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

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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


This is a ranking of languages by number of sovereign countries in which they are de jure or de facto official, although there are no precise inclusion criteria or definition of a language. An '*' (asterisk) indicates a country whose independence is disputed.

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

Language World Africa Americas Asia Europe Oceania Countries
English 58 23 14 4 3 14 United Kingdom, United States,[L 1] Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, India, South Africa, Nigeria (See the full list)[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 21 1 19 1 Spain, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico (See the full list)[2]
Portuguese 9 6 1 1 1 Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, East Timor (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 Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda
Serbo-Croatian 4–5* 4–5* Serbia (known as Serbian), Croatia (known as Croatian), Montenegro (known as Montenegrin), Bosnia and Herzegovina (known as Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian), Kosovo* (known as Serbian)
Italian 4 4 Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City
Malay 4 4 Malaysia (known as Malaysian), Indonesia (known as Indonesian), Singapore, Brunei
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
Tamil 3 3 Sri Lanka, Singapore, India (Eighth Schedule Languages)
Albanian 3 3 Albania, Kosovo*, North Macedonia
Standard Chinese 2-3* 2–3* China, Singapore, Taiwan*
Romanian 2–3* 3 Romania, Moldova, Transnistria*
Somali 2–3* 2–3* Somalia, Ethiopia, and Somaliland*
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
Hindustani 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
Tigrinya 2 2 Eritrea and Ethiopia
Venda 2 2 South Africa and Zimbabwe
Xhosa 2 2 South Africa and Zimbabwe
Armenian 1–2* 1–2* Armenia and Artsakh*

See also[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.


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  1. ^ "Field Listing - Languages". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Archived from the original on June 13, 2007. Retrieved 2009-01-11.
  2. ^ "Spanish-Speaking Countries". Berges Institute. Retrieved 27 May 2023. Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, and it is an official language, either de facto (in practice) or de jure (by law) in 20 countries. Spanish is also an official language in Puerto Rico, Gibraltar, the United Nations, the African Union, and the Organization of American States.