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  Field Listing - Languages

Languages (%)
Afghanistan Pashtu 35%, Afghan Persian (Dari) 50%, Turkic languages (primarily Uzbek and Turkmen) 11%, 30 minor languages (primarily Balochi and Pashai) 4%, much bilingualism
Albania Albanian (Tosk is the official dialect), Greek
Algeria Arabic (official), French, Berber dialects
American Samoa Samoan (closely related to Hawaiian and other Polynesian languages), English
note: most people are bilingual
Andorra Catalan (official), French, Castilian, Portuguese
Angola Portuguese (official), Bantu and other African languages
Anguilla English (official)
Antigua and Barbuda English (official), local dialects
Argentina Spanish (official), English, Italian, German, French
Armenia Armenian 96%, Russian 2%, other 2%
Aruba Dutch (official), Papiamento (a Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, English dialect), English (widely spoken), Spanish
Australia English, native languages
Austria German
Azerbaijan Azerbaijani (Azeri) 89%, Russian 3%, Armenian 2%, other 6% (1995 est.)
Bahamas, The English, Creole (among Haitian immigrants)
Bahrain Arabic, English, Farsi, Urdu
Bangladesh Bangla (official, also known as Bengali), English
Barbados English
Belarus Belarusian, Russian, other
Belgium Dutch (official) 60%, French (official) 40%, German (official) less than 1%, legally bilingual (Dutch and French)
Belize English (official), Spanish, Mayan, Garifuna (Carib), Creole
Benin French (official), Fon and Yoruba (most common vernaculars in south), tribal languages (at least six major ones in north)
Bermuda English (official), Portuguese
Bhutan Dzongkha (official), Bhotes speak various Tibetan dialects, Nepalese speak various Nepalese dialects
Bolivia Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara (official)
Bosnia and Herzegovina Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian
Botswana English (official), Setswana
Brazil Portuguese (official), Spanish, English, French
British Virgin Islands English (official)
Brunei Malay (official), English, Chinese
Bulgaria Bulgarian, secondary languages closely correspond to ethnic breakdown
Burkina Faso French (official), native African languages belonging to Sudanic family spoken by 90% of the population
Burma Burmese, minority ethnic groups have their own languages
Burundi Kirundi (official), French (official), Swahili (along Lake Tanganyika and in the Bujumbura area)
Cambodia Khmer (official) 95%, French, English
Cameroon 24 major African language groups, English (official), French (official)
Canada English 59.3% (official), French 23.2% (official), other 17.5%
Cape Verde Portuguese, Crioulo (a blend of Portuguese and West African words)
Cayman Islands English
Central African Republic French (official), Sangho (lingua franca and national language), tribal languages
Chad French (official), Arabic (official), Sara (in south), more than 120 different languages and dialects
Chile Spanish
China Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghaiese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages (see Ethnic groups entry)
Christmas Island English (official), Chinese, Malay
Cocos (Keeling) Islands Malay (Cocos dialect), English
Colombia Spanish
Comoros Arabic (official), French (official), Shikomoro (a blend of Swahili and Arabic)
Congo, Democratic Republic of the French (official), Lingala (a lingua franca trade language), Kingwana (a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili), Kikongo, Tshiluba
Congo, Republic of the French (official), Lingala and Monokutuba (lingua franca trade languages), many local languages and dialects (of which Kikongo has the most users)
Cook Islands English (official), Maori
Costa Rica Spanish (official), English spoken around Puerto Limon
Cote d'Ivoire French (official), 60 native dialects with Dioula the most widely spoken
Croatia Croatian 96%, other 4% (including Italian, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, and German)
Cuba Spanish
Cyprus Greek, Turkish, English
Czech Republic Czech
Denmark Danish, Faroese, Greenlandic (an Inuit dialect), German (small minority)
note: English is the predominant second language
Djibouti French (official), Arabic (official), Somali, Afar
Dominica English (official), French patois
Dominican Republic Spanish
East Timor Tetum (official), Portuguese (official), Indonesian, English
