List of multilingual countries and regions

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Main article: Multilingualism

This is an incomplete list of areas with either multilingualism at the community level or at the personal level.

There is a distinction between social and personal bilingualism. Many countries, such as Belgium, India, South Africa and Switzerland, which are officially multilingual, may have many monolinguals in their population. Officially monolingual countries, on the other hand, such as France, can have sizable multilingual populations. Some countries have official languages but also have regional and local official languages, notably China, Mexico, Russia, Spain, and the UK.


Central Africa[edit]

East Africa[edit]

Horn of Africa[edit]

North Africa[edit]

Southern Africa[edit]

West Africa[edit]


A trash can in Seattle labeled in four languages: English, Chinese (), Vietnamese (should be rác), and Spanish. Tagalog also uses the Spanish word.
  • Argentina has several ethnic communities of European (esp. the Welsh language in Patagonia), Asian and indigenous origins (the Andean and northeast regions), who speak their own languages,[specify] but Spanish is the sole official language of the country.
  • Aruba: Papiamento and Dutch are the official languages.[36]
  • Belize: English, Spanish and Mayan languages have some official usage[citation needed], although the legacy of British rule emphasised English to be most commonly used for official purposes though the majority are Hispanophone.
  • Bolivia is officially multilingual, supporting Spanish and 36 native languages.[37]
  • Brazil, Portuguese (official) and upwards to 100 languages spoken mainly in the urban areas (European and Asian) and indigenous languages in the Amazon. The use of indigenous languages in primary education is enshrined in the constitution.[38]
  • Canada is officially bilingual under the Official Languages Act and the Constitution of Canada that require the federal government to deliver services in both official languages. As well, minority language rights are guaranteed where numbers warrant. 59.3% of the population speak English as their first language while 22.9% are native speakers of French. The remaining population belong to some of Canada's many immigrant populations or to the indigenous population. See Bilingualism in Canada
    • The Canadian province of New Brunswick, with a large Acadian population (33% French-speaking) is officially bilingual.[39]
    • The Canadian province of Quebec, (7.9% English-speaking)[citation needed] Note: Although there is a relatively sizable English-speaking population in Quebec, French is the only official language. At the same time, most government services are available in English and French.
    • There are also significant French language minorities in the provinces of Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Prince Edward Island. Though these provinces are not officially bilingual they do provide a number of services in French[specify], and Ontario has a particular French Language Services Act
    • Nunavut is a Canadian territory with a population that is 85%[citation needed] Inuit. According to Official Languages Act, its official languages are Inuit, English and French.[40]
    • Northwest Territories have Chipewyan, Cree, English, French, Gwich’in, Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, North Slavey, South Slavey and Tåîchô as the official languages [41]
    • Yukon allows the use of Yukon languages in its Legislative Assembly, along French and English[42]
    • In many of Canada's First Nations' communities in the more isolated regions, aboriginal languages are retained. English and French are accepted in the community at the community elders' discretion.[citation needed]
    • In the 2006 Canadian census, information and questions are available in sixty-two languages, including eighteen First Nations languages.
  • Chile declared Spanish the official language. The Chilean constitution in 2006 ratified to permit the official usage of four indigenous languages: Aimara, Mapudungun, Quechua and Rapa Nui (Easter Island in Polynesia) in certain regions and communities.[citation needed] In the southern portion, there is a sizable but bilingual German-speaking population.
  • Colombia Spanish (official), but Andean indigenous languages can be found and Afro-Caribbean languages with the Choco region on the Pacific coast. Languages of ethnic groups are official in their territories.[43]
  • CuraçaoPapiamento, Dutch and English are official languages.[44]
  • Ecuador defines Spanish as its official language, but Spanish, Quechua and Shuar — as official languages of intercultural relations in the Article 2 of the 2008 Constitution.[45]
