List of official languages by country and territory

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This is a complete list of the official languages of countries and dependent territories of the world. It includes all languages that have official language status either statewide or in a part of the state, or that have status as a national language, regional language, or minority language.

Definitions[edit]

  • Official language: one designated as having a unique legal status in the state, typically, the language used in a nation's legislative bodies, and often, official government business
  • Regional language: one designated as having official status limited to a specific area, administrative division, or territory of the state (on this page a regional language will have parentheses next to it that contain a region, province, etc. where the language has regional status)
  • Minority language: (as used here) one spoken by a minority population within the state and officially designated as such; typically afforded protection and designated an officially permissible language for legal and government business in a specific area or territory of the state (on this page a minority language will be followed by parentheses that identify its minority status)
  • National language: one that uniquely represents the national identity of a state, nation, and/or country and so designated by a country's government; some are technically minority languages (on this page a national language will be followed by parentheses that identify it as a national language status). Some countries have more than one language with this status

List of countries/dependent territories[edit]

Country Official language Regional language Minority language National language Widely spoken
Abkhazia[a] Georgian Abkhaz
Afghanistan[1]
Albania[2] Albanian Italian
Algeria[3]
  • Arabic
  • Tamazight
French
Andorra Catalan[4]
Angola[5] Portuguese
Antigua and Barbuda English (de facto)[6]
Argentina Spanish (de facto)
Armenia Armenian Armenian (state language)[9]
Artsakh[a] Armenian
Australia English (de facto)
Austria[10][11] German (state language)
Azerbaijan Azerbaijani (state language)[12]
Country Official language Regional language Minority language National language Widely spoken
Bahamas English
Bahrain Arabic
Bangladesh Bengali Bengali
Barbados English
Belarus
Belgium Dutch, French, German
Belize English Spanish (border with Mexico and Guatemala) Kriol (lingua franca)
Benin French
Bhutan Dzongkha
Bolivia[14]
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Botswana
  • English
  • Tswana
Tswana
Brazil

Portuguese[16]

