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.[1]

List[edit]

Language World Africa Americas Asia Europe Oceania Countries
English 59 24 16 4 3 12 United States, United Kingdom, Australia, India, South Africa (See the full list) [L 1]
French 34 25 2 1 5 1 France, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, Madagascar, Monaco, Haiti, Lebanon (See the full list)
Arabic 23-25* 11-13* - 12 - - Egypt, Sudan, Algeria, Iraq, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Palestine (See the full list)
Spanish 20-21* 1-2* 18 - 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)
Swahili 5 5 - - - - Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Serbo-Croatian 4-5* - - - 4-5* - Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo*
Italian 4 - - - 4 - Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City
Malay based 4 - - 4 - - Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei
Dutch 3 - 1 - 2 - Netherlands, Belgium, Suriname
Persian 3 - - 3 - - Iran, Afghanistan (known as Dari), Tajikistan (known as Tajik)
Quechua 3 - 3 - - - Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador
Sotho 3 3 - - - - South Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe
Tamil 4 - - 4 - - Sri Lanka, Singapore, India, Malaysia
Tswana 3 3 - - - - South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe
Albanian 2-3* - - - 2-3* - Albania, Kosovo*, North Macedonia
Chinese 2-4* - - 2-4* - - China, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan*
Romanian 2-3* - - - 2-3* - Moldova, Romania, Transnistria*[2]
Turkish 2-3* - - - 2-3* - Cyprus, Turkey, Northern Cyprus*
Berber languages 2 2 - - - - Algeria, Morocco

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


Several other languages are officially used in two countries, these are:

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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Paronia, Amber. "The Most Popular Official Languages Of The World". World Atlas. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Official website of the President of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic — The PMR Constitution". en.president.gospmr.org. Retrieved 2021-02-26.