  • In Guatemala, the official language is Spanish, however, there are 23[citation needed] distinct Mayan languages. Maya, Garifuna and Xincan languages are recognized to be essential elements of the national identity.[46]
  • Guyana, English (official), Hindi languages, Chinese languages, indigenous languages and a small Portuguese-speaking community.
  • Haiti: Creole and French[47]
  • Honduras: Spanish is the official language, despite Afro-Caribbean English and indigenous languages can be found in the rural outskirts of the country.
  • In Mexico, the government recognizes 62 indigenous languages[citation needed], including Nahuatl spoken by more than 1.5 million people and Aquacatec spoken by 27 people, along with Spanish. Indigenous languages are recognised as national languages in areas where they are spoken[48] There is no official language at the federal level, although Spanish is the de facto state language.
  • In Nicaragua, even while Spanish is the official language spoken broadwide (almost 95%, according to some sources[citation needed]), there are other de facto languages such as Creole, Miskitu, Rama language and Mayangna (Sumu) in their own linguistic communities. According to the Constitution, the languages of the Atlantic Coasts should be used officially in cases established by law.[49]
  • Paraguay, 48% of its population is bilingual[citation needed] in Guaraní and Spanish (both official languages of the Republic[50]), of whom 37% speak only Guaraní and 8% only Spanish but the latter increases with the use of Jopará. There is a large Mennonite German colony in the Gran Chaco region as well.[citation needed]
  • Peru's official languages are Spanish and, in the zones where they are predominant, Quechua, Aymara, and other aboriginal languages.[51]
  • Puerto Rico's official languages[52] and languages of legislature[53] are Spanish and English, yet 85 percent of its inhabitants reported that they did not speak English "very well."[citation needed]
  • In Suriname, Dutch, Sranan, and English are spoken by almost everyone.[citation needed] In addition, various Chinese and Indian languages are spoken.
  • In the United States, at the federal level, there is no official language, although there have been efforts to make English the official language. Use of several languages in electoral process under certain circumstances is provided for by federal law, including Spanish in the whole states of Florida, California and Texas.[54]
    • The US states of New Mexico and Texas are unofficially bilingual (de facto) in English and Spanish.[specify]
    • The US state of Louisiana has mandated the Louisiana French Language Services Program and the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism to work on providing state government services in French, to the extent practicable[55]
    • The US state of Maine is unofficially bilingual (de facto) in English and French.[citation needed]
    • The US state of Hawaii is officially bilingual in English and Hawaiian.[56]
    • The US state of Alaska officially recognizes English and the following twenty Alaska Native languages: Inupiaq, Siberian Yupik, Central Alaskan Yup'ik, Alutiiq, Unanga, Dena'ina, Deg Xinag, Holikachuk, Koyukon, Upper Kuskokwim, Gwich'in, Tanana, Upper Tanana, Tanacross, Hän, Ahtna, Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian languages.[57]
    • Three US territories are also bilingual: American Samoa (Samoan and English)[citation needed], Guam (English and Chamorro)[citation needed], and Puerto Rico (Spanish and English). One US territory is trilingual: Northern Marianas Islands (English, Chamorro, and Carolinian).[58]
    • In US, states with a large historic (New Spain) and recently arrived Spanish speaking population such as California, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, and Florida will often provide government services at the municipal level in Spanish as well as English. For example in Florida, Hialeah recognizes both English and Spanish while Miami recognizes English and Spanish as official government languages.
    • Some Indian Reservations in the US have begun to use indigenous languages of their tribal nations, but the official language of all the reservations is English.[citation needed]
  • Trinidad and Tobago - in the predominantly English-speaking country, Spanish is being introduced as the second language of bilingual traffic signs[59] and generally the "first foreign language"[60]
  • Uruguay has a large Italian-speaking minority although are proficient in Spanish and their border with Brazil has a mixed Portuguese-speaking presence.[citation needed]
  • Venezuela has declared Spanish the official language, while there are some European and Arabic languages spoken in urban areas, Afro-Caribbean[disambiguation needed] dialects in the Caribbean and indigenous languages spoken in the Guayana department. The use of native languages also has official status for native peoples[61]


