<Why exactly? Aside from some languages being still used as home languages in some families, such as Chinese languages and Vietnamese, most immigrant languages here, such as German, Polish, and Italian are dead or very close to, and practically everyone born here today speaks English natively. >
Spanish is the only growing language in the USA?
<Why? Although I am indeed learning Spanish, I do so only for my own enjoyment, certainly not out of any perceived need.>
Respect for a growing language in your own country would be a reason to study.
<This differs from the whole matter about "how do you do?", which is really due to differences between some native English-speakers' own dialects *and* standard languages and what other people, who very well may not be native English-speakers, have been taught. >
But do Americans have such a polite, mid to higher formal register, equivalent as "how do you do"? If so, what is it?
>>But do Americans have such a polite, mid to higher formal register, equivalent as "how do you do"? If so, what is it?<<
Well, they do, as evidenced by things like "nice to meet you" and the retained usage of "may", "shall", and the conditional formed with a bare past subjunctive without "if" (even though some particular meanings of "may" and "shall" have been lost even in such). It is just that the particular phrase "how do you do?" has largely fallen out of use.
Overall use of Language, including the terms used for greeting people, is now much more informal than it used to be I would think. I'm speaking, as ever, from the British angle here. I've racked my memory cells and I don't think I can recall anybody saying "How do you do?" It's a wee bit of a ridiclous thing to say anyway - it just invites a facetious reply: "How do I do what? "Pleased to meet you" is not unknown but there again it would be more commonly used in certain social circles and not others. "Hello" or "Hi" are practically universal duing first time meetings.
The UK has now been invaded by a tidal wave of people from Eastern Europe....many of them from Poland. The vast majority are in the 18 to 30 age group and it's really great to see them greet each other, either singly or even among a group of friends they know well......handshakes all round are all part of this, and they are impressing the local Brits with their unfailing courtesy and polite behaviour. Their British counterparts do not do the "handshake" thing to anything like the same degree, nor do they favourably compare when it comes to the "courtesy and polite behaviour" thing...sadly. It's so apparent that British style "chavism" has not reached Eastern Europe and I hope it never will.
On that note, I should say that "pleased to meet you" is also current here and rather interchangeable with "nice to meet you" aside from being somewhat more formal than it.
<I've racked my memory cells and I don't think I can recall anybody saying "How do you do?">
Then you don't work in international business settings.
<It's a wee bit of a ridiclous thing to say anyway - it just invites a facetious reply: "How do I do what? >
Really? So all the English you know is literal English, is it?
< "Pleased to meet you" is not unknown but there again it would be more commonly used in certain social circles and not others. >
Which may be useful to some students who have to move in those circles. Or are you saying that we should only use the English spoken in your circle?