National language

A national language is a language (or language variant, e.g. dialect) that has some connection—de facto or de jure—with people and the territory they occupy. There is little consistency in the use of this term. One or more languages spoken as first languages in the territory of a country may be referred to informally or designated in legislation as national languages of the country. National or national languages are mentioned in over 150 world constitutions.[1]

C.M.B. Brann, with particular reference to India, suggests that there are "four quite distinctive meanings" for national language in a polity:[2]

  • "Territorial language" (chthonolect, sometimes known as chtonolect[3]) of a particular people
  • "Regional language" (choralect)
  • "Language-in-common or community language" (demolect) used throughout a country
  • "Central language" (politolect) used by government and perhaps having a symbolic value.

The last is usually given the title of official language.

Standard languages, such as Standard German, Standard French, and Standard Spanish, may serve as national (language-in-common), regional, and international languages.

Official versus national languages

"National language" and "official language" are best understood as two concepts or legal categories with ranges of meaning that may coincide, or may be intentionally separate. Stateless nations are not in the position to legislate an official language, but their languages may be sufficiently distinct and well-preserved to be national languages. Some languages may be recognized popularly as "national languages," while others may enjoy official recognition in use or promotion.

In many African countries, some or all indigenous African languages are officially used, promoted, or expressly allowed to be promoted (usually taught in schools and written in important publications) as semi-official languages whether by long-term legislation or short-term, case-by-case executive (government) measures. To be official, spoken and written languages may enjoy government or federalised use, major tax-funded promotion or at least full tolerance as to their teaching and employers' recognition in public education, standing on equal footing with the official language(s). Further, they may enjoy recognition as a language used in compulsory schooling and treasury money may be spent to teach or encourage adults in learning a language which is a minority language in a particular area to restore its understanding and spread its moral stories, rhymes, poems, phrases, songs, and other literary heritage which will promote social cohesion (where other languages remain) or will promote nationalist differentiation where another, non-indigenous language is deprecated.[4][5]

National languages


Albanian is a national language in Albania and Kosovo and a regional national language for parts of Macedonia, southern Montenegro and Serbia.


Arabic is the national language in Algeria.[6] Berber is also an official language. French has no official status but is widely used in education, business and the media.


Andorra's national language is Catalan; moreover Catalan is an official language in several territories in Spain (Catalonia, Valencian Community, Balearic Islands), and is spoken (without official recognition or status) in territories in Spain (the Catalan-Aragonese borderlands known as La Franja and the Murcian municipality of El Carche), France (Pyrénées Orientales) and in Italy (Alghero).


Armenia's national language is a separate branch in the linguistic family of Indo-European languages, Armenian. Armenian is widely spoken in Armenia as well as in its diaspora. The Armenian spoken in Armenia is known as Eastern Armenian, and this dialect is spoken as well, in the Armenian communities of Russia and Iran. While on the other hand, other Armenian communities such as the Armenian communities of Lebanon, Syria, Jerusalem etc. speak the Western Armenian dialect. |°


Australia has no official language, but is largely monolingual with English being the de facto national language. A considerable proportion of first and second generation migrants are bilingual. According to Ethnologue, 81% of people spoke English at home, including L2 speakers. Other languages spoken at home included Chinese 2.9%, Italian 1.2%, Arabic 1.1%, Greek 1%, Vietnamese 0.9% and Spanish 0.4%.[7]

There were almost 400 languages spoken by Indigenous Australians prior to the arrival of Europeans. Only about 70 of these languages have survived and all but 30 of these are now endangered.


Azerbaijani language is the national language in Azerbaijan.


Bengali (or Bangla) is the sole official language of Bangladesh.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina's de facto sole national language is Serbo-Croatian. It is officially defined under the three names Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian, corresponding to the country's constituent ethnic groups. The Latin and Cyrillic alphabets both have official status.[8][9]


Bulgarian is the sole official language in Bulgaria.[10]


Canada's official languages since the Official Languages Act of 1969 are English (Canadian English) and French (Canadian French). Depending on one's views of what constitutes a "nation", these two languages may be considered two equal national languages of the nation of Canada, or the national languages of two nations within one state, English Canada and French Canada.

Quebec nationalists consider Quebec French the language of the Quebec nation.

Two of Canada's northern territories legislate a variety of Indigenous languages. Nunavut holds Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun as official languages, and Northwest Territories has nine official languages aside from English and French: Cree, Dënesųłiné, Gwich’in, Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, North and South Slavey and Tłı̨chǫ. As these official languages are legislated at a territorial (sub-federal) level, they can be construed as national languages.

Besides these there many Indigenous languages of Canada which are the national languages of one or more of Canada's First Nations groups, Inuit and Métis (mixed First Nations-European peoples); a number of First Nations legislate at the Indigenous government levels their language as an official language of the Nation, such is the case with the Nisg̱a’a language in Nisg̱a’a. Notably the Cree language is spoken (with variations) from Alberta to Labrador, Anishinaabemowin is spoken across central Canada and Inuktitut is spoken across the arctic.


There are many languages spoken across China, with most people speaking one of several varieties of Chinese. During successive imperial dynasties, the spoken language of the capital city served as the official spoken language and was used across the country by government officials who traveled to communicate with one another. Dialects used for this purpose in different eras included those of Xi'an, Luoyang, Nanjing, Beijing, and other historical capital cities.

After the Xinhai Revolution in 1911, the Kuomintang (Chinese nationalists) founded the Republic of China. In order to promote a sense of national unity and enhance the efficiency of communications within the nation, the government decided to designate a national language. The Beijing dialect of Mandarin and Guangzhou dialect of Cantonese were each proposed as the basis for a national language for China. In the beginning, there were attempts to introduce elements from other Chinese varieties into the national language in addition to those from the Beijing dialect; this was reflected in the first official dictionary of the national language, given the name 國語 (Pinyin: Guóyǔ, literally "national language"). But this artificial language had no native speakers and was difficult to learn, so it was abandoned in 1924. Ultimately, the Beijing dialect was chosen as the national language and it continued to be referred to as 國語 in Chinese in the Republic of China. Since then, the Beijing dialect has become the main standard for pronunciation, due to its prestigious status during the preceding Qing Dynasty.