  • In Macau, both Chinese and Portuguese are official languages.[68] While Cantonese is the dominant Chinese language, Standard Mandarin (Putonghua) is also spoken. Chinese is taught in all schools, while Portuguese is mainly taught in government schools. In addition, English is also taught in many schools.
  • East Timor — Tetum and Portuguese are the official languages; English and Indonesian "shall be working languages within the public administration side by side with official languages as long as it is deemed necessary"[69]
  • India.
    A sign-board that indicates the direction to Sabarimala, a pilgrim station in India. The multilingual board is written in Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu and English (in that order, from top to bottom)
    There are 23 official languages in the states and territories of India (Including Hindi and English, the languages with official use in the whole federation[70]). The largest, Hindi, is spoken natively by 40% of the population. English is also widely used, although mainly in urban parts of the country. An Indian with a high-school education would generally be bilingual — speaking their own native language, in addition to English, with varying fluency, possibly Hindi as well, the languages being compulsorily (in select states) taught in most schools and colleges. see Languages of India.
  • Many people in Indonesia are bilingual at an early age. They speak a local native language with their families whereas the official Indonesian language is used to communicate with people from other regions and is taught in schools as a compulsory subject. Indonesia has 746 native languages.[71]
  • In Iran, Persian is the sole official language, but Azerbaijani (along with related varieties such as Qashqa'i and Kalaj) has upwards of 15 million speakers[citation needed]. Other minority languages include Kurdish, Turkmen, and Balochi. Assyrian is spoken by a Christian minority in the vicinity of Urmia. In the southwestern Iranian province of Khuzestan, most people speak Khuzestani Persian, Khuzestani Arabic, and Standard Persian, sometimes in addition to their own community languages such as Lur, Qashqa'i, Domari or Mandaic where applicable.
  • In Iraq, Arabic is the official language of the state, Kurdish is the official language of the north where 4 million native speakers live. The use of Turkmen, Assyrian, and Armenian in education is provided for in the Constitution.[72] Other languages also exist among Christian communities north of and around Baghdad, such as Aramaic.
  • In Israel, Hebrew and Arabic both have official status (see Languages of Israel). The Jewish population largely speaks Hebrew, though many Jewish immigrants to Israel (especially from Europe) have a different mother tongue, such as Arabic, Amharic, Yiddish, Ladino, Russian, Romanian, Polish, Ukrainian, English, or French and many Jewish immigrants from Latin America speak Spanish and Portuguese. The Arab population of Israel speaks Arabic, which is also the language of instruction in Arab Israeli schools. Functionally, almost all Arabs in Israel also speak Hebrew. English is widely spoken and understood as a second language by both Jews and Arabs. Officially, road signs must be in Hebrew, Arabic, and a romanized Hebrew transliteration.
Road signs in Israel written in Hebrew, Arabic, and romanized Hebrew transliteration
  • Laos: Lao is the official language, but French is spoken by a significant number of the population and used in the government.[citation needed]
  • In Lebanon, Arabic is the official and national language; the Constitution provides for the conditions of using French to be provided by law.[73] Many Lebanese are fluent in English and in French.[citation needed] Armenian is also a language mainly used in the Armenian community.[74]
  • In Malaysia, nearly all people have a working knowledge of Malay and English.[citation needed] Malay, the official language of the country, and English are compulsory subjects taught in all public schools, and English is the language of instruction for Science and Maths. Chinese (Mandarin) and Tamil are spoken by the Chinese and Indian communities respectively, and are the languages of instruction in Chinese and Tamil primary schools respectively.[citation needed] Among the Chinese community, apart from Mandarin, several Chinese dialects especially Hokkien, Cantonese and Teochew are spoken by the respective communities. The indigenous peoples of Sabah and Sarawak speak their ancestral languages (Dayak, Iban etc.). However, it is not uncommon for the locals to be fluent in several of the above languages.[specify] The Constitution provides for use of Sabah and Sarawak languages in native courts or for any code of native law and custom.[75]
  • Pakistan. The national language is Urdu; English was allowed to be used for official purposes until arrangements are made for its replacement by Urdu[76] There are many regional languages and dialects (the latter are often unintelligible from other dialects of the "same language"). Many high-school and college educated Pakistanis are trilingual, being able to speak English and Urdu as well as their own regional language with varying fluency.
  • Philippines: The Philippine constitution. designates Filipino as the national language and, along with English, as official languages. Regional languages are designated as auxiliary official languages in the regions which shall serve as auxiliary media of instruction therein. Spanish and Arabic are designated to be promoted on a voluntary and optional basis.[77] Some people in native Tagalog areas are bilingual, while in non-Tagalog areas it is common to be multilingual in Filipino, English, and in one or more of the regional language/s, or as in other cases in languages such as Spanish, Min Nan (Hokkien), and Arabic due to factors such as ancestry and religion. Eleven regional languages are recognised by the government as auxiliary official languages in their respective regions, while 90+ other languages and dialects are spoken by various groups.
  • Republics of Russia:
  • Singapore: English, Mandarin Chinese, Malay and Tamil are all official languages. Malay is the national language.[83] English is the main language used in Singapore.[citation needed] As English links the different races, a group with diverse races communicate using English. Most of the population can speak, read and write in English. In addition to English, many Singaporeans can speak their respective ethnic language fairly well, as it is a compulsory subject in school. In Chinese communities, the older generation usually speak their own dialects besides Mandarin and/or English.
  • Sri Lanka. Sinhala and Tamil are official languages. English is referred to as the link language in the constitution.[84]
  • Taiwan: Mandarin Chinese is the "official" language, but Taiwanese is commonly used in most people (especially adults and elders). In the Hakka community, some people are trilingual in Hakka, Mandarin and Taiwanese. Some 10 Aboriginal languages are also spoken in the mountain and eastern portion of the island.
  • Tajikistan: Tajik as the state language and Russian, designated as language of interethnic communication in the constitution,[85] are widely spoken.[specify]
  • Thailand: Thaiis the main and only official language in Thailand. There are different dialects such as Central Thai which is widely spoken in the Central area and it is the Standard Thai, Isanwhich is influenced from Lao and widely used in the Northeastern area,[specify] Southern Thaiis spoken in the southern provinces, Northern Thai is spoken in the provinces that were formerly part of the independent kingdom of Lannathai. Karen languages are spoken along the border with Burma, Khmer near Cambodia (and previously throughout central Thailand), and Malay in the south near Malaysia. The Thai hill tribes speak numerous small languages. Also, there is a big population of Chinese descent people in Thailand and the old generation often use Teochew as their first language.[specify] The new generation tends to speak them as a second language or some may not know it at all,
  • Kazakhstan: Kazakh and Russian both have official status—Kazakh as the "state" language and Russian as "officially used on equal grounds along with the Kazak language".[86]
  • Kyrgyzstan: Kyrgyz is the state language and Russian "used in the capacity of an official language".[87]
  • In Uzbekistan, Uzbek, Tajik, and Russian are all widely spoken.[specify] In the autonomous Karakalpakstan, Karakalpak language is an official one, alongside Uzbek.[88]
  • Vietnam: Vietnamese is the official language, and English is the most commonly used and studied second language, especially in education, international relations, and the media. In addition, French is spoken by a small minority of people and elders as it used to be the most common second language. The right to use own language, also in courts, is foreseen in the constitution.[89]