note: there are a total of about 16 indigenous languages, of which Tetum, Galole, Mambae, and Kemak are spoken by significant numbers of people
Ecuador Spanish (official), Amerindian languages (especially Quechua)
Egypt Arabic (official), English and French widely understood by educated classes
El Salvador Spanish, Nahua (among some Amerindians)
Equatorial Guinea Spanish (official), French (official), pidgin English, Fang, Bubi, Ibo
Eritrea Afar, Amharic, Arabic, Tigre and Kunama, Tigrinya, other Cushitic languages
Estonia Estonian (official), Russian, Ukrainian, Finnish, other
Ethiopia Amharic, Tigrinya, Oromigna, Guaragigna, Somali, Arabic, other local languages, English (major foreign language taught in schools)
Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) English
Faroe Islands Faroese (derived from Old Norse), Danish
Fiji English (official), Fijian, Hindustani
Finland Finnish 93.4% (official), Swedish 5.9% (official), small Lapp- and Russian-speaking minorities
France French 100%, rapidly declining regional dialects and languages (Provencal, Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish)
French Guiana French
French Polynesia French (official), Tahitian (official)
Gabon French (official), Fang, Myene, Nzebi, Bapounou/Eschira, Bandjabi
Gambia, The English (official), Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, other indigenous vernaculars
Gaza Strip Arabic, Hebrew (spoken by Israeli settlers and many Palestinians), English (widely understood)
Georgia Georgian 71% (official), Russian 9%, Armenian 7%, Azeri 6%, other 7%
note: Abkhaz is the official language in Abkhazia
Germany German
Ghana English (official), African languages (including Akan, Moshi-Dagomba, Ewe, and Ga)
Gibraltar English (used in schools and for official purposes), Spanish, Italian, Portuguese
Greece Greek 99% (official), English, French
Greenland Greenlandic (East Inuit), Danish, English
Grenada English (official), French patois
Guadeloupe French (official) 99%, Creole patois
Guam English, Chamorro, Japanese
Guatemala Spanish 60%, Amerindian languages 40% (23 officially recognized Amerindian languages, including Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi, Mam, Garifuna, and Xinca)
Guernsey English, French, Norman-French dialect spoken in country districts
Guinea French (official), each ethnic group has its own language
Guinea-Bissau Portuguese (official), Crioulo, African languages
Guyana English, Amerindian dialects, Creole, Hindi, Urdu
Haiti French (official), Creole (official)
Holy See (Vatican City) Italian, Latin, French, various other languages
Honduras Spanish, Amerindian dialects
Hong Kong Chinese (Cantonese), English; both are official
Hungary Hungarian 98.2%, other 1.8%
Iceland Icelandic, English, Nordic languages, German widely spoken
India English enjoys associate status but is the most important language for national, political, and commercial communication; Hindi is the national language and primary tongue of 30% of the people; there are 14 other official languages: Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi, and Sanskrit; Hindustani is a popular variant of Hindi/Urdu spoken widely throughout northern India but is not an official language
Indonesia Bahasa Indonesia (official, modified form of Malay), English, Dutch, local dialects, the most widely spoken of which is Javanese
Iran Persian and Persian dialects 58%, Turkic and Turkic dialects 26%, Kurdish 9%, Luri 2%, Balochi 1%, Arabic 1%, Turkish 1%, other 2%
Iraq Arabic, Kurdish (official in Kurdish regions), Assyrian, Armenian
Ireland English is the language generally used, Irish (Gaelic) spoken mainly in areas located along the western seaboard
Israel Hebrew (official), Arabic used officially for Arab minority, English most commonly used foreign language
Italy Italian (official), German (parts of Trentino-Alto Adige region are predominantly German speaking), French (small French-speaking minority in Valle d'Aosta region), Slovene (Slovene-speaking minority in the Trieste-Gorizia area)
Jamaica English, patois English
Japan Japanese
Jersey English (official), French (official), Norman-French dialect spoken in country districts
Jordan Arabic (official), English widely understood among upper and middle classes
Kazakhstan Kazakh (Qazaq, state language) 64.4%, Russian (official, used in everyday business, designated the "language of interethnic communication") 95% (2001 est.)