Still, elements from other dialects do exist in the standard language, which is now defined as reflecting the pronunciation of Beijing, the grammatical patterns of Mandarin dialects spoken in the northern parts of China, and the vocabulary of modern vernacular Chinese literature. The People's Republic of China renamed the national language 普通话 (Pinyin: Pǔtōnghuà, literally "common speech"), without otherwise changing the definition of the standard national language.[11]


Ethiopia is a country where more than 80 nations, nationalities and peoples live together peacefully. Its people altogether speak over 80 different languages. Amharic is the official language of Ethiopia. Nevertheless, the working languages of regional states differ such as Afaan Oromoo and Tigrinya. English is the most widely spoken foreign language and is the medium of instruction in secondary schools and universities. The language of instruction in primary schools is the local languages of the regional states.


Finland has two national languages: namely the Finnish language and the Swedish language. The Constitution of Finland guarantees the right to use Finnish and Swedish in courts and other state institutions.[12][13] Despite the large difference in the numbers of users, Swedish is not officially classified as a minority language but equal to Finnish. Both national languages are compulsory subjects in school (except for children with a third language as mother tongue) and a language test is a prerequisite for governmental offices where a university degree is required. The constitution also grants the Sami and the Roma peoples the right to maintain and develop their languages: The Sami have partial right to use Sami languages in official situations according to other laws.[14]


French is the official language of France, according to Article 2 of the French Republic's constitution.[15]


The official and national language of Germany is Standard German, with over 95% of the country speaking Standard German or German dialects as their first language.[16]


Haiti's official languages are Haitian Creole and French. While French is the language used in the media, government and education, 90–95% of the country speak Haitian Creole as the home language while French is learned in school.


Hindi is not national language as declared by the Constitution of India.[17] Hindi or English is used for official purposes such as parliamentary proceedings, judiciary, communications between the Central Government and a State Government.[18]  States of India are free to adopt one or more local languages for official purposes of that state. Additionally 22 official languages are accorded official status as mentioned in article 343/1 of the Indian Constitution. All of these languages carry equal official status and Government documents can be written in any one of these languages. Hence India has 22 major official languages and no National language.[19][20]


The official language of Indonesia is Indonesian. Indonesia has more than 700 living languages, making it the third most linguistically diverse country after Papua New Guinea and India. These 700+ languages, however, are without official status, and some are in danger of extinction. The largest local language is Javanese.


Persian (or Farsi) is recognised as the national language of Iran.[21]


Irish is recognised by the Constitution of Ireland as the national language and first official language of Ireland, and the English language is recognised as a second official language.[22]


Hebrew became the national language of Israel with the adoption of the Nation-State Bill in 2018. Arabic, also an official language, became recognized as a language with "special status" used in state institutions.


The Italian language is the de jure and de facto official language of Italy.[23][24] Italian is also referred to as national language for historical and cultural reasons, because since the 15th century, Italian became the language used in the courts of nearly every state in Italy and in general among educated Italians (scholars, writers, poets, philosophers, scientists, composers and artists) who contributed to what is nowadays the culture of Italy.[25] Furthermore, Italian was often an official language of the various Italian states before unification, slowly replacing Latin, even when ruled by foreign powers (such as the Spaniards in the Kingdom of Naples, or the Austrians in the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia).[26]


While English and Swahili are official languages, Swahili also has a special status as national language. None of the country's biggest languages (Gikuyu, Luo, Kamba, Kalenjin, etc.) have any explicit legal status on the national level, however the 2010 constitution enjoins the state to "promote and protect the diversity of language of the people of Kenya."[27]


In Lebanon, the Arabic language is the "official national" language.[28] Modern Standard Arabic is used for official purposes, while the everyday spoken language is Lebanese Arabic. French and English are also widespread in Lebanon.


Luxembourg uses three official languages: Luxembourgish, French, and German. Previously Luxembourgish had no official status, but following a constitutional revision a law was passed on February 24, 1984 making Luxembourgish the national language. Furthermore, this law recognised the three languages of Luxembourg (Luxembourgish, French and German) as administrative languages.


The Maltese language is the national language of Malta. It is also the official language of the island, together with English. Maltese only is recognised as "national" in Chapter 1 of the Laws of Malta.


Although English is the only nationwide official language in Namibia, there are also 20 National languages, which are each spoken by more or less sizeable portions of the population and are considered Namibia's cultural heritage. All national languages have the rights of a minority language and may even serve as a lingua franca in certain regions. Among Namibia's national languages are German, Afrikaans, Oshiwambo, Otjiherero, Portuguese, as well as the languages of the Himba, Nama, San, Kavango and Damara.


Nepali is the official language of Nepal. Over 123 languages are spoken in Nepal. Some of the language spoken in Nepal are Nepal bhasa, Tamang, Sherpa, Rai, Magar, Gurung, Maithili, Purbeli, English, Limbu, Mongolian, etc.

New Zealand

While the population of New Zealand is predominantly English-speaking, the language of the indigenous Polynesian people is the Māori language. Both these languages have official status in the country, along with New Zealand Sign Language, which is one of the few sign languages in the world to have such status.


Besides official English (Nigerian Standard English), Nigeria recognizes three 'majority', or national, languages. These are Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba, each with some 20 million speakers or more.[29]


Article 251(1) of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan, titled National language, specifies: "The National language of Pakistan is Urdu, and arrangements shall be made for its being used for official and other purposes within fifteen years from the commencing day." Although Urdu has been declared an official language, so far all government documents, legislation, legal orders, and other official records are written in Pakistani English. Most higher education instruction is in English."[30] The National Language Authority is an organization established to make arrangements to promote Urdu since 1979.