  • Albania has one official language, Albanian. Other languages such as Greek and Italian are heavily spoken without official recognition, yet are minority languages. Albania recognises[citation needed] 6 minorities languages; Serbo-Croatian, Macedonian, Romanian, Hungarian, Greek and Italian. Many Albanians are polyglots, speaking more than 3 languages, which is due to the high amount of Albanian immigrants in Europe.
  • Andorra has one official language, Catalan. Other languages (mainly Spanish, Portuguese and French) are also spoken without official recognition.
  • Austria has one official language, German. However it also has Croatian and Slovenian minorities, all of whose languages are protected under federal laws.[90] Certain functions are also guaranteed for Romany, Hungarian, Czech and Slovakian in Vienna and Burgenland, under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.[91]
  • Belarus has two official languages: Belarusian and Russian.[92]
  • Belgium has three official languages: Dutch (59%) in the North, French (31%) in the South and a small minority speaks German. Its bilingual capital, Brussels (10%), is mainly French with Dutch as minority. These languages have the status of 'official language' only in specified language areas as defined by the constitution.[93] In Flanders, 59% and 53% of the Flemings know French or English respectively; in Wallonia, only 19% and 17% know Dutch or English. In each region, Belgium's third official language, German, is notably less known than Dutch, French or English.[94] Wallonia recognises all of its vernacular dialect groups as regional languages, Flanders does not.[citation needed]
  • Cyprus has 2 official languages: Greek & Turkish.[95] Both languages were spoken throughout the island before 1974. After 1974, and the partition of the island, Turkish became the sole official language in the Turkish-Cypriot-controlled north whereas the - internationally recognized - Republic of Cyprus retains both languages as official. English is also widely spoken and understood throughout the island.
  • In the Czech Republic, several municipalities of Zaolzie area have official bilingualism (Czech and Polish).[96] Bilingual signs are permitted if a minority constitutes at least a 10% of the population of the municipality.
  • Denmark has one official language, Danish, but in South Jutland, use of German for certain funcation is provided for. In Grenland, Greelandic is the principal language, while Danish must be thoroughly taught.[97]
  • Estonia has one official language, Estonian, but there is also a sizeable Russian-speaking community (around 30% in 2000) who speak Russian. Russian and other minority languages can theoretically be used in communication with local government and state institutions within the borders of certain constituencies where most permanent residents belong to a respective national minority (Article 51 of the Constitution). Many Estonians can speak Russian, but many Russians are not fluent in Estonian including those who are Estonian citizens,[98] however fluency varies considerably between age groups.
  • Faroe Islands has two official languages: Faroese and Danish.[99] The other Scandinavian languages, Norwegian and Swedish, are understood by most without much difficulty.[100] English is taught in schools, often as a third language.
  • Finland has two "national languages", Finnish and Swedish, and the minority languages Sami (Northern Sami, Inari Sami and Skolt Sami), Romani and Finnish Sign Language are recognized by the constitution.[101] Swedish is spoken by a minority, about 5.5% native speakers (Swedes in Finland) concentrated along the coast and on the Åland Islands. Municipalities are bilingual if the Swedish or Finnish minority is at least 6–8%. Åland is monolingually Swedish by law. Sami is official language (besides Finnish) in the municipalities of northern Finland.
  • France has a strict monolingual policy for the French Republic to conduct government business only in French. There are, however, levels of fluency in regional languages: Alsatian, Basque, Breton, Catalan (the department of Pyrénées-Orientales has a particular Charter for supporting the Catalan language[102]), Corsican, Flemish, Franco-Provençal, and Occitan (sometimes called Provençal). The entire population of France is reportedly French dominant in language.
  • Germany has German as its official national language. Low Saxon (“Low German”) is recognized as a regional language in at least five North German states. Lower Sorbian is an official minority language in Brandenburg, Upper Sorbian in Saxony, Sater Frisian in a part of Lower Saxony, and North Frisian varieties and Danish in Schleswig-Holstein. A language without its own territory, Romany (including the language of the Sinte people) is an official minority language as well.[103] Germany is home to large numbers of people from other regions, and some of their languages, such as Turkish, Russian, and Polish, are widely used throughout the country. However, those languages are considered foreign and thus are given no official status.
  • Gibraltar is a British overseas territory whose sole official language is English. Given Gibraltar's size, most of the population is also fluent in Spanish due to its vicinity with Spain. Gibraltarians also use Llanito as their local vernacular.
  • Hungary, the official language is Hungarian. The country recognizes Beas, Croatian, German, Romani, Romania, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene languages.[104]
  • Ireland, the first official language of Ireland is Irish with the second being English.[105] English is the first language of the majority of the population.
  • Italy. The official language overall is Italian, while bilingualism is applied in some territories. In the province of South Tyrol German is co-official.[106] In the Aosta Valley region French is co-official,[107] as is Slovene in some municipalities of the provinces of Trieste and Gorizia. Ladin municipalities of South Tyrol are trilingual (Italian, Ladin, and German). Italian law n. 482/1999 recognizes and protects several other languages, like Sardinian, Friulian, Occitan, Greek, Albanian and other linguistic minorities.[108]
  • Kosovo has two official languages, Albanian, and Serbian. Turkish, Bosnian, and Roma hold official status on a regional level.[109]
  • Latvia has one official language, Latvian. Liv language is recognized as an autochthonous (in the Livonian coast, it is allowed to form toponyms in Liv alongside Latvian); the others are defined as "foreign" in the Official Language Law,[110] but there is also a sizeable minority with Russian as their native language - 37,3% of those answering the question on language used at home named Russian during the census (2011).[111]
  • Lithuania has a small Polish speaking minority and a great amount of fluency in Russian.