Kenya English (official), Kiswahili (official), numerous indigenous languages
Kiribati I-Kiribati, English (official)
Korea, North Korean
Korea, South Korean, English widely taught in junior high and high school
Kuwait Arabic (official), English widely spoken
Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyz - official language, Russian - official language
note: in December 2001, the Kyrgyzstani legislature made Russian an official language, equal in status to Kyrgyz
Laos Lao (official), French, English, and various ethnic languages
Latvia Latvian (official), Lithuanian, Russian, other
Lebanon Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian
Lesotho Sesotho (southern Sotho), English (official), Zulu, Xhosa
Liberia English 20% (official), some 20 ethnic group languages, of which a few can be written and are used in correspondence
Libya Arabic, Italian, English, all are widely understood in the major cities
Liechtenstein German (official), Alemannic dialect
Lithuania Lithuanian (official), Polish, Russian
Luxembourg Luxembourgish (national language), German (administrative language), French (administrative language)
Macau Portuguese, Chinese (Cantonese)
Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonian 70%, Albanian 21%, Turkish 3%, Serbo-Croatian 3%, other 3%
Madagascar French (official), Malagasy (official)
Malawi English (official), Chichewa (official), other languages important regionally
Malaysia Bahasa Melayu (official), English, Chinese dialects (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow), Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai; note - in addition, in East Malaysia several indigenous languages are spoken, the largest of which are Iban and Kadazan
Maldives Maldivian Dhivehi (dialect of Sinhala, script derived from Arabic), English spoken by most government officials
Mali French (official), Bambara 80%, numerous African languages
Malta Maltese (official), English (official)
Man, Isle of English, Manx Gaelic
Marshall Islands English (widely spoken as a second language, both English and Marshallese are official languages), two major Marshallese dialects from the Malayo-Polynesian family, Japanese
Martinique French, Creole patois
Mauritania Hassaniya Arabic (official), Pulaar, Soninke, Wolof (official), French
Mauritius English (official), Creole, French (official), Hindi, Urdu, Hakka, Bhojpuri
Mayotte Mahorian (a Swahili dialect), French (official language) spoken by 35% of the population
Mexico Spanish, various Mayan, Nahuatl, and other regional indigenous languages
Micronesia, Federated States of English (official and common language), Trukese, Pohnpeian, Yapese, Kosrean, Ulithian, Woleaian, Nukuoro, Kapingamarangi
Moldova Moldovan (official, virtually the same as the Romanian language), Russian (official), Gagauz (a Turkish dialect)
Monaco French (official), English, Italian, Monegasque
Mongolia Khalkha Mongol 90%, Turkic, Russian (1999)
Montserrat English
Morocco Arabic (official), Berber dialects, French often the language of business, government, and diplomacy
Mozambique Portuguese (official), indigenous dialects
Namibia English 7% (official), Afrikaans common language of most of the population and about 60% of the white population, German 32%, indigenous languages: Oshivambo, Herero, Nama
Nauru Nauruan (official, a distinct Pacific Island language), English widely understood, spoken, and used for most government and commercial purposes
Nepal Nepali (official; spoken by 90% of the population), about a dozen other languages and about 30 major dialects; note - many in government and business also speak English (1995)
Netherlands Dutch
Netherlands Antilles Dutch (official), Papiamento (a Spanish-Portuguese-Dutch-English dialect) predominates, English widely spoken, Spanish
New Caledonia French (official), 33 Melanesian-Polynesian dialects
New Zealand English (official), Maori (official)
Nicaragua Spanish (official)
note: English and indigenous languages on Atlantic coast
Niger French (official), Hausa, Djerma
Nigeria English (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo), Fulani
Niue Niuean, a Polynesian language closely related to Tongan and Samoan; English
Norfolk Island English (official), Norfolk a mixture of 18th century English and ancient Tahitian
Northern Mariana Islands English, Chamorro, Carolinian
