List of official languages by state

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This is a complete list of the official languages designated in the sovereign states 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.

Only states, which are defined as sovereign, internationally recognised, independent political entities, are listed. This is not a list of countries or nations, although many states listed are simultaneously also countries and/or nations.

For dependent territories, refer to the corresponding sovereign states.

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


A[edit]

 Afghanistan[1]
  • Pashto (nationwide) (official)
  • Dari (nationwide) (official)
 Albania[2]
  • Albanian (only official language of Albania; based on Tosk dialect)
  • Greek (significant minority, official in Himara, Dropull, Finiq and Derviçan)
  • Italian (widely spoken)
 Algeria
 Andorra

(Languages of Andorra)[4]

  • Catalan (only official language of Andorra)
  • Spanish (minority language)
 Angola[5]
 Antigua and Barbuda
  • English (de facto official)[6]
 Argentina
 Armenia
  • Armenian[8] (only official language according to the constitution)
 Australia
  • No official language, English is the de facto official language.
 Austria
 Azerbaijan

B[edit]

 Bahamas
  • English
 Bahrain
 Bangladesh
 Barbados
  • English
 Belarus
  • Belarusian
  • Russian (both are official languages state-widely)
 Belgium

(Languages of Belgium)[12]

 Belize
 Benin
  • French
 Bhutan
 Bolivia
 Bosnia and Herzegovina
 Botswana
 Brazil
 Brunei
 Bulgaria
 Burkina Faso
 Burundi

C[edit]

 Cambodia
 Cameroon
  • English
  • French
 Canada
  • English (federal; official language)
  • French (federal; official language)
    • Official language in the provinces and territories of Manitoba, 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)
 Chad
 Chile
  • No official language, Spanish is the de facto official language. (the languages and dialects of ethnic groups are also official in their territories[23])
 China
 Colombia
  • Spanish (the languages and dialects of ethnic groups are also official in their territories[24])
 Comoros
 Democratic Republic of the Congo
 Republic of the Congo
 Costa Rica
  • Spanish
 Croatia
 Cuba
  • Spanish
 Cyprus
 Czech Republic

D[edit]

 Denmark
 Djibouti
 Dominica
  • English
 Dominican Republic
  • Spanish

E[edit]

 East Timor
 Ecuador
  • 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]
 Egypt
 El Salvador
 Equatorial Guinea
 Eritrea
 Estonia
  • Estonian (nationwide official language)
 Ethiopia

F[edit]

 Fiji
 Finland
 France

And overseas departments and territories (Languages of France and language policy in France)[31]

  • French (statewide) (only official language according to French constitution)

G[edit]

 Gabon
  • French
 Gambia
  • English
 Georgia
 Germany
 Ghana
 Greece
 Grenada
  • English
 Guatemala
  • Spanish
 Guinea
 Guinea-Bissau
 Guyana

H[edit]

 Haiti
 Honduras
 Hungary

I[edit]

 Iceland
 India
 Indonesia

(Languages of Indonesia)

 Iran
 Iraq
 Ireland

(Languages of Ireland)[36]

 Israel
 Italy

(Languages of Italy)

 Ivory Coast
  • French

J[edit]

 Jamaica
  • English (official)[38]
 Japan
 Jordan

K[edit]

 Kazakhstan
 Kenya
 Kiribati
 North Korea
 South Korea
 Kuwait
 Kyrgyzstan

L[edit]

 Laos
 Latvia
 Lebanon
 Lesotho
  • English
  • Sotho (national)
 Liberia
  • English
 Libya
 Liechtenstein
  • German
 Lithuania
 Luxembourg

M[edit]

 Macedonia
 Madagascar
  • French (official)
  • Malagasy (official and national)
 Malawi
  • Chichewa (national)
  • English (official)
 Malaysia
 Maldives
 Mali
 Malta
 Marshall Islands
 Mauritania
 Mauritius
  • English (official)
  • French (national)
 Mexico
 Federated States of Micronesia
 Moldova
 Monaco[43]
  • French
 Mongolia
 Montenegro
 Morocco
 Mozambique
Myanmar Myanmar (Burma)

N[edit]

 Namibia[44]
 Nauru
   Nepal
 Netherlands
 New Zealand
 Nicaragua
  • Spanish
 Niger
 Nigeria
 Norway

(Languages of Norway)

O[edit]

 Oman

P[edit]

 Pakistan
  • Urdu (national Language; official)
  • English (official Language)
  • Other major languages like Punjabi, Balochi, Sindhi and Pashto have no official recognition
 Palau
 Panama
 Papua New Guinea
 Paraguay
 Peru
  • Spanish (Official)
  • Aymara (co-official)
  • Quechua (co-official)
  • All native languages in areas where they are spoken by the majority of people
 Philippines

(Languages of the Philippines , Philippine languages)

 Poland
 Portugal

(Languages of Portugal)

Q[edit]

 Qatar

R[edit]

 Romania
 Russia

(Languages of Russia)

 Rwanda

S[edit]

 Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • English
 Saint Lucia
  • English
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • English
 Samoa
  • English (official)
  • Samoan (national)
 San Marino
  • Italian
 São Tomé and Príncipe
 Saudi Arabia
 Senegal
 Serbia
 Seychelles
 Sierra Leone
  • English
 Singapore
 Slovakia
 Slovenia
 Solomon Islands
  • English
 Somalia
 South Africa
(all 11 official, statewide)
 South Sudan
  • English (official)
  • Bari (national)
  • Dinka (national)
  • Luo (national)
  • Murle (national)
  • Nuer (national)
  • Zande (national)
  • around 60 other languages (national)
 Spain
 Sri Lanka
 Sudan
 Suriname
 Swaziland
 Sweden
  Switzerland
 Syria

T[edit]

 Tajikistan
  • Tajik (national)
  • Russian (for interethnic communication)
 Tanzania
 Thailand
 Togo
  • French
 Tonga
 Trinidad and Tobago
  • English
 Tunisia
 Turkey
 Turkmenistan
  • Turkmen (national)
  • Russian (for interethnic communication)
 Tuvalu

U[edit]

 Uganda
 Ukraine
 United Arab Emirates
 United Kingdom

British Overseas Territories and Crown dependencies

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

V[edit]

 Vanuatu
  • Bislama (national)
  • English
  • French
  Vatican City
 Venezuela
  • Spanish
 Vietnam

Y[edit]

 Yemen

Z[edit]

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

Partially recognised states or Impartial Sovereign[edit]

 Abkhazia
 Hong Kong
 Kosovo
 Macau
 Sovereign Military Order of Malta
 Nagorno-Karabakh
 Northern Cyprus
 Palestine
 Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
 Somaliland
 South Ossetia
 Republic of China
 Transnistria

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: 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
  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 - www.kormany.hu/download/4/c3/30000/THE%20FUNDAMENTAL%20LAW%20OF%20HUNGARY.pdf
  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 - http://www.complex.hu/kzldat/o95h0035.htm/o95h0035_0.htm
  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. orusovo.com. Retrieved 23 April 2008. 
  45. ^ https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/wa.html 32% Namibians speak German
  46. ^ "Cornish gains official recognition". BBC News. 6 November 2002. Retrieved 8 May 2008. 
  47. ^ "Taiwan Information: People and Language". Asia-planet.net (Information provided by Tourism Bureau, ROC). Retrieved 30 August 2009.