List of languages by the number of countries in which they are recognized as an official language

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This is a ranking of languages by the number of sovereign countries in which they are de jure or de facto official.


List[edit]

This is a ranking of languages by number of sovereign countries in which they are de jure or de facto official. An '*' (asterisk) indicates a country whose independence is disputed.

Language World Africa Americas Asia Europe Oceania Countries
English 58 23 14 4 3 14 United States, United Kingdom, Nigeria, Australia, India, South Africa (See the full list) [L 1]
French 29 21 2 - 5 1 France, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, Madagascar, Monaco, Haiti, Vanuatu (See the full list)
Arabic 22-25* 11-13* - 11-12* - - Egypt, Sudan, Algeria, Iraq, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Palestine* (See the full list)
Spanish 20-21 1 18-19 - 1 - Spain, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Equatorial Guinea (See the full list)
Portuguese 9-10* 6 1 1-2* 1 - Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, East Timor, Macau* (See the full list)
German 6 - - - 6 - Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein
Russian 5-8* - - 3 2-5* - Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Abkhazia*, South Ossetia*, Transnistria*. (See the full list)
Serbo-Croatian 4-5* - - - 4-5* - Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo*
Italian 4 - - - 4 - Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City
Malay 4 - - 4 - - Malaysia (known as Malaysian), Indonesia (known as Indonesian), Singapore, Brunei
Swahili 4 4 - - - - Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda
Dutch 3 - 1 - 2 - Netherlands, Belgium, Suriname
Persian 3 - - 3 - - Iran, Afghanistan (known as Dari), Tajikistan (known as Tajik)
Sotho 3 3 - - - - South Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe
Tswana 3 3 - - - - Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe
Albanian 2-3* - - - 2-3* - Albania, Kosovo*, North Macedonia
Standard Chinese 2-3* - - 2-3* - - China, Singapore, Taiwan*
Romanian 2-3* - - - 3 - Romania, Moldova, Transnistria*
Turkish 2-3* - - - 2-3* - Turkey, Northern Cyprus* and Cyprus
Aymara 2 - 2 - - - Bolivia and Peru
Berber 2 2 - - - - Algeria and Morocco
Chichewa 2 2 - - - - Malawi and Zimbabwe
Greek 2 - - - 2 - Greece and Cyprus
Guarani 2 - 2 - - - Paraguay and Bolivia
Hindi–Urdu 2 - - 2 - - India (known as Hindi) and Pakistan (known as Urdu)
Korean 2 - - 2 - - North Korea and South Korea
Quechua 2 - 2 - - - Bolivia and Peru
Rwanda-Rundi 2 2 - - - - Burundi (known as Kirundi) & Rwanda (known as Kinyarwanda)
Swati 2 2 - - - - Eswatini (Swaziland) and South Africa
Swedish 2 - - - 2 - Sweden and Finland
Tamil 2[L 2] - - 2 - - Sri Lanka and Singapore
Tigrinya 2 2 - - - - Eritrea and Ethiopia
Venda 2 2 - - - - South Africa and Zimbabwe
Xhosa 2 2 - - - - South Africa and Zimbabwe
Armenian 1-2* - - - 2 - Armenia and Artsakh*
Somali 1-2* 1-2* - - - - Somalia, Somaliland*

Partially recognised or de facto independent countries are denoted by an asterisk (*)

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ In the United States of America, English is the language of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States and The Federalist Papers and remains the working language of the federal administration. At the state level, some states with large Hispanic populations—such as Arizona, California, Florida, New Mexico, and Texas—provide bilingual legislated notices and official documents in both Spanish and English. Attempts have been made to legislate English as the official language of the federal government of the United States, often imbued with nationalist sentiment such as the proposed English Language Unity Act of 2005 with its controversial ties to immigration policy, but these initiatives have not passed into law, despite an English-only movement whose long history includes: Pennsylvania of the 1750s concerning German; the decade of the 1800s in Louisiana concerning French; the 1890s concerning the use of the Hawaiian language in Hawaii; and from 1880 onward—now formally organized—more than a century of American Indian boarding schools suppressing the use of Native American indigenous language.
  2. ^ Listing Tamil as having only 2 countries where it is official is dubious.[dubious ]

References[edit]