The 1973 Philippine constitution hegemonically imposed Tagalog national language at the expense of all other ethnic nationalities in the country and mandated development and formal adoption of a common national language to be known as Filipino. English (Philippine English) was also designated as an official language, "until otherwise provided by law".[31]

The 1987 constitution designated the Filipino language, which is based on Tagalog with the inclusion of terms from all recognized languages of the Philippines, as the national language. It also designated both Filipino and English as the official languages for purposes of communication and instruction, and designated the regional languages as auxiliary official languages in the regions to serve as auxiliary media of instruction therein.

More than 170 languages are spoken in the Philippines and almost all of them belong to the Borneo–Philippines languages group of the Austronesian language family. In 2007, a six-part series titled The Case of Ilokano as a National Language authored by Dr. Aurelio Solver Agcaoili of the University of Hawaii appeared in the Culture, Essays, Lifestyle of Tawid News Magazine.[32] In September 2012, La Union became the first province in Philippine history to pass an ordinance proclaiming a local language and a vernacular, Ilokano, as an official language. This move aims to protect and revitalize the use of Ilokano in various government and civil affairs within the province.[33]

The Filipino Sign Language is designated as the "national sign language of the Filipino deaf" as well as the official sign language for transactions of the Philippine government.


Article 27 of the Constitution states: "Polish shall be the official language in the Republic of Poland".[34]


The official and national language of Romania is the Romanian language.


The Russian language is the only official language of Russia, but 27 other languages are considered official in different regions of Russia.


The Serbian language (a variety of Serbo-Croatian) is the national language of Serbia, written in the Cyrillic script. There are 15 minority languages.


Singapore has four official languages: English (Singapore English), Chinese, Malay and Tamil. Although English is the primary language of business, government, and education, Malay is designated as the national language. This is due to the geographical and historical ties to Malaysia as well as the recognition of ethnic Malays (about 14% of the population) as the indigenous people of Singapore.

Traditionally, the lingua franca among the different ethnic groups in Singapore was Bazaar Malay, a Malay-based creole. Since independence, the government has been promoting English as the main language of Singapore. The bilingual education policy requires students to study two languages: English and a "mother tongue" corresponding to the student's ethnicity. Malay is only offered to non-Malay students as an optional third language in secondary schools. As a result, English has displaced Bazaar Malay as the common language among Singaporeans. Therefore, despite the status of Malay as the national language, the majority doesn't speak it.


The Slovene language is the national language of Slovenia. There are 6 minority languages.

South Africa

South Africa has 11 official languages, namely Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tswana, Tsonga, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu. South African Sign Language and Dutch are distinct in South Africa though incompletely emerged national standard languages which also subsumes a cluster of semi-standardised dialects.

Arabic, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hebrew, Khoi, Nama, Portuguese, San, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Sign Language are all constitutionally recognised in South Africa.
The above mentioned languages can be considered as minority Lingua francas — none of these languages are of Official Language Status in the country.


Spain has one national constitutional language, Spanish, but there are four other languages that are co-official in some territories: Galician language in Galicia, Basque in Euskadi and part of Navarre, Catalan language in Cataluña, Balearic Islands and Valencia (as Valencian), and Aranese dialect in Val d'Aran.


Switzerland has four national languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh,[35] all of which have official status at the national level within the Federal administration of Switzerland.[36]

A majority (74%) of the population speaks German, while most of the remainder (21%) speak French, and minorities speak Italian (4%) and Romansh (1%, not monolingually). German speakers are predominant in most of the country, while French speakers occupy the western parts near the border with France, and the Italian speakers are situated to the south near the border with Italy, mostly within the Canton of Ticino. The Romansh speakers are concentrated in the Canton of Grisons in the south-east.[37]


During Japanese rule (1895 to 1945), the "national language movement" (國語運動 kokugo undō) promoted the Japanese language. After their defeat in the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the Kuomintang regime of the Republic of China retreated to the island of Taiwan, where they introduced Standard Chinese, which was spoken by few of the island population at the time, as the new "national language".

In 2017, the Indigenous languages[38] and Taiwanese Hakka[39] were recognized as national languages.


The official language of the Tunisian state is Arabic.[40] However, that language is not the mother tongue of the population or used to communicate between Tunisian people, instead Tunisian Arabic plays these roles and is the national language of Tunisia.[41] Also, even without an official status, French is also used extensively in its written and spoken form in the administration, education and business environment and known by 63.6% of the population.[42] Also Berber minorities in the south-west and on Djerba Island use the Tunisian Chelha language to communicate between themselves.


Turkish is the national language of Turkey per the Turkish constitution.

United Kingdom

The English language (British English) is the de facto official language of the United Kingdom and is the sole language of an estimated 95% of the British population. The three Home Nations outside England have national languages of their own with varying degrees of recognition, which coexist with the dominant English language. Britain also has several Crown dependencies and Overseas Territories which are to some extent self-governing, but which are not recognized as independent states. Many of these have their own regional languages.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, both the Gaelic Irish language and the West Germanic Ulster Scots dialects are recognized by the Good Friday Agreement as "part of the cultural wealth of the island of Ireland" and are promoted by the Foras na Gaeilge (Irish Institute) and Tha Boord o Ulstèr-Scotch (the Ulster-Scots Agency) respectively.


In Scotland, Scottish Gaelic is a minority language spoken by 57,375 people (1.1% of the Scottish population aged over three years old).[43] The Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 gives the language a limited official status, and the Bòrd na Gàidhlig is tasked with "securing the status of the Gaelic language as an official language of Scotland commanding equal respect to the English language".[44] Scots, generally treated as a West Germanic language related to but separate from English, has no official status but is recognized as a minority language, and is the language of much Scottish literature, including the poetry of Robert Burns.