  • Luxembourg is a rare example of a truly trilingual society, in that it not only has three official languages, Luxembourgish, French and German,[112] but has a trilingual education system. For the first four years, Luxembourgish is the medium of instruction, before giving way to German, which in turn gives way to French. (In addition, children learn English and sometimes another European language, usually Spanish or Italian.) Similarly in the country's parliament, debates are conducted in Luxembourgish, draft legislation is drafted in German, while the statute laws are in French.
  • Malta has two official languages, Maltese and English.[113] Italian is also spoken by a large percentage of the population.
  • Moldova
  • The Netherlands has two official languages, Dutch which is the primary language and Frisian which is recognized as a minority language[116] and spoken by between 300,000 and 700,000 people. Frisian is mostly spoken in the province of Fryslân where it is the official first[citation needed] language. Low Saxon is recognized as a regional language in the northeastern provinces of the country, and Limburgish is an official regional language in Netherlands Limburg.
  • Poland — 20 bilingual communes in Poland (mostly Polish-German) speak forms of the German language. Belorussian, Czech, Hebrew, Yiddish, Lithuanian, German, Armenian, Russian, Slovak and Ukrainian are recognised as national minorities languages, Karaim, Lemko, Romani and Tatar as ethnic minorities languages.[117][118]
  • Portugal – although Portuguese is practically universal, the Mirandese language, a related Leonese language is spoken in Miranda do Douro, in northeastern Portugal, is officially recognized (see: Languages of Portugal), and there is some familiarity with the Spanish language in border towns with neighboring Spain.
  • In Romania, the official language is Romanian but significant minority languages are recognized on the local level, with commitments made in respect of use of Bulgarian, Czech, Croatian, German, Hungarian, Russia, Serbia, Slovak, Turkish and Ukrainian in areas where the share of their speakers is at least 20%.[119] The biggest ethnic minority is the Hungarian community of 1.4 million (6.6%).
  • ex-Soviet republics and Warsaw Pact countries: many people fluently speak Russian, especially in Slavic countries within the area of the former USSR (typically in Belarus and Ukraine), along with Moldova, which has a Slavic minority. However, few Polish, Slovak or Czech people speak Russian, despite huge expenditures in the past.
  • Republics of Russia:
  • Abkhazia. According to Georgian law, Georgian and Abkhazian are official languages;[134] according to Abkhazian law — Abkhazian and Russian.[135] The elder generation of Abkhazis spoke Georgian, Russian and Abkhazi.
  • Serbia: There are seven officially used languages in Vojvodina (Serbian, Croatian, Romanian, Ruthenian, Hungarian, Slovak and Czech), and four in central Serbia (Serbian, Bosnian, Albanian and Bulgarian).[136] The northern autonomous province of Vojvodina has a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-lingual identity, with a number of mechanisms for the promotion of minority rights; there are more than 26 ethnic groups in the province. The province has six official languages. Serbs are recognised as fluent polyglot, many of them being able to speak German, French and English, due to the huge amount of Serbian immigrants in Europe, especially in Austria, Germany and France, whilst English is quite popular due to the large Serbian immigrant community in Australia and Canada.
  • Slovakia has a Hungarian minority of 520,000 (9.7%). Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, German, Hungarian, Polish, Roma, Ruthenian and Ukrainian languages are recognized as regional or minority languages, with guarantees of their use in municipalities where Slovak citizens belonging to national minorities form at least 20% of the population.[137]
  • Slovenia. Italian and Hungarian are recognized as regional or minority languages.[138] In the coastal area (Koper, Izola and Piran) Italian is also an official[citation needed] language, in addition to Slovene. In the eastern part of Prekmurje, Hungarian is used as an official language[citation needed] next to Slovene. In the bilingual areas, all children are taught both languages.
  • Spain, where several autonomous communities have their own official language, additional to Spanish (also known as Castilian), official all over Spain (see: languages of Spain):
  • Sweden, has Swedish as official language. Finnish, Meänkieli, Romani, Sami and Yiddish are recognized as minority languages.[145] Meänkieli, a variant of Finnish, is spoken in Tornedalen and Haparanda in North Bothnia. Meänkieli, Finnish and Sami have a special status in the areas were speakers are significant minorities.
  • Switzerland has four national languages; German, French, Italian and Romansh.[146] The cantons Valais, Fribourg and Bern are bilingual (French and German), while canton Graubünden is trilingual (German, Romansh and Italian).
  • In most countries of the Former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian are understood by all three groups (see Serbo-Croatian) - and smaller languages in the other republics of Slovenia (Slovenian), Macedonia (Macedonian) and (Montenegro) Montenegrin. Other languages have co-official status in some parts of these countries (e.g. Italian in Istria, Hungarian in Vojvodina).
  • In Ukraine, Russian, Hungarian and Romanian are granted status of a regional language in certain areas (Language policy in Ukraine). Carpathian Ruthenia, Ukraine, Slovaks living near Uzhhorod speak Ukrainian and Hungarian in addition to their mother tongue, Slovakian. In villages near Mukachevo Germans (Swabian dialect speakers) also speak Hungarian and Ukrainian.
  • The United Kingdom has no official language de jure however the Home Nations vary:
    • Ulster Scots, a variety of Scots, is spoken by some in Northern Ireland, but again English is far more commonly used and Ulster Scots is less actively used in media. Irish and Ulster Scots now both have official[specify] status in Northern Ireland as part of the 1998 Belfast Agreement;[147] certain functions are granted to those two languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.[148]
    • Scotland. 58,652 Gaelic speakers, mostly concentrated in the Highlands and the Hebrides, the traditional heartland of Gaelic culture. The Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 provides for the status of the Gaelic language as an official language of Scotland commanding equal respect to the English language.[149] Also Scots with approximately 2 to 3 million speakers — a Germanic language closely related to English.
    • Wales with 611,000 Welsh speakers, including the majority of the population in parts of north and west Wales.[150] English is widely used. Across Wales, both English and Welsh have equal official status; the priority given to each, for instance on road signs, is determined by each local authority.[151]
      Further information: Languages of Wales
    • England, No official multi-lingualism, despite the presence of immigrant languages in urban centres and the Cornish language in Cornwall after two centuries of extinction was revived in the Cornwall region in the early 20th century.


