The Washington Times - August 13, 2013, 09:57AM

The language question persists from sea to shining sea. “Seventy-two percent of Americans say it is essential that immigrants living in the United States learn to speak English,” reports Gallup poll analyst Jeffrey Jones.

That number includes 85 percent of Republicans and 65 percent of Democrats, along with 58 percent of Hispanics and 59 percent of current U.S. immigrants.

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“Meanwhile, 20 percent believe it is essential that Americans learn a second language other than English,” Mr. Jones says.

Thirteen percent of Republicans and 24 percent of Democrats agree with this, along with 30 percent of Hispanics and 27 percent of U.S. immigrants also agree.

About a third of Americans overall actually speak a second language well enough to carry on a conversation.

What are they speaking? The survey found that 60 percent of that group speak Spanish, 18 percent French, 12 percent German, 5 percent English, and 3 percent each for Italian, Russian and Chinese.

In addition, 2 percent speak Japanese, 1 percent each speak Portuguese, Hebrew, Arabic, sign language, Swedish, Creole, Thai and Vietnamese.

The Gallup poll of 4,373 U.S. adults conducted June 13 to July 5 and released Friday.