The Welsh language has official status within Wales, and as of the 2011 census, is spoken by 562,000 people, or 19% of the population.[45] The Welsh Language Board (Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg) is legally tasked with ensuring that, "in the conduct of public business and the administration of justice, the English and Welsh languages should be treated on a basis of equality".[46]

Crown dependencies: Isle of Man

English is de facto the only official language. However a few words of Manx Gaelic (the historical national language) are sometimes encountered in Government institutions, largely for symbolic and ceremonial purposes, and it is the main medium of instruction in one primary school.


The national language of Uganda is English.


Ukrainian is the only official language of Ukraine, but Russian is also widely spoken all over the country especially in the regions to the east of Dnieper.

United States

In the United States, English (American English) is the national language only in an informal sense, by numbers and by historical and contemporary association. The United States Constitution does not explicitly declare any official language, although the constitution is written in English, as is all federal legislation.

On February 13, 2015, Representative Peter T. King introduced H.R.997, the English Language Unity Act of 2015, in the United States House of Representatives. This bill would establish English as the official language of the United States. A companion bill, S.678, was introduced by Senator Jim Inhofe in the United States Senate on March 9, 2015. Both bills were referred to committee. Similar legislation has been introduced every year since 1973.[47]


In Vietnam, the Vietnamese language had been the de facto national language for many years, but it was not until Decree No. 5 of the 2013 constitution that the Vietnamese language was officially described as the National Language.[48]

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Jacques Leclerc
  2. ^ Brann, C.M.B. 1994. "The National Language Question: Concepts and Terminology." Logos [University of Namibia, Windhoek] Vol 14: 125–134
  3. ^ Wolff, H. Ekkehard "African Languages: An Introduction Ch./Art: Language and Society p. 321 pub. Cambridge University Press 2000
  4. ^ 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language
  5. ^ Williams, Colin H. (1990), "The Anglicisation of Wales", in Coupland, Nikolas (ed.), English in Wales: Diversity, Conflict, and Change, Clevedon, Avon: Multilingual Matters, pp. 38–41
  6. ^ The Report: Algeria 2008. Oxford Business Group. 2008. p. 10. ISBN 978-1-902339-09-2.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Amendments XXVII-LIV to the Constitution of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina" (PDF). High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  9. ^ "Amendments LXXI-XCII to the Constitution of Republika Srpska" (PDF). High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  10. ^ Constitution of the Republic Bulgaria, article 3
  11. ^ General Information of the People's Republic of China (PRC): Languages,, retrieved 17 April 2008
  12. ^ Finland – Constitution, Section 17. International Constitutional Law website.
  13. ^ "FINLEX ® – Ajantasainen lainsäädäntö: 11.6.1999/731".
  14. ^ Decree on the Sami Parliament FINLEX. Access date: 3 July.
  15. ^ "Legifrance - Le service public de l'accés au droit". 4 June 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  16. ^ "BBC Education".
  17. ^ "Hindi, not a national language: Court". The Hindu. PTI. 25 January 2010. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 8 February 2019.CS1 maint: others (link)
  18. ^ "CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS | Department of Official Language | Ministry of Home Affairs | GoI". Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  19. ^ "There's no national language in India: Gujarat High Court". The Times of India. 25 January 2010. and English and Hindi are used for official purposes by the union government and in the parliament
  20. ^ "The Constitution of India" (PDF). National Portal. 26 November 1949.
  21. ^ "Persian". UCLA Language Materials Project. Archived from the original on 23 September 2017. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  22. ^ Article 8, Bunreacht na hÉireann.
  23. ^ Law 482, December 15, 1999.
  24. ^ Italian language.
  25. ^ Lingua nazionale: le ragioni del fiorentino.
  26. ^ Bruno Migliorini, (1960). Storia della lingua italiana. 1st ed. Italy: Sansoni.
  27. ^ Constitution of Kenya Accessed 2010-10-28.
  28. ^ "ICL - Lebanon - Constitution". 21 September 1990.
  29. ^ Article 55, Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria : 1999.
  30. ^ "PART XII (contd); Miscellaneous; Chapter 4. General", The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 14 August 1973, retrieved 22 April 2008
  31. ^ "1973 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines". Article XV, Section 3.
  32. ^ Aurelio Solver Agcaoili, The Case of Ilokano as a National Language; Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (May 2007), Tawid News Magasin
  33. ^ Elias, Jun (19 September 2012). "Iloko La Union's official language". Philippine Star. Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  34. ^ Constitution of the Republic of Poland, 2 April 1997, retrieved 16 July 2016
  35. ^ "The Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation, article 4". Retrieved 30 April 2009.
  36. ^ "Diversité des langues et compétences linguistiques en Suisse". Retrieved 30 April 2009.
  37. ^ Jud, Markus G. "Switzerland's Four National Languages". Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  38. ^ "Indigenous Languages Development Act". Laws & Regulations Database of The Republic of China. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  39. ^ "Hakka Basic Act". Laws & Regulations Database of The Republic of China. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  40. ^ "Tunisia Constitution, Article 1" (PDF). 26 January 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 February 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2014. Translation by the University of Bern: "Tunisia is a free State, independent and sovereign; its religion is the Islam, its language is Arabic, and its form is the Republic."
  41. ^ "Arabic, Tunisian Spoken". Ethnologue.
  42. ^ (in French) "Christian Valantin (sous la dir. de), La Francophonie dans le monde. 2006-2007, éd. Nathan, Paris, 2007, p. 16" (PDF). (5.58 MB)
  43. ^ 2011 Census of Scotland, Table QS211SC. Viewed 30 May 2014.
  44. ^ Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005, Office of Public Sector Information, archived from the original on 7 September 2010, retrieved 9 March 2007
  45. ^ "2011 Census: Key Statistics for Wales, March 2011". ONS. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  46. ^ Welsh Language Act 1993, Office of Public Sector Information, retrieved 3 September 2007
  47. ^ "All legislation matching 'H.R.997'". United States Congress. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  48. ^ "Toàn văn Hiến pháp sửa đổi". Tin nhanh VnExpress.
De facto

In law and government, de facto ( or ; Latin: de facto, "in fact"; Latin pronunciation: [deː ˈfaktoː]) describes practices that exist in reality, even if not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with de jure ("in law"), which refers to things that happen according to law. Unofficial customs that are widely accepted are sometimes called de facto standards.

