An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically a country's official language refers to the language used within its government - its courts, parliament, administration, etc. - to run its operations and conduct its business. Since "the means of expression of a people cannot be changed by any law", the term "official language" does not typically refer to the language used by a people or country, but by its government.
Official status can also be used to give a language (often indigenous) a legal status even if that language is not widely spoken. For example, in New Zealand the Māori language has official status under the Māori Language Act 1966 even though it is spoken by less than five percent of the New Zealand population who speak English predominantly.NZ Has three Official Languages Non-national or supranational organizations such as the United Nations and the European Union may also have official languages.
- List of official languages by state
- List of official languages by institution
- List of languages without official status
- Minority language
- "Official Language", Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language, Ed. Tom McArthur, Oxford University Press, 1998.
- The Status of Languages in Puerto Rico. Luis Muniz-Arguelles. University of Puerto Rico. 1986. Page 466. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
- Pueblo v. Tribunal Superior, 92 D.P.R. 596 (1965). Translation taken from the English text, 92 P.R.R. 580 (1965), p. 588-589. See also LOPEZ-BARALT NEGRON, "Pueblo v. Tribunal Superior: Espanol: Idioma del proceso judicial", 36 Revista Juridica de la Universidad de Puerto Rico. 396 (1967), and VIENTOS-GASTON, "Informe del Procurador General sobre el idioma", 36 Rev. Col. Ab. (P.R.) 843 (1975).
- Statistics New Zealand:Language spoken (total responses) for the 1996-2006 censuses (Table 16)
- Writing Systems of the World: Alphabets, Syllabaries, Pictograms (1990), ISBN 0-8048-1654-9 — lists official languages of the countries of the world, among other information.