak Spanish as their first language. Next in line is Chinese, with 3.8 percent of ELLs having that language as their mother tongue.

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