Filipino language

Filipino (English: (listen); Wikang Filipino [wɪˈkɐŋ ˌfiːliˈpiːno]) is the national language (Wikang pambansa/Pambansang wika) of the Philippines. Filipino is also designated, along with English, as an official language of the country. It is a standardized variety of the Tagalog language, an Austronesian regional language that is widely spoken in the Philippines. As of 2007, Tagalog is the first language of 28 million people, or about one-third of the Philippine population, while 45 million speak Tagalog as their second language. Tagalog is among the 185 languages of the Philippines identified in the Ethnologue. Officially, Filipino is defined by the Commission on the Filipino Language (Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino in Filipino or simply KWF) as "the native dialect, spoken and written, in Metro Manila, the National Capital Region, and in other urban centers of the archipelago."Filipino is officially taken to be a pluricentric language, as it is further enriched and developed by the other existing Philippine languages according to the mandate of the 1987 Constitution. Indeed, there have been observed "emerging varieties of Filipino which deviate from the grammatical properties of Tagalog" in Cebu, Davao City, and Iloilo which together with Metro Manila form the four largest metropolitan areas in the Philippines.


Hindi (Devanagari: हिन्दी, IAST: Hindī), or Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: मानक हिन्दी, IAST: Mānak Hindī) is a standardised and Sanskritised register of the Hindustani language. Hindi, written in the Devanagari script, is one of the official languages of India, along with the English language. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of the Republic of India. However, it is not the national language of India because no language was given such a status in the Indian constitution.Hindi is the lingua franca of the Hindi belt, and to a lesser extent other parts of India (usually in a simplified or pidginized variety such as Bazaar Hindustani or Haflong Hindi). Outside India, several other languages are recognized officially as "Hindi" but do not refer to the Standard Hindi language described here and instead descend from other dialects of Hindustani, such as Awadhi and Bhojpuri. Such languages include Fiji Hindi, which is official in Fiji, and Caribbean Hindustani, which is a recognized language in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Suriname. Apart from specialized vocabulary, spoken Hindi is mutually intelligible with Urdu, another recognized register of Hindustani.

As a linguistic variety, Hindi is the fourth most-spoken first language in the world, after Mandarin, Spanish and English. Alongside Urdu as Hindustani, it is the third most-spoken language in the world, after Mandarin and English.


India (ISO: Bhārat), also known as the Republic of India (ISO: Bhārat Gaṇarājya), is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.

The Indian subcontinent was home to the urban Indus Valley Civilisation of the 3rd millennium BCE. In the following millennium, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism began to be composed. Social stratification, based on caste, emerged in the first millennium BCE, and Buddhism and Jainism arose. Early political consolidations took place under the Maurya and Gupta empires; later peninsular Middle Kingdoms influenced cultures as far as Southeast Asia. In the medieval era, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Islam arrived, and Sikhism emerged, all adding to the region's diverse culture. Much of the north fell to the Delhi Sultanate; the south was united under the Vijayanagara Empire. The economy expanded in the 17th century in the Mughal Empire. In the mid-18th century, the subcontinent came under British East India Company rule, and in the mid-19th under British Crown rule. A nationalist movement emerged in the late 19th century, which later, under Mahatma Gandhi, was noted for nonviolent resistance and led to India's independence in 1947.

In 2017, the Indian economy was the world's sixth largest by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity. Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies and is considered a newly industrialised country. However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, corruption, malnutrition, and inadequate public healthcare. A nuclear weapons state and regional power, it has the second largest standing army in the world and ranks fifth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal republic governed under a parliamentary system and consists of 29 states and 7 union territories. A pluralistic, multilingual and multi-ethnic society, it is also home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats.

Indonesian language

Indonesian (bahasa Indonesia [baˈhasa indoˈnesia]) is the official language of Indonesia. It is a standardized register of Malay, an Austronesian language that has been used as a lingua franca in the multilingual Indonesian archipelago for centuries. Indonesia is the fourth most populous nation in the world. Of its large population, the majority speak Indonesian, making it one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.Most Indonesians, aside from speaking the national language, are fluent in at least one of the more than 700 indigenous local languages; examples include Javanese, Sundanese and Balinese, which are commonly used at home and within the local community. However, most formal education, and nearly all national mass media, governance, administration, judiciary, and other forms of communication, are conducted in Indonesian.The Indonesian name for the language (bahasa Indonesia) is also occasionally found in English and other languages.

Internationalization and localization

In computing, internationalization and localization are means of adapting computer software to different languages, regional peculiarities and technical requirements of a target locale. Internationalization is the process of designing a software application so that it can be adapted to various languages and regions without engineering changes. Localization is the process of adapting internationalized software for a specific region or language by translating text and adding locale-specific components. Localization (which is potentially performed multiple times, for different locales) uses the infrastructure or flexibility provided by internationalization (which is ideally performed only once, or as an integral part of ongoing development).

Languages of Africa

The languages of Africa are divided into six major language families:

Afroasiatic languages are spread throughout Western Asia, North Africa, the Horn of Africa and parts of the Sahel.

Austronesian languages are spoken in Madagascar.

Indo-European languages are spoken in South Africa and Namibia (Afrikaans, English, German) and are used as lingua francas in the former colonies of Britain and Liberia (English), former colonies of France and of Belgium (French), former colonies of Portugal and remaining Afro-Portuguese islands (Portuguese), former colonies of Italy (Italian), former colonies of Spain (Spanish) and the current Spanish territories of Ceuta, Melilla and the Canary Islands (Spanish).