Portuguese
Brunei
Bulgaria Bulgarian
Burkina Faso French
Burundi[44][45] Kirundi Swahili
Country Official language Regional language Minority language National language Widely spoken
Cambodia Khmer
Cameroon
  • English
  • French
Canada
  • English (Federal)
  • French (Federal)
  • Chipewyan
  • Cree
  • Gwich'in
  • Inuinnaqtun
  • Inuktitut
  • Inuvialuktun
  • North Slavey
  • South Slavey
  • Tłı̨chǫ
Cape Verde Portuguese Cape Verdean Creole
Central African Republic French Sango
Chad
  • Arabic
  • French
Chile Spanish (de facto) (Languages of ethnic groups are official in their territories)[46]
China Mandarin
Colombia Spanish (Languages of ethnic groups are official in their territories)[47]
Comoros
Democratic Republic of the Congo French
Republic of the Congo French
Costa Rica Spanish
Croatia Croatian
  • Italian (Istria County)
  • Romani (non-territorial)
  • Slovene (non-territorial)
Cuba Spanish
Cyprus English
Czech Republic
Country Official language Regional language Minority language National language Widely spoken
Denmark Danish German (in Southern Jutland)
Djibouti
  • Arabic
  • French
Dominica English
Dominican Republic Spanish
Country Official language Regional language Minority language National language Widely spoken
East Timor
Ecuador[51]
  • Spanish
  • Quechua (official language of intercultural relation)
  • Kichwa (official minority language)
  • Shuar (official minority language)
Egypt Arabic
El Salvador Spanish
Equatorial Guinea
  • French
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
Eritrea Tigrinya
  • Arabic
  • Italian
Estonia Estonian
Eswatini
Ethiopia Amharic
Country Official language Regional language Minority language National language Widely spoken
Fiji
Finland Sami (in Enontekiö, Inari, Sodankylä, Utsjoki)
  • Finnish
  • Swedish
France
Country Official language Regional language Minority language National language Widely spoken
Gabon French
Gambia English
Georgia Georgian
Germany German[53]
  • Danish
  • Lower Sorbian
  • North Frisian
  • Romani[54]
  • Upper Sorbian
Ghana English
Greece Greek
Grenada English
Guatemala Spanish
Guinea French
Guinea-Bissau Portuguese
Guyana English Guyanese Creole
Country Official language Regional language Minority language National language Widely spoken
Haiti
Honduras Spanish
Hong Kong Traditional Chinese (written)
Hungary Hungarian[55]
Country Official language Regional language Minority language National language Widely spoken
Iceland
India (32 languages)
Indonesia
[citation needed]
Indonesian
Iran Persian Persian
Iraq Arabic
Ireland[57] Irish
Israel Hebrew Arabic
  • Russian
  • English
Italy
  • Italian
  • Ladin
  • Slovene
Ivory Coast French
Country Official language Regional language Minority language National language Widely spoken
Jamaica English
Japan Japanese Japanese
Jordan Arabic
Country Official language Regional language Minority language National language Widely spoken
Kazakhstan Kazakh, Russian Kazakh
Kenya English Swahili
Kiribati English Kiribati
North Korea Korean
South Korea
Kosovo[a]
  • Albanian
  • Serbian
Turkish
  • Albanian (nationwide)
  • Serbian (Northern Kosovo)
Kuwait Standard Arabic
Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyz, Russian Kyrgyz
Country Official language Regional language Minority language National language Widely spoken
Laos Lao
Latvia Latvian[58][59]
Lebanon Arabic Phoenician
Lesotho English Sotho
Liberia English
Libya Arabic
Liechtenstein German
Lithuania Lithuanian
Luxembourg Luxembourgish
Country Official language Regional language Minority language National language Widely spoken
Macau
  • Cantonese (de facto)
  • Portuguese
Chinese
Madagascar Malagasy
Malawi
  • English
  • Chichewa
Chichewa
Malaysia Malay[e]
Maldives Dhivehi
Mali French Tamazight (Azawad district)
Malta English, Maltese Maltese
Sovereign Military Order of Malta[a] Italian
Marshall Islands English Marshallese
Mauritania Arabic French
Mauritius English French
Mexico Spanish (de facto)
Federated States of Micronesia Woleaian
Moldova Romanian
Monaco[61] French Monégasque
Mongolia Mongolian
Montenegro Bosnian (in the north) Montenegrin Serbian
Morocco
Mozambique Portuguese
Myanmar (Burma) Burmese
Country Official language Regional language Minority language National language Widely spoken
Namibia[62] English Afrikaans
Nauru
Nepal Maithili (in Madhesh) Nepali
Netherlands Dutch (de facto)
New Zealand
Nicaragua Spanish
Niger French
Nigeria English
North Macedonia
Northern Cyprus[a] Turkish
Norway Norwegian Sami (in Kautokeino, Karasjok, Gáivuotna, Kåfjord, Nesseby, Porsanger, Tana, Tysfjord)
Country Official language Regional language Minority language National language Widely spoken
Oman Arabic
Country Official language Regional language Minority language National language Widely spoken
Pakistan Urdu
Palau
Palestine Arabic (de facto)
  • English
  • Hebrew
Panama Spanish
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay
  • Spanish
  • Guaraní
Peru
Philippines Filipino
  • Spanish
  • Arabic
Poland Polish Kashubian (Pomeranian Voivodeship)
Portugal Portuguese Mirandese (Miranda do Douro)
Country Official language Regional language Minority language National language Widely spoken
Qatar Arabic
Country Official language Regional language Minority language National language Widely spoken
Romania Romanian
  • Armenian
  • German
  • Hungarian
  • Romani
  • Serbian
  • Slovak
  • Turkish
  • Ukrainian
Russia Russian (33 languages)
Rwanda
Country Official language Regional language Minority language National language Widely spoken
Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic[a]
  • Tamazight
  • Arabic
  • Spanish
Saint Kitts and Nevis English
Saint Lucia English
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines English
Samoa English Samoan
San Marino Italian
São Tomé and Príncipe Portuguese
Saudi Arabia Arabic
Senegal French
Serbia Serbian (15 languages)
Seychelles
Sierra Leone English
Singapore Malay
Slovakia Slovak
  • Bulgarian
  • Czech
  • German
  • Hungarian
  • Polish
  • Romani
  • Rusyn
  • Serbian
  • Ukrainian
Slovenia Slovene
Solomon Islands English
Somalia Arabic Somali
Somaliland[a]
  • Arabic
  • English
  • Somali
South Africa
South Ossetia[a] Georgian Georgian
South Sudan English
Spain Spanish
Sri Lanka
Sudan
  • Arabic
  • English
Suriname Dutch Sranan Tongo
Sweden Swedish
  • Romani
  • Yiddish
Switzerland
Syria Arabic Kurdish
Country Official language Regional language Minority language National language Widely spoken
Taiwan Mandarin (de facto) Mandarin
Tajikistan Tajik Tajik Russian
Tanzania English Swahili
Thailand Thai
Togo French
Tonga English Tongan
Transnistria[a]
  • Moldovan
  • Russian
  • Ukrainian
Trinidad and Tobago English
Tunisia Arabic
Turkey Turkish Kurdish
Turkmenistan Turkmen Turkmen Russian
Tuvalu English (de facto) Tuvaluan (de facto)
Country Official language Regional language Minority language National language Widely spoken
Uganda
Ukraine Ukrainian
United Arab Emirates Arabic
United Kingdom English (de facto)
United States English (de facto) (28 languages)
Uruguay Spanish (de facto)
Uzbekistan Uzbek
Country Official language Regional language Minority language National language Widely spoken
Vanuatu
  • English
  • French
Bislama
Vatican City Italian
Venezuela
Vietnam Vietnamese
Country Official language Regional language Minority language National language Widely spoken
Yemen Arabic
Country Official language Regional language Minority language National language Widely spoken
Zambia English
Zimbabwe

