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.


  • 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


  • Pashto (nationwide) (official)
  • Dari (nationwide) (official)
  • Albanian (only official language of Albania; based on Tosk dialect)
  • Greek (significant minority, official in Himara, Dropull, Finiq and Derviçan)
  • Italian (widely spoken)

(Languages of Andorra)[4]

  • Catalan (only official language of Andorra)
  • Spanish (minority language)
 Antigua and Barbuda
  • English (de facto official)[6]
  • Armenian[8] (only official language according to the constitution)
  • No official language, English is the de facto official language.


  • English
  • English
  • Belarusian
  • Russian (both are official languages statewide)

(Languages of Belgium)[12]

  • French
 Bosnia and Herzegovina
 Burkina Faso


  • English
  • French
  • English (federal; official language)
  • French (federal; official language)
    • Official language in the provinces and territories of New Brunswick, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Quebec and the Yukon.
  • Chipewyan (regional; official language in the Northwest Territories)
  • Cree (regional; official language in the Northwest Territories)
  • Gwich’in (regional; official language in the Northwest Territories)
  • Inuinnaqtun (regional; official language in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut)
  • Inuktitut (regional; official language in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut)
  • Inuvialuktun (regional; official language in the Northwest Territories)
  • North Slavey (regional; official language in the Northwest Territories)
  • South Slavey (regional; official language in the Northwest Territories)
  • Tłı̨chǫ (regional; official language in the Northwest Territories)
 Cape Verde
 Central African Republic
  • French
  • Sango (national)
  • No official language, Spanish is the de facto official language. (the languages and dialects of ethnic groups are also official in their territories[23])
  • Spanish (the languages and dialects of ethnic groups are also official in their territories[24])
 Democratic Republic of the Congo
 Republic of the Congo
 Costa Rica
  • Spanish
  • Spanish
 Czech Republic


  • English
 Dominican Republic
  • Spanish


 East Timor
  • Spanish (nationwide official language)
  • Quechua (official language of intercultural relation), ancient languages are official in their territories.[30]
  • Kichwa (official minority language)[30]
  • Shuar (official minority language)[30]
 El Salvador
 Equatorial Guinea
  • Estonian (nationwide official language)




  • French
  • English
  • English
  • Spanish


 Hong Kong



(Languages of Indonesia)


(Languages of Ireland)[36]


(Languages of Italy)

 Ivory Coast
  • French


  • English (official)[38]


 North Korea
 South Korea


  • English
  • Sotho (national)
  • English
  • German


 Sovereign Military Order of Malta
  • French (official)
  • Malagasy (official and national)
  • Chichewa (national)
  • English (official)
 Marshall Islands
  • English (official)
  • French (national)
 Federated States of Micronesia
  • French
Myanmar Myanmar (Burma)


 New Zealand
  • Spanish
 Northern Cyprus

(Languages of Norway)




 Papua New Guinea
  • Spanish (Official)
  • Aymara (co-official)
  • Quechua (co-official)
  • All native languages in areas where they are spoken by the majority of people

(Languages of the Philippines, Philippine languages)


(Languages of Portugal)





(Languages of Russia)



 Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
 Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • English
 Saint Lucia
  • English
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • English
  • English (official)
  • Samoan (national)
 San Marino
  • Italian
 São Tomé and Príncipe
 Saudi Arabia
 Sierra Leone
  • English
 Solomon Islands
  • English
 South Africa
(all 11 official, statewide)
 South Ossetia
 South Sudan
  • English (official)
  • Bari (national)
  • Dinka (national)
  • Luo (national)
  • Murle (national)
  • Nuer (national)
  • Zande (national)
  • around 60 other languages (national)
 Sri Lanka


  • Tajik (national)
  • Russian (for interethnic communication)
  • French
 Trinidad and Tobago
  • English
  • Turkmen (national)
  • Russian (for interethnic communication)


 United Arab Emirates
 United Kingdom

British Overseas Territories and Crown dependencies

 United States
  • Spanish
  • Uzbek (national)
  • Russian (for interethnic communication)