  • Fiji — Fijian and English (both official)[152]
  • Kiribati — Kiribati and English (official); Kiribati is the majority language,[153] English language is the prevailing language for constitutional text[154]
  • Marshall Islands — Marshalese and English (both official)[155]
  • New Zealand — a small percentage of the population has some reasonable degree of bilingualism with English and Māori, mostly among the Māori themselves; few are fully fluent in Māori.[specify] New Zealand Sign Language is also an official language. English is the main language with over 96% of the population speaking it fluently. Maori has been recognized as an official language since 1987.[156]
  • Palau — Palauan traditional languages are the national languages. Palauan and English are the official languages.[157]
  • Papua New Guinea — Tok Pisin (official), English (official), Hiri Motu (official), some 836 indigenous languages spoken[158]
  • Samoa — Samoan and English[159]
  • Tonga — Tongan and English (both official)[160]
  • Tuvalu — Tuvaluan and English (both official)[161]
  • Vanuatu — the national language is Bislama, a creole language or pidgin English, which is also an official language alongside English and French.[162] There are also over 110 local vernacular languages distinct to this island archipelago.

Notes and references[edit]


  1. ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Kosovo. The latter declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. Kosovo's independence has been recognised by 108 out of 193 United Nations member states.


  1. ^ Constitution of the Republic of Cameroon Article 1
  2. ^ Central African Republic's Constitution of 2004 with Amendments through 2010 Article 18
  3. ^ Chad's Constitution of 1996 with Amendments through 2005 Article 9
  5. ^ Fundamental Law of Equatorial Guinea, as amended in 2012 (French) (Spanish)
  6. ^ "World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples – Equatorial Guinea : Overview". UNHCR. 20 May 2008. Retrieved 18 December 2012. 
  7. ^ Dickovick, James Tyler (2012). Africa 2012. Stryker Post. p. 180. ISBN 1610488822. Retrieved 18 December 2012. 
  8. ^ 2002 Constitution of the Republic of the Congo Article 6(French)
  9. ^ Burundi's Constitution of 2005 Article 5
  10. ^ English is now official language of Burundi 2014
  11. ^ The Constitution of Kenya, 2010 Article 7
  12. ^ The Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda Article 5
  13. ^ Constitution of the Republic of Seychelles Article 4
  14. ^ Kiswahili
  15. ^ Constitution of the Republic of Uganda Article 6
  16. ^ Constitution of Djibouti Art. 1
  17. ^ Provisional Constitution (2012) Article 5
  18. ^ Constitution of People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria. Art. 3, Art. 3 (a)
  19. ^ Mauritania's Constitution of 1991 with Amendments through 2012 Article 6
  20. ^ Constitution of Morocco Article 5
  21. ^ Constitution of Sudan Article 8
  22. ^ Botswana Ethnologue
  23. ^ Constitution of the Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros Article 2
  24. ^ Constitution of Lesotho Art. 3
  25. ^ Constitution of Madagascar Article 4
  26. ^ Languages//Malawi Ethnologue
  27. ^ National Literacy Programme in Namibia UNESCO
  28. ^ Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Article 6
  29. ^ The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland Act 2005 Art. 3
  30. ^ Article 6 Constitution of Zimbabwe
  31. ^ Burkina Phrasebook Book Description
  32. ^ Constitution of the Republic of Cabo Verde Article 9 (Portuguese) (French)
  33. ^ [file:///C:/Users/User/Downloads/LOI%20REPORT%20MALI%20VARLY-final.pdf The Monitoring of Learning Outcomes in Mali] p. 1
  34. ^ Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Article 55
  35. ^ Constitution of the Republic of Senegal Article 1
  36. ^ Language
  37. ^ Bolivian Constitution, Article 5-I: Son idiomas oficiales del Estado el castellano y todos los idiomas de las naciones y pueblos indígena originario campesinos, que son el aymara, araona, baure, bésiro, canichana, cavineño, cayubaba, chácobo, chimán, ese ejja, guaraní, guarasu'we, guarayu, itonama, leco, machajuyai-kallawaya, machineri, maropa, mojeño-trinitario, mojeño-ignaciano, moré, mosetén, movima, pacawara, puquina, quechua, sirionó, tacana, tapieté, toromona, uru-chipaya, weenhayek, yawanawa, yuki, yuracaré y zamuco.