Ranking[edit]

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

Language World Africa Americas Asia Europe Oceania Countries
English 59 24 16 4 3 12 United States, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Philippines, United Kingdom. (See the full list)
French 29 21 2 - 5 1 France, DRC, Canada, Madagascar. (See the full list)
Arabic 26 13 - 13 - - Egypt, Sudan, Algeria, Iraq, Morocco, Saudi Arabia. (See the full list)
Spanish 21 1 19 - 1 - Mexico, Spain, Colombia, Argentina. (See the full list)
Portuguese 10 6 1 1 1 1 Brazil, Portugal, Mozambique, Angola. (See the full list)
German 6 - - - 6 - Germany, Austria, Switzerland. (See the full list)
Serbo-Croatian 4–5[a] - - - 4–5[a] - Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo[a]
Italian 4 - - - 4 - Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City
Malay based 4 - - 4 - - Indonesia (known as Indonesian), Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Southern Thailand
Russian 4 - - 2 2 - Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan
Swahili 5 5 - - - - Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, DRC, Rwanda
Chinese 2–3[a] - - 2–3[a] - - China, Singapore, Taiwan[a]
Dutch 3 - 1 - 2 - Netherlands, Belgium, Suriname
Hindustani 3 - - 2 - 1 Fiji,[70] India,[71] Pakistan[72]
Persian 3 - - 3 - - Iran, Afghanistan (known as Dari), Tajikistan (known as Tajik)
Tamil 3 - - 3 - - Sri Lanka, Singapore, India
Quechua 3 - 3 - - - Perú, Bolivia, Ecuador

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

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Independence of this territory is disputed
  2. ^ a b c d e f The third official language – in addition to Pashto and Dari – in areas where the majority speaks them
  3. ^ a b Slovak language is defined as official language together with Czech language by several laws – e.g. law 500/2004, 337/1992. Source: http://portal.gov.cz. Cited: "Například Správní řád (zákon č. 500/2004 Sb.) stanovuje: "V řízení se jedná a písemnosti se vyhotovují v českém jazyce. Účastníci řízení mohou jednat a písemnosti mohou být předkládány i v jazyce slovenském..." (§16, odstavec 1). Zákon o správě daní a poplatků (337/1992 Sb.) „Úřední jazyk: Před správcem daně se jedná v jazyce českém nebo slovenském. Veškerá písemná podání se předkládají v češtině nebo slovenštině..." (§ 3, odstavec 1). http://portal.gov.cz
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Citizens belonging to minorities, which traditionally and on long-term basis live within the territory of the Czech Republic, enjoy the right to use their language in communication with authorities and in front of the courts of law (for the list of recognized minorities see National Minorities Policy of the Government of the Czech Republic). The article 25 of the Czech Charter of Fundamental Rights and Basic Freedoms ensures right of the national and ethnic minorities for education and communication with authorities in their own language. Act No. 500/2004 Coll. (The Administrative Rule) in its paragraph 16 (4) (Procedural Language) ensures, that a citizen of the Czech Republic, who belongs to a national or an ethnic minority, which traditionally and on long-term basis lives within the territory of the Czech Republic, have right to address an administrative agency and proceed before it in the language of the minority. In case that the administrative agency doesn't have an employee with knowledge of the language, the agency is bound to obtain a translator at the agency's own expense. According to Act No. 273/2001 (About The Rights of Members of Minorities) paragraph 9 (The right to use language of a national minority in dealing with authorities and in front of the courts of law) the same applies for the members of national minorities also in front of the courts of law.
  5. ^ Article 152 of the Constitution of Malaysia designated Malay as the national language. Section 2 of that article allowed English to be used officially until otherwise provided by Parliament. In 1967, the Parliament of Malaysia passed the National Language Act, making Malay the official language of Malaysia. The act does, however, allow the use of English for some official purposes. On 11 July 1990, following the amendment of the National Language Act 1963/67 (Act 32) (Revised in 1971), Malay replaced English as the official language of the courts in West Malaysia. The amending Act provided English to be used in the Courts in West Malaysia where it deems necessary in the interest of Justice. East Malaysia continued using English as the official language in their courts.[60] Since 2007, the official policy is to refer to the national language as the Malaysian language (Bahasa Malaysia), although legislation still refers to the Malay language (Bahasa Melayu).
  6. ^ a b Not designated but meets legal definition
  7. ^ Refers to the Tjwao dialect
  8. ^ See Zimbabwean sign languages