  • Bislama (national)
  • English
  • French
  Vatican City
  • Spanish




  • English
(English, Shona and Ndebele are the most widely spoken languages)

See also[edit]

References and footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Constitution of Afghanistan (Chapter 1, Article 16)
  2. ^ Constitution of Albania (Article 14)
  3. ^ Constitution of Algeria (Article 3) (MS Word format)
  4. ^ Constitution of Andorra (Article 2)
  5. ^ "Angola". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. 
  6. ^ Constitution of Antigua and Barbuda, 1981 (Article 29)
  7. ^ Provincial Law Nº5598
  8. ^ Constitution of Armenia (Article 12)
  9. ^ Constitution of Austria (Article 8)
  10. ^ a b Constitution of Austria, Article 8 & State Treaty for the Re-establishment of an Independent and Democratic Austria (Article 7, Page 188)
  11. ^ Constitution of Azerbaijan, Constitution of Azerbaijan (English translation) (Article 21)
  12. ^ Constitution of Belgium, in Dutch, French and German (Article 4)
  13. ^ Footitt, Hilary; Kelly, Michael (2012). Languages at War: Policies and Practices of Language Contacts in Conflict. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 111–120. ISBN 0230368778. 
  14. ^ Pomerode institui língua alemã como co-oficial no Município.
  15. ^ Pomerano!?, acessado em 21 de agosto de 2011
  16. ^ No Brasil, pomeranos buscam uma cultura que se perde, acessado em 21 de agosto de 2011
  17. ^ Lei dispõe sobre a cooficialização da língua pomerana no município de Santa maria de Jetibá, Estado do Espírito Santo
  18. ^ Cooficialização da língua alemã em Antônio Carlos
  19. ^ Vereadores aprovam o talian como língua co-oficial do município, acessado em 21 de agosto de 2011
  20. ^ Lei municipal oficializa línguas indígenas em São Gabriel da Cachoeira, acessado em 24 de agosto de 2011
  21. ^ Na Babel brasileira, português é 2ª língua – FLÁVIA MARTIN e VITOR MORENO, enviados especiais a Sâo Gabriel da Cachoeira (AM), acessado em 24 de agosto de 2011
  22. ^ Município do MS adota o guarani como língua oficial, acessado em 24 de agosto de 2011
  23. ^ Indigenal Act, art. 28
  24. ^ Constitution of Colombia, 1991 (Article 10)
  25. ^ a b The Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus (PDF). 1960. art. 3, § 1. 
  26. ^ 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 
  27. ^ Slovak language is defined as official language together with Czech language by several laws – e.g. law 500/2004, 337/1992. Source: 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).
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ a b Constitution of Timor-Leste, section 13
  30. ^ a b c Constitution of Ecuador 2008, (Article 2)
  31. ^ Constitution of France (Article 2)
  32. ^ Though not explicitly specified in the constitution, this is regulated in §23 Verwaltungsverfahrensgesetz (Administrative Procedures Act)
  33. ^ Publication by Ministry of the Interior (in German)
  34. ^ Constitution of Hungary, Article H -
  35. ^ 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 -
  36. ^ Constitution of Ireland (Article 8)
  37. ^ MK Dichter revives Jewish State bill
  38. ^ The Constitution of Jamaica section 20(6e) (implicit)
  39. ^ Priedīte, Aija (2005). "Surveying Language Attitudes and Practices in Latvia". Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. 26 (5): 409–424. doi:10.1080/01434630508668413. <quote>In 1992, following further amendments to this directive, Latvian was established as the only official language. It took 410 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.</quote>
  40. ^ 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
  41. ^ Malaysia's Legal System, Eurasia International Legal Network, Malaysia.
  42. ^ a b 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.[41] 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).
  43. ^ Constitution of Monaco (Article 8)
  44. ^ "Article 3 – Language". The Constitution of The Republic of Namibia. Retrieved 23 April 2008. 
  45. ^ 32% Namibians speak German
  46. ^ "Taiwan Information: People and Language". (Information provided by Tourism Bureau, ROC). Retrieved 30 August 2009. 
  47. ^ "Cornish gains official recognition". BBC News. 6 November 2002. Retrieved 8 May 2008.