  38. ^ Constitution of the Federative Republic of Brazil Art. 13, 210, 231
  39. ^ Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Sections 16-20
  40. ^ Official Languages Act Art. 3
  41. ^ Official Languages Act Art. 4
  42. ^ Languages Act Art. 3-6
  43. ^ Constitution of Colombia Article 10
  44. ^ Over Curaçao (Dutch)
  45. ^
  46. ^ Ley de idiomas nacionales Articulo 1-3(Spanish)
  47. ^ Constitution of Haiti Art. 5
  48. ^ Ley general de derechos lingüísticos de los pueblos indígenas Art. 4 (Spanish)
  49. ^ The Political Constitution of the Republic of Nicaragua Article 11
  50. ^ Political Constitution of 1992 Art. 140(Spanish)
  51. ^ Constitution of Peru Article 48
  52. ^ Nancy Morris (1995). Puerto Rico: Culture, Politics, and Identity. Praeger/Greenwood. p. 62. ISBN 0275952282.  + Crawford J. Puerto Rico and Official English 1997
  53. ^ Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Article III
  54. ^ Voting Rights Act Amendments of 2006, Determinations Under Section 203 by Bureau of the Census, Department of Commerce
  55. ^ Louisiana Revised Statutes. Title 25 Libraries, museums, and other scientific See RS 25:671 to RS 25:674
  56. ^ Article XV The Constitution of the state of Hawaii
  57. ^
  58. ^ Article XXII Northern Mariana Islands Commonwealth Constitution
  59. ^ Spanish road signs quite correct Trinidad and Tobago Newsday
  60. ^ Spanish Implementation Secretariat
  61. ^ Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Art. 9
  62. ^ The Constitution of Afghanistan Article 16
  63. ^ [". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. 2007-12-13.]
  64. ^ New Progress in Human Rights in the Tibet Autonomous Region State Council Information Office 1998
  65. ^ Language policy//Special Focus for 2005: China's Minorities and Government Implementation of the Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law. // Congressional-Executive Commission on China 2005 Annual Report
  66. ^ V. Upholding Ethnic Equality and Unity White Paper on Development and Progress in Xinjiang 2009
  67. ^ Chapter I Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China
  68. ^ Basic Law of the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People' s Republic of China Article 9
  69. ^ Constitution of the Democratic Republic of East Timor Art. 13, 159
  70. ^ Official Language Act
  71. ^ Peluncuran Peta Bahasa Indonesia (not in English)
  72. ^ Constitution of Iraq
  73. ^ Constitution of Lebanon Article 11
  74. ^ "Portail d'actualités sur le Liban". Retrieved 2014-02-15. 
  75. ^ Constitution of Malaysia Art. 161
  76. ^ Art. 251 Constitution of Pakistan
  77. ^ Constitution of the Republic of Philippines Article 14, Sections 6, 7
  78. ^ Constitution of Buryatia Art. 67(Russian)
  79. ^ Constitution of the Altai Republic Art. 13(Russian)
  80. ^ Constitution of Tuva Art. 5(Russian)
  81. ^ Constitution of Khakassia Art. 69(Russian)
  82. ^ Constitution of the Sakha Republic Art. 46(Russian)
  83. ^ Constitution of Singapore Art. 153A
  84. ^ CIA - The World Factbook
  85. ^ Constitution o Tajikistan Art. 2
  86. ^ Constitution of Kazakhstan Article 7
  87. ^ Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic Article 10
  88. ^ Constitution of Karakalpakstan. Chapter 1 Art. 4(Russian)
  89. ^ Constitution of Vietnam Article 5, 133
  90. ^ State treaty for the re-establishment of an independent and democratic Austria Article 7 (see pages 229, 231)
  91. ^ List of declarations made with respect to treaty No. 148 Council of Europe Treaty Office
  92. ^ Constitution of Belarus Article 17
  93. ^ Constitution of Belgium Article 4
  94. ^ Van Parijs, Philippe, Professor of economic and social ethics at the UCLouvain, Visiting Professor at Harvard University and the KULeuven. "Belgium's new linguistic challenges" (pdf 0.7 MB). KVS Express (supplement to newspaper De Morgen) March–April 2007: Article from original source (pdf 4.9 MB) pages 34–36 republished by the Belgian Federal Government Service (ministry) of Economy – Directorate–general Statistics Belgium. Retrieved 2007-05-05.  — The linguistic situation in Belgium (and in particular various estimations of the population speaking French and Dutch in Brussels) is discussed in detail.
  95. ^ Constitution of Cyprus Article 3
  96. ^ List of declarations made with respect to treaty No. 148 Council of Europe Treaty Office