note: 86% of population speaks a language other than English at home
Norway Norwegian (official)
note: small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities
Oman Arabic (official), English, Baluchi, Urdu, Indian dialects
Pakistan Punjabi 48%, Sindhi 12%, Siraiki (a Punjabi variant) 10%, Pashtu 8%, Urdu (official) 8%, Balochi 3%, Hindko 2%, Brahui 1%, English (official and lingua franca of Pakistani elite and most government ministries), Burushaski, and other 8%
Palau English and Palauan official in all states except Sonsoral (Sonsorolese and English are official), Tobi (Tobi and English are official), and Angaur (Angaur, Japanese, and English are official)
Panama Spanish (official), English 14%
note: many Panamanians bilingual
Papua New Guinea English spoken by 1%-2%, pidgin English widespread, Motu spoken in Papua region
note: 715 indigenous languages
Paraguay Spanish (official), Guarani (official)
Peru Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara
Philippines two official languages - Filipino (based on Tagalog) and English; eight major dialects - Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocan, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinense
Pitcairn Islands English (official), Pitcairnese (mixture of an 18th century English dialect and a Tahitian dialect)
Poland Polish
Portugal Portuguese
Puerto Rico Spanish, English
Qatar Arabic (official), English commonly used as a second language
Reunion French (official), Creole widely used
Romania Romanian, Hungarian, German
Russia Russian, other
Rwanda Kinyarwanda (official) universal Bantu vernacular, French (official), English (official), Kiswahili (Swahili) used in commercial centers
Saint Helena English
Saint Kitts and Nevis English
Saint Lucia English (official), French patois
Saint Pierre and Miquelon French (official)
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines English, French patois
Samoa Samoan (Polynesian), English
San Marino Italian
Sao Tome and Principe Portuguese (official)
Saudi Arabia Arabic
Senegal French (official), Wolof, Pulaar, Jola, Mandinka
Serbia and Montenegro Serbian 95%, Albanian 5%
Seychelles English (official), French (official), Creole
Sierra Leone English (official, regular use limited to literate minority), Mende (principal vernacular in the south), Temne (principal vernacular in the north), Krio (English-based Creole, spoken by the descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area, a lingua franca and a first language for 10% of the population but understood by 95%)
Singapore Chinese (official), Malay (official and national), Tamil (official), English (official)
Slovakia Slovak (official), Hungarian
Slovenia Slovenian 91%, Serbo-Croatian 6%, other 3%
Solomon Islands Melanesian pidgin in much of the country is lingua franca; English is official but spoken by only 1%-2% of the population
note: 120 indigenous languages
Somalia Somali (official), Arabic, Italian, English
South Africa 11 official languages, including Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu
Spain Castilian Spanish (official) 74%, Catalan 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2%
Sri Lanka Sinhala (official and national language) 74%, Tamil (national language) 18%, other 8%
note: English is commonly used in government and is spoken competently by about 10% of the population
Sudan Arabic (official), Nubian, Ta Bedawie, diverse dialects of Nilotic, Nilo-Hamitic, Sudanic languages, English
note: program of "Arabization" in process
Suriname Dutch (official), English (widely spoken), Sranang Tongo (Surinamese, sometimes called Taki-Taki, is native language of Creoles and much of the younger population and is lingua franca among others), Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), Javanese
Svalbard Russian, Norwegian
Swaziland English (official, government business conducted in English), siSwati (official)
Sweden Swedish
note: small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities
Switzerland German (official) 63.7%, French (official) 19.2%, Italian (official) 7.6%, Romansch 0.6%, other 8.9%
Syria Arabic (official); Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian widely understood; French, English somewhat understood
Taiwan Mandarin Chinese (official), Taiwanese (Min), Hakka dