List of countries where Arabic is an official language

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Nations in which Arabic is an official language (de facto or de jure). Arabic in countries with more than 50% Arabic-speakers is considered a majority language, otherwise it is a minority language.
  Official as majority language
  Official as minority language
  Co-official as majority language
  Co-official as minority language
  Not official as minority language

Arabic and its different dialects are spoken by around 422 million speakers (native and non-native) in the Arab world as well as in the Arab diaspora making it one of the five most spoken languages in the world. Currently, 22 countries are member states of the Arab League (as well as 5 countries were granted an observer status) which was founded in Cairo in 1945.

Arabic is the lingua franca of people who live in countries of the Arab world as well as of Arabs who live in the diaspora, particularly in Latin America (especially Brazil and Argentina) or Western Europe (like France, Spain, Germany or Italy).

Malta is the only country in the European Union where an Arabic dialect (namely Maltese Arabic) is an official language. It is also one of the official language of the EU. Besides, Cypriot Arabic is an official minority language in the EU member state Cyprus.

History[edit]

In the history, Andalusian Arabic was the official language in Spain and Portugal, formerly Al-Andalus for more than 700 years until the fall of the last Islamic state in Iberia at Granada in 1492. Siculo-Arabic (or Sicilian Arabic) was a spoken language on the islands of Sicily and neighbouring Malta (at that time Emirate of Sicily) between the end of the ninth century and the end of the twelfth century. Furthermore, a form of Arabic was spoken on the Mediterranean island of Crete (in those days Emirate of Crete) from the late 820s (c. 824 or 827/828) until the Byzantine reconquest in 961.

Countries with Arabic as an official language[edit]

As of 2016, there are 27 independent nations where Arabic is an official language. The following is a list of sovereign states and territories where Arabic is an official or de facto official language.

Countries where Arabic is an official language
No Country Population Notes No. of Arabic Speakers[1]  % of Arabic Speakers[2] Member state of
Arab League
1.  Algeria 41,701,000 Co-official language, along with Berber 40,100,000 80.00 Yes
2.  Bahrain 1,343,000 Official language 690,302 81.4 Yes
3.  Chad 10,329,208 Co-official language, along with French 1,320,000 1.81 No
4.  Comoros 798,000 Co-official language, along with Comorian and French Yes
5.  Djibouti 810,179 Co-official language, along with French 97,900 1.32 Yes
6.  Egypt 90,000,000 Official language 82,449,200 93.18 Yes
7.  Eritrea 6,380,803 Co-official language, along with Tigrinya and English 249,700 3.83 Observer status
8.  Iraq 36,004,552 Co-official language, along with Kurdish 22,908,120 85.81 Yes
9.  Israel 8,238,300 Co-official language, along with Hebrew 2,039,000 24.82 No
10.  Jordan 6,655,000 Official language 5,083,300 96.93 Yes
11.  Kuwait 2,789,000 Official language 1,735,000 82.21 Yes
12.  Lebanon 4,965,914 Official language 4,180,000 91.44 Yes
13.  Libya 6,244,174 Official language 4,526,000 72.09 Yes  a
14.  Malta 445,426 Maltese Arabic, Co-official language, along with English 423,154 95.00 No
15.  Mauritania 3,359,185 Official language 3,140,000 88.78 Yes
16.  Morocco 33,250,000 Co-official language, along with Berber 25,003,930 74.29 Yes
17.  Oman 4,055,418 Official language 2,518,816 88.6 Yes
18.  Palestine 4,484,000 Official language in Palestinian territories 1,610,000 37.49 Yes
19.  Qatar 2,155,446 Official language 1,215,900 75.39 Yes
20.  Saudi Arabia 30,770,375 Official language 27,178,770 95.62 Yes
21.  Somalia 10,428,043 Co-official language, along with Somali 3,788,000 31.26 Yes
22.  Sudan 40,235,000 Co-official language, along with English 28,164,500 70.00 Yes
23.  Syria 20,956,000 Official language 17,951,639 91.71 Yes  b
24.  Tanzania
( Zanzibar)
1,303,569 Co-official language, along with Kiswahili and English No
25.  Tunisia 10,982,754 Official language 10,800,500 98.34 Yes
26.  United Arab Emirates 9,346,129 Official language 3,607,600 39.71 Yes
27.  Yemen 23,833,000 Official language 14,671,000 54.68 Yes  c
a. Libya's seat is taken by the House of Representatives (Libya) (which is disputed by the Muslim Brotherhood-led General National Congress (2014) and Government of National Accord)

b. Syria's seat currently occupied by the Syrian National Coalition,[3] while Ba'athist Syrian Arab Republic suspended on 16 November 2011[4][5]
c. Yemen's seat is taken by the Cabinet of Yemen (which is disputed by the Houthi Supreme Revolutionary Committee)

Countries with Arabic as a national language or an official minority language[edit]

As of 2016, there are 6 independent nations where Arabic is a national language or an official minority language, but not primary language. The following is a list of sovereign states and territories where Arabic is a national language or an official minority language.

Countries where Arabic is a national language or an official minority language
No Country Population National language or Minority language Region
1.  Cyprus 1,141,166 Minority language Asia
2.  Iran 79,926,270 Minority language Asia
3.  Mali 14,517,176 National language Africa
4.  Niger 18,638,600 National language Africa
5.  Senegal 14,320,055 National language Africa
6.  Turkey 79,814,871 Minority language Asia

Non-sovereign entities where Arabic is an official language[edit]

As of 2016, there are 9 non-sovereign entities where Arabic is an official language. The following is a list of non-sovereign entities and autonomous regions as well as territories where Arabic is an official or de facto official language.

Non-sovereign entities and territories where Arabic is an official or de facto official language
No Name Population Notes Region
1.  Azawad 1,300,000 Co-official language, along with Tuareg Africa
2.  Iraqi Kurdistan 5,300,000 Co-official language, along with Kurdish Asia
3.  Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant 4,800,000 Official language Asia
4.  Khatumo 1,000,000 Co-official language, along with Somali Africa
5.  Puntland 4,280,000 Co-official language, along with Somali Africa
6.  Rojava 4,600,000 Co-official language, along with Kurdish and Syriac Asia
7.  Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic 502,585 Co-official language, along with Spanish Africa
8.  Somaliland 4,500,000 Co-official language, along with Somali Africa
9.  Syrian opposition 3,500,000 Official language Asia

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Data taken from https://www.ethnologue.com/ Retrieved 21/03/2016
  2. ^ Used data taken from https://www.ethnologue.com/ and country population to get percentage. Retrieved 21/03/2016
  3. ^ "Syrian president slams Arab League for granting seat to opposition". Xinhua News Agency. 2013-04-06. Retrieved 6 June 2017. 
  4. ^ "Regime backers express anger at other nations after Arab League suspends Syria". cnn.com. CNN. 2011-11-13. Retrieved 6 June 2017. 
  5. ^ "Presentation of the Arab League". Arableagueonline.org. 2012-09-13. Retrieved 6 June 2017. 

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]