References[edit]

  1. ^ Constitution of Afghanistan (Chapter 1, Article 16)
  2. ^ Constitution of Albania Archived 25 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine (Article 14)
  3. ^ Constitution of Algeria (Article 3)
  4. ^ Constitution of Andorra (Article 2)
  5. ^ "Angola". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency.
  6. ^ Constitution of Antigua and Barbuda, 1981 (Article 29)
  7. ^ a b Provincial Law Nº5598
  8. ^ a b c d La Cámara de Diputados de la Provincia del Chaco. Sanciona con fuerza de Ley Nro.6604
  9. ^ Constitution of Armenia
  10. ^ Constitution of Austria (Article 8)
  11. ^ Bundesgesetz über die Rechtsstellung der Volksgruppen in Österreich (Volksgruppengesetz – VoGrG)
  12. ^ Constitution of Azerbaijan, Constitution of Azerbaijan (English translation) (Article 21)
  13. ^ a b c Constitution of Belgium, in Dutch, French and German Archived 13 April 2003 at the Wayback Machine (Article 4)
  14. ^ "Bolivia: Decreto Supremo Nº 25894, 11 de septiembre de 2000". 11 September 2000. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  15. ^ a b c Footitt, Hilary; Kelly, Michael (2012). Languages at War: Policies and Practices of Language Contacts in Conflict. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 111–120. ISBN 978-0230368774.
  16. ^ According to the Brazilian Constitution, article 13: A língua portuguesa é o idioma oficial da República Federativa do Brasil. "The Portuguese language is the official language of the Federative Republic of Brazil".[1]
  17. ^ Pomerode institui língua alemã como co-oficial no Município. Archived 30 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Pomerano!?, Retrieved 21 August 2011
  19. ^ No Brasil, pomeranos buscam uma cultura que se perde Archived 28 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved 21 August 2011
  20. ^ Lei dispõe sobre a cooficialização da língua pomerana no município de Santa maria de Jetibá, Estado do Espírito Santo Archived 2 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ http://titus.uni-frankfurt.de/didact/karten/germ/deutdin.htm
  22. ^ http://www.lerncafe.de/aus-der-welt-1142/articles/pommern-in-brasilien.html
  23. ^ a b c d Artigo da UFRJ sobre a cooficialização de línguas no Brasil
  24. ^ Município de Itarana participa de ações do Inventário da Língua Pomerana, Prefeitura Municipal de Itarana
  25. ^ «Lei Municipal nº 1.195/2016 de Itarana/ES». itarana.es.gov.br
  26. ^ Cooficialização da língua alemã em Antônio Carlos Archived 2 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ A sala de aula de alemão para falantes de dialeto: realidades e mitos
  28. ^ Brasil: dialeto do baixo-alemão torna-se segunda língua oficial de cidade gaúcha
  29. ^ Apresentando... Santa Maria do Herval
  30. ^ "Dialetos Hunsrik e Talian na ofensiva no Sul] - Em Santa Maria do Herval, regiăo de Novo Hamburgo, RS, surge forte a mobilizaçăo em favor do Hunsrik - a faceta brasileira/latino-americana do Hunsrückisch. Em Serafina Correa, RS, floresce o talian" (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on 2 April 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  31. ^ Aprovada em primeira votação projeto que torna o Talian segunda língua oficial de Bento Gonçalves
  32. ^ Co-oficialização do Talian é oficializada pela câmara de Bento Golçalves
  33. ^ "Câmara Bento – Projeto do Executivo é aprovado e Talian se torna a língua co-oficial". Archived from the original on 9 June 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  34. ^ Lei confirma o Talian como segunda língua oficial de Caxias do Sul
  35. ^ Talian pode ser língua cooficial de Flores da Cunha
  36. ^ Talian é língua cooficial de Flores da Cunha
  37. ^ Flores da Cunha (RS) - Projeto pretende instituir o “Talian” como língua co oficial no Município
  38. ^ Lei Nº 1310 de 16 de outubro de 2015 - Dispõe sobre a cooficialização da língua do "talian", à língua portuguesa, no município de Nova Roma do Sul"
  39. ^ O Talian agora é a língua co-oficial de Nova Roma do Sul, município de Nova Roma do Sul
  40. ^ Vereadores aprovam o talian como língua co-oficial do município, Retrieved 21 August 2011