Niger–Congo languages (Bantu and non-Bantu) cover West, Central, Southeast and Southern Africa.

Nilo-Saharan languages (unity debated) are spoken from Tanzania to Sudan and from Chad to Mali.There are several other small families and language isolates, as well as languages that have yet to be classified. In addition, Africa has a wide variety of sign languages, many of which are language isolates (see below).

The total number of languages natively spoken in Africa is variously estimated (depending on the delineation of language vs. dialect) at between 1,250 and 2,100, and by some counts at "over 3,000".Nigeria alone has over 500 languages (according to the count of SIL Ethnologue), one of the greatest concentrations of linguistic diversity in the world. However, "One of the notable differences between Africa and most other linguistic areas is its relative uniformity. With few exceptions, all of Africa’s languages have been gathered into four major phyla."Around a hundred languages are widely used for inter-ethnic communication. Arabic, Somali, Berber, Amharic, Oromo, Igbo, Swahili, Hausa, Manding, Fulani and Yoruba are spoken by tens of millions of people. Twelve dialect clusters (which may group up to a hundred linguistic varieties) are spoken by 75 percent, and fifteen by 85 percent, of Africans as a first or additional language. Although many mid-sized languages are used on the radio, in newspapers and in primary-school education, and some of the larger ones are considered national languages, only a few are official at the national level. The African Union declared 2006 the "Year of African Languages".

Languages of India

Languages spoken in India belong to several language families, the major ones being the Indo-Aryan languages spoken by 78.05% of Indians and the Dravidian languages spoken by 19.64% of Indians. Languages spoken by the remaining 2.31% of the population belong to the Austroasiatic, Sino-Tibetan, Tai-Kadai and a few other minor language families and isolates. India (780) has the world's second highest number of languages, after Papua New Guinea (839).Article 343 of the Indian constitution stated that the official language of the Union should become Hindi in Devanagari script instead of the extant English. But this was thought to be a violation of the constitution's guarantee of federalism. Later, a constitutional amendment, The Official Languages Act, 1963, allowed for the continuation of English in the Indian government indefinitely until legislation decides to change it. The form of numerals to be used for the official purposes of the Union were supposed to be the international form of Indian numerals, distinct from the numerals used in most English-speaking countries. Despite the misconceptions, Hindi is not the national language of India. The Constitution of India does not give any language the status of national language.The Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution lists 22 languages, which have been referred to as scheduled languages and given recognition, status and official encouragement. In addition, the Government of India has awarded the distinction of classical language to Kannada, Malayalam, Odia, Sanskrit, Tamil and Telugu. Classical language status is given to languages which have a rich heritage and independent nature.

According to the Census of India of 2001, India has 122 major languages and 1599 other languages. However, figures from other sources vary, primarily due to differences in definition of the terms "language" and "dialect". The 2001 Census recorded 30 languages which were spoken by more than a million native speakers and 122 which were spoken by more than 10,000 people. Two contact languages have played an important role in the history of India: Persian and English. Persian was the court language during the Mughal period in India. It reigned as an administrative language for several centuries until the era of British colonisation. English continues to be an important language in India. It is used in higher education and in some areas of the Indian government. Hindi, the most commonly spoken language in India today, serves as the lingua franca across much of North and Central India. However, there have been anti-Hindi agitations in South India, most notably in the state of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Maharashtra, West Bengal, Assam, Punjab and other non-Hindi regions have also started to voice concerns about Hindi.

Languages of Pakistan

Pakistan is home to many dozens of languages spoken as first languages. Five languages have more than 10 million speakers each in Pakistan – Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Saraiki and Urdu. Almost all of Pakistan's languages belong to the Indo-Iranian group of the Indo-European language family.

Pakistan's national language is Urdu, which, along with English, is also the official language.

The country also has several regional languages, including Punjabi, Saraiki, Pashto, Sindhi, Balochi, Kashmiri, Hindko, Brahui, Shina, Balti, Khowar,

Dhatki, Haryanvi, Marwari, Wakhi and Burushaski. Four of these are provincial languages – Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, and Balochi.

The number of individual languages listed for Pakistan is 74. All are living languages. Of these, 66 are indigenous and 8 are non-indigenous. Furthermore, 7 are 'institutional', 17 are 'developing', 39 are 'vigorous', 9 are 'in trouble', and 2 are 'dying'.

Languages of Switzerland

The four national languages of Switzerland are German, French, Italian and Romansh. All but Romansh maintain equal status as official languages at the national level within the Federal Administration of the Swiss Confederation. In some situations, Latin is used, particularly as a single language to denote the country.

In 2017, the population of Switzerland was 62.6% native speakers of German (58.5% speak Swiss German and/or 11.1% Standard German at home); 22.9% French (mostly Swiss French, but including some Arpitan dialects); 8.2% Italian (mostly Swiss Italian, but including Lombard dialects); and 0.5% Romansh. The German region (Deutschschweiz) is roughly in the east, north and center; the French part (la Romandie) in the west and the Italian area (Svizzera italiana) in the south. There remains a small Romansh-speaking native population in Graubünden in the east. The cantons of Fribourg, Bern and Valais are officially bilingual; the canton of Graubünden is officially trilingual.

Languages with official status in India

There is no national language in India. The Constitution of India designates 22 official languages for the Government of India and as Hindi written in the Devanagari script, as well as English as the official languages of the Union. Hindi or English is used in official purposes such as parliamentary proceedings, judiciary, communications between the Central Government and a State Government. States within India have the liberty and powers to specify their own official language(s) through legislation and therefore there are 22 officially recognized languages in India of which Hindi is the most used. The number of native Hindi speakers is about 25% of the total Indian population; however, including dialects of Hindi termed as Hindi languages, the total is around 44% of Indians, mostly accounted from the states falling under the Hindi belt. Other Indian languages are each spoken by around 10% or less of the population.States specify their own official language(s) through legislation. The section of the Constitution of India dealing with official languages therefore includes detailed provisions which deal not just with the languages used for the official purposes of the union, but also with the languages that are to be used for the official purposes of each state and union territory in the country, and the languages that are to be used for communication between the union and the states.

