In the USA, almost everyone speaks English, as it is the national language. Spanish is also increasing in popularity though, and in California it is on its way to becoming more widespread than English is. That being said, if you are able to speak English, you will be able to make your way around every single state of the USA without any language barriers. This is particularly true as a high percentage of Americans only speak English – learning foreign languages isn’t high on most Americans’ agendas.
While America mainly speaks English, there are some differences to “traditional” English though. For one, there are many different terms used for everyday items, such as “faucet” instead of “tap” and “jelly” instead of “jam”. You’ll find a great list of different words right here. Also, words are often spelt differently in the United States, but we’ll let the experts explain this to you if you click here. Use of the English language in the USA isn’t confusing though — in fact, differences in the use of words can sometimes lead to rather funny conversations!
Where you are in the USA will also depend on the way language is spoken, as different areas have different words for things. For example, carbonated drinks can be called “pop”, “soda” or “Cola”. Generally, however, you’ll be understood regardless of what you ask for.
The only place in the US where the language is greatly different is Hawaii, although English is also spoken by nearly everyone here too. Many of the locals are incredibly proud of the Hawaiian tradition though, and try to ensure that the language lives on. Therefore, you might come across various Hawaiian phrases throughout your time there, such as “aloha” for “hello/goodbye” and “mahalo” for “thank you”. Learn some of these phrases and you will certainly endear yourself to the locals!
Basically, however, speak English while backpacking in the US and you’ll have absolutely no problems!