  97. ^ List of declarations made with respect to treaty No. 148 Council of Europe Treaty Office
  98. ^ "Statistical database". Retrieved 2014-02-15. 
  99. ^ § 11, "Lov om Færøernes Hjemmestyre"
  100. ^ Håller språket ihop Norden? - EN forskningsrapport om ungdomars föståelse av danska, svenska och norska
  101. ^ Section 17
  102. ^ Charte en faveur du Catalan (French)
  103. ^ List of declarations made with respect to treaty No. 148 Council of Europe Treaty Office
  104. ^ List of declarations made with respect to treaty No. 148 Council of Europe Treaty Office
  105. ^ Constitution of Ireland Article 8
  106. ^ Statute of South Tyrol Articles 19, 99-102 etc.(German)
  107. ^ Statute of Aosta Valley Article 38(French)
  108. ^ Norme in materia di tutela delle minoranze linguistiche storiche(Italian)
  109. ^ Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo Article 5
  110. ^ Official Language Law Sections 3-5, 18
  111. ^ Select database "Population and Housing Census 2011", then "Final results of the Population and Housing Census 2011" Table TSG11-08
  112. ^ Loi du 24 février 1984 sur le régime des langues(French)
  113. ^ Constitution of Malta Article 5
  114. ^ Oб особом правовом статусе Гагаузии (Гагауз Ери) ст. 3(Russian)
  115. ^ об основных положениях особого правового статуса населенных пунктов левобережья Днестра (Приднестровья) ст. 6(Russian)
  116. ^ List of declarations made with respect to treaty No. 148 Council of Europe Treaty Office
  117. ^ Act on national and ethnic minorities and on regional language(Polish)
  118. ^ List of declarations made with respect to treaty No. 148 Council of Europe Treaty Office
  119. ^ List of declarations made with respect to treaty No. 148 Council of Europe Treaty Office
  120. ^ Constitution of Adygea Art. 5(Russian)
  121. ^ Constitution of Bashkortostan Art. 1(Russian)
  122. ^ Constitution of Ingushetia Art. 14(Russian)
  123. ^ Constitution of Kabardino-Balkaria Art. 76(Russian)
  124. ^ Constitution of Tatarstan Art. 8(Russian)
  125. ^ Constitution of Kalmykia Article 17(Russian)
  126. ^ Constitution of Karachay-Cherkessia Article 11(Russian)
  127. ^ Constitution of Mari El Article 15(Russian)
  128. ^ Constitution of Mordovia Article 12(Russian)
  129. ^ Constitution of Komi Republic Article 67(Russian)
  130. ^ Constitution of North Ossetia–Alania Article 15(Russian)
  131. ^ Constitution of Udmurtia Article 8(Russian)
  132. ^ Constitution of the Chechen Republic Article 10(Russian)
  133. ^ Constitution of Chuvashia Article 8(Russian)
  134. ^ The Constitution of Georgia Article 8
  135. ^ Constitution of the Republic of Abkhazia Article 6(Russian)
  136. ^ Gojkovic N. System of minorities’ protection in Serbia Konrad Adenauer Foundation
  137. ^ List of declarations made with respect to treaty No. 148 Council of Europe Treaty Office
  138. ^ List of declarations made with respect to treaty No. 148 Council of Europe Treaty Office
  139. ^ El Estatuto de Autonomía Art. 6(Spanish)
  140. ^ Law on the Reintegration and Improvement of Fueros of Navarre Art. 9
  141. ^ Ley organica de reforma del estatuto de autonomia de las illes Balears Articulo 4.
  142. ^ Ley Orgánica 5/1982, de 1 de julio, de Estatuto de Autonomía de la ComunidadValenciana Artículo sexto
  143. ^ Act on linguistic policy
  144. ^ O Estatuto de Autonomía de Galicia Art. 5
  145. ^ List of declarations made with respect to treaty No. 148 Council of Europe Treaty Office
  146. ^ Swiss Constitution/Part 1, article 4, states: The national languages are German, French, Italian, and Romansh.
  147. ^ Economic, Social and Cultural Issues // Belfast Agreement
  148. ^ List of declarations made with respect to treaty No. 148 Council of Europe Treaty Office
  149. ^ Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005
  150. ^ Map of percentage able to speak Welsh, 2001
  151. ^ BBC, "Assembly measure gives Welsh status 'equal to English'", 7 October 2010
  152. ^ Fiji The World Factbook
  153. ^ Kiribati The World Factbook
  154. ^ Constitution of Kiribati Article 127
  155. ^ Marshall Islands The World Factbook
  156. ^ Section 3 Māori Language Act 1987
  157. ^ Constitution of the Republic of Palau Article XIII
  158. ^ Papua New Guinea The World Factbook
  159. ^ Constitution of Samoa Art. 54
  160. ^ Tonga The World Factbook
  161. ^ Tuvalu The World Factbook
  162. ^ Constitution of the Republic of Vanuatu Article 3