During the British Rule, English was used for purposes at the federal level. The Indian constitution adopted in 1950 envisaged that Hindi would be gradually phased in to replace English over a fifteen-year period, but gave Parliament the power to, by law, provide for the continued use of English even thereafter. Plans to make Hindi the sole official language of the Republic met with resistance in some parts of the country. Hindi continues to be used today, in combination with other (at the central level and in some states) official languages.

The legal framework governing the use of languages for official purpose currently includes the Constitution, the Official Languages Act, 1963, Official Languages (Use for Official Purpose of the Union) Rules, 1976, and various state laws, as well as rules and regulations made by the central government and the states.

List of Bhutanese films

This is a list of films produced in the country of Bhutan. The films are all produced in Dzongkha language, the national language of Bhutan. The film of Bhutan is called Drukwood.


Luxembourg ( (listen); Luxembourgish: Lëtzebuerg [ˈlətsəbuə̯ɕ] (listen); French: Luxembourg; German: Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, is a small landlocked country in western Europe. It is bordered by Belgium to the west and north, Germany to the east, and France to the south. Its capital, Luxembourg City, is one of the three official capitals of the European Union (together with Brussels and Strasbourg) and the seat of the European Court of Justice, the highest judicial authority in the EU. Its culture, people, and languages are highly intertwined with its neighbours, making it essentially a mixture of French and German cultures, as evident by the nation's three official languages: French, German, and the national language, Luxembourgish (sometimes considered a dialect of German). The repeated invasions by Germany, especially in World War II, resulted in the country's strong will for mediation between France and Germany and, among other things, led to the foundation of the European Union.With an area of 2,586 square kilometres (998 sq mi), it is one of the smallest sovereign states in Europe. In 2018, Luxembourg had a population of 602,005, which makes it one of the least-populous countries in Europe, but by far the one with the highest population growth rate. Foreigners account for nearly half of Luxembourg's population. As a representative democracy with a constitutional monarch, it is headed by Grand Duke Henri and is the world's only remaining grand duchy. Luxembourg is a developed country, with an advanced economy and one of the world's highest GDP (PPP) per capita. The City of Luxembourg with its old quarters and fortifications was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 due to the exceptional preservation of the vast fortifications and the old city.The history of Luxembourg is considered to begin in 963, when count Siegfried I acquired a rocky promontory and its Roman-era fortifications known as Lucilinburhuc, ′little castle′, and the surrounding area from the Imperial Abbey of St. Maximin in nearby Trier.

Siegfried's descendants increased their territory through marriage, war and vassal relations. At the end of the 13th century, the Counts of Luxembourg reigned over a considerable territory.

In 1308, Henry VII, Count of Luxembourg became King of the Germans and Holy Roman Emperor. The House of Luxembourg produced four Holy Roman Emperors during the high Middle Ages. In 1354, Charles IV elevated the County to the Duchy of Luxembourg. Since Sigismund had no male heir, the Duchy became part of the Burgundian Circle and then one of the Seventeen Provinces of the Habsburg Netherlands.

Over the centuries, the City and Fortress of Luxembourg, of great strategic importance situated between the Kingdom of France and the Habsburg territories, was gradually built up to be one of the most reputed fortifications in Europe. After belonging to both the France of Louis XIV and the Austria of Maria Theresia, Luxembourg became part of the First French Republic and Empire under Napoleon.The present-day state of Luxembourg first emerged at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. The Grand-Duchy, with its powerful fortress, became an independent state under the personal possession of William I of the Netherlands with a Prussian garrison to guard the city against another invasion from France. In 1839, following the turmoil of the Belgian Revolution, the purely French-speaking part of Luxembourg was ceded to Belgium and the Luxembourgish-speaking part (except the Arelerland, the area around Arlon) became what is the present state of Luxembourg.Luxembourg is a founding member of the European Union, OECD, United Nations, NATO, and Benelux. The city of Luxembourg, which is the country's capital and largest city, is the seat of several institutions and agencies of the EU. Luxembourg served on the United Nations Security Council for the years 2013 and 2014, which was a first in the country's history. As of 2018, Luxembourgish citizens had visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 186 countries and territories, ranking the Luxembourgish passport 5th in the world, tied with Austria, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States.


Malaysia ( (listen) mə-LAY-zee-ə, -⁠zhə; Malay: [məlejsiə]) is a country in Southeast Asia. The federal constitutional monarchy consists of 13 states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Sea into two similarly sized regions, Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia (Malaysian Borneo). Peninsular Malaysia shares a land and maritime border with Thailand and maritime borders with Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia. East Malaysia shares land and maritime borders with Brunei and Indonesia and a maritime border with the Philippines and Vietnam. Kuala Lumpur is the national capital and largest city while Putrajaya is the seat of federal government. With a population of over 30 million, Malaysia is the world's 44th most populous country. The southernmost point of continental Eurasia, Tanjung Piai, is in Malaysia. In the tropics, Malaysia is one of 17 megadiverse countries, with large numbers of endemic species.

Malaysia has its origins in the Malay kingdoms which, from the 18th century, became subject to the British Empire, along with the British Straits Settlements protectorate. Peninsular Malaysia was unified as the Malayan Union in 1946. Malaya was restructured as the Federation of Malaya in 1948, and achieved independence on 31 August 1957. Malaya united with North Borneo, Sarawak, and Singapore on 16 September 1963 to become Malaysia. In 1965, Singapore was expelled from the federation.The country is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural, which plays a large role in its politics. About half the population is ethnically Malay, with large minorities of Malaysian Chinese, Malaysian Indians, and indigenous peoples. While recognising Islam as the country's established religion, the constitution grants freedom of religion to non-Muslims. The government system is closely modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system and the legal system is based on common law. The head of state is the king, known as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. He is an elected monarch chosen from the hereditary rulers of the nine Malay states every five years. The head of government is the Prime Minister. The country's official language is Malaysian, a standard form of the Malay language. English remains an active second language.