  41. ^ Lei municipal oficializa línguas indígenas em São Gabriel da Cachoeira Archived 18 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved 24 August 2011
  42. ^ Na Babel brasileira, português é 2ª língua – FLÁVIA MARTIN e VITOR MORENO, enviados especiais a Sâo Gabriel da Cachoeira (AM) Archived 4 June 2012 at Archive.today, Retrieved 24 August 2011
  43. ^ Município do MS adota o guarani como língua oficial Archived 2 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved 24 August 2011
  44. ^ Constitution of Burundi 2005
  45. ^ Les approches bi-plurilingues d'enseignement-apprentissage: autour du programme Écoles et langues nationales en Afrique (ELAN-Afrique): Actes du colloque du 26-27 mars 2015
  46. ^ Indigenal Act, art. 28
  47. ^ Constitution of Colombia, 1991 (Article 10)
  48. ^ a b The Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus (PDF). 1960. art. 3, § 1.
  49. ^ a b "Implementation of the Charter in Cyprus", Database for the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, Public Foundation for European Comparative Minority Research, retrieved 11 August 2013
  50. ^ a b Constitution of Timor-Leste, section 13
  51. ^ Constitution of Ecuador 2008 Archived 17 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine, (Article 2)
  52. ^ Constitution of France (Article 2)
  53. ^ Though not explicitly specified in the constitution, this is regulated in §23 Verwaltungsverfahrensgesetz (Administrative Procedures Act)
  54. ^ Publication by Ministry of the Interior (in German) Archived 3 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  55. ^ Constitution of Hungary, Article H - http://www.kormany.hu/download/4/c3/30000/THE%20FUNDAMENTAL%20LAW%20OF%20HUNGARY.pdf
  56. ^ a b c d e f Recognized by Hungary as minority language by the Ratification of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages by the Hungarian Parliament - Resolution 35/1995, April 7, 1995 - http://www.complex.hu/kzldat/o95h0035.htm/o95h0035_0.htm
  57. ^ Constitution of Ireland Archived 17 July 2009 at the Portuguese Web Archive (Article 8)
  58. ^ Priedīte, Aija (2005). "Surveying Language Attitudes and Practices in Latvia". Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. 26 (5): 409–424. doi:10.1080/01434630508668413. In 1992, following further amendments to this directive, Latvian was established as the only official language. It took Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development seven more years before the State language law was adopted in 1999, with further amendments in the years 2000, 2001 and 2002.
  59. ^ Jarinovska, Kristine. "Popular Initiatives as Means of Altering the Core of the Republic of Latvia", Juridica International. Vol. 20, 2013. p. 152 ISSN 1406-5509
  60. ^ Malaysia's Legal System, Eurasia International Legal Network, Malaysia.
  61. ^ Constitution of Monaco Archived 15 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine (Article 8)
  62. ^ "Article 3 – Language". The Constitution of The Republic of Namibia. orusovo.com. Archived from the original on 28 March 2010. Retrieved 23 April 2008.
  63. ^ https://europeanwesternbalkans.com/2019/01/15/albanian-becomes-second-official-language-macedonia/
  64. ^ Elias, Jun (19 September 2012). "Iloko La Union's official language". Philippine Star. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  65. ^ "Indigenous Languages Development Act". law.moj.gov.tw. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  66. ^ "Hakka Basic Act". law.moj.gov.tw. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  67. ^ Second official according to the Constitution
  68. ^ "Cornish gains official recognition". BBC News. 6 November 2002. Retrieved 8 May 2008.
  69. ^ "Draft constitution riles San people". NewsDay. AMH. 6 February 2013. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  70. ^ "Fiji Constitution".
  71. ^ "The Official Language Act, 1963". Department of Official Language. Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
  72. ^ "SC orders immediate implementation of Urdu as official language". The Express Tribune. 7 September 2015.