Since independence, Malaysian GDP has grown at an average of 6.5% per annum for almost 50 years. The economy has traditionally been fuelled by its natural resources, but is expanding in the sectors of science, tourism, commerce and medical tourism. Today, Malaysia has a newly industrialised market economy, ranked fourth largest in Southeast Asia and 38th largest in the world. It is a founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the East Asia Summit and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and a member of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the Non-Aligned Movement.

Official language

An official language is a language given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically a country's official language refers to the language used in government (judiciary, legislature, administration). The term "official language" does not typically refer to the language used by a people or country, but by its government, as "the means of expression of a people cannot be changed by any law",About half the countries of the world have declared one or more official languages. The government of Italy officialised Italian only in 1999, and some nations (such as the United States) have never declared official languages at the national level. Other nations have declared non-indigenous official languages. "The Philippines and parts of Africa live with a peculiar cultural paradox. Although the official languages [in Africa] may be French or English, these are not the languages most widely spoken by [the country's] residents."Worldwide, 178 countries have at least one official language, and 101 of these countries recognise more than one language. Many of the world's constitutions mention one or more official or national languages. Some countries use the official language designation to empower indigenous groups by giving them access to the government in their native languages. In countries that do not formally designate an official language, a de facto national language usually evolves. English is the most common official language, with recognized status in 51 countries. Arabic, French, and Spanish are also widely recognized.

An official language that is also an indigenous language is called endoglossic, one that is not indigenous is exoglossic. An instance is Nigeria which has three endoglossic official languages. By this the country aims to protect the indigenous languages although at the same time recognising the English language as its lingua franca.

Revised Romanization of Korean

The Revised Romanization of Korean (국어의 로마자 표기법; 國語의 로마字 表記法; gugeoui romaja pyogibeop. op; lit. "Roman-letter notation of the national language") is the official Korean language romanization system in South Korea proclaimed by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to replace the older McCune–Reischauer system. The new system eliminates diacritics and apostrophes in favor of digraphs.

The Revised Romanization limits itself to the ISO basic Latin alphabet, apart from limited, often optional use of the hyphen. It was developed by the National Academy of the Korean Language from 1995 and was released to the public on 7 July 2000 by South Korea's Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Proclamation No. 2000-8, which cites these reasons for the new system:

It reduces the confusion caused by the frequent omission of apostrophes and diacritics that plagued the McCune–Reischauer system.

It is compatible with the plain ASCII text of internet domain names.Like McCune–Reischauer, it transcribes some sounds as English-speakers are apt to hear them, rather than following Korean phonology. Unlike McCune–Reischauer, vowels are not written consistently.

Standard Chinese

Standard Chinese, also known as Modern Standard Mandarin, Standard Mandarin, Modern Standard Mandarin Chinese (MSMC), or simply Mandarin, is a standard variety of Chinese that is the sole official language of China, the de facto official language of Taiwan and also one of the four official languages of Singapore. Its pronunciation is based on the Beijing dialect, its vocabulary on the Mandarin dialects, and its grammar is based on written vernacular Chinese.

Like other varieties of Chinese, Standard Chinese is a tonal language with topic-prominent organization and subject–verb–object word order. It has more initial consonants but fewer vowels, final consonants and tones than southern varieties. Standard Chinese is an analytic language, though with many compound words.

There are two standardised forms of the language, namely Putonghua in Mainland China and Guoyu in Taiwan. Aside from a number of differences in pronunciation and vocabulary, Putonghua is written using simplified Chinese characters (plus Hanyu Pinyin romanization for teaching), and Guoyu is written using traditional Chinese characters (plus Zhuyin for teaching). Many characters are identical between the two systems.

Tagalog language

Tagalog (; Tagalog pronunciation: [tɐˈɡaːloɡ]) is an Austronesian language spoken as a first language by a quarter of the population of the Philippines and as a second language by the majority. Its standardized form, officially named Filipino, is the national language of the Philippines, and is one of two official languages alongside English.

It is related to other Philippine languages, such as the Bikol languages, Ilocano, the Visayan languages, Kapampangan, and Pangasinan, and more distantly to other Austronesian languages, such as the Formosan languages of Taiwan, Malay (Malaysian and Indonesian), Hawaiian, Māori, and Malagasy. Tagalog is the predominant language used in the tanaga, a type of Filipino poem and the indigenous poetic art of the Tagalog people.


Urdu (; Urdu: اُردُو‎ ALA-LC: Urdū [ˈʊrduː] (listen)) (also known as Lashkari, locally written لشکری)—or, more precisely, Modern Standard Urdu—is a Persianised standard register of the Hindustani language. It is the official national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. In India, it is one of the 22 official languages recognized in the Constitution of India, having official status in the six states of Jammu and Kashmir, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, as well as the national capital territory of Delhi. It is a registered regional language of Nepal.

Apart from specialized vocabulary, spoken Urdu is mutually intelligible with Standard Hindi, another recognized register of Hindustani. The Urdu variant of Hindustani received recognition and patronage under British rule when the British replaced the local official languages with English and Hindustani written in Nastaʿlīq script, as the official language in North and Northwestern India. Religious, social, and political factors pushed for a distinction between Urdu and Hindi in India, leading to the Hindi–Urdu controversy.According to Nationalencyklopedin's 2010 estimates, Urdu is the 21st most spoken first language in the world, with approximately 66 million speakers. According to Ethnologue's 2017 estimates, Urdu, along with standard Hindi and the languages of the Hindi belt (as Hindustani), is the 3rd most spoken language in the world, with approximately 329.1 million native speakers, and 697.4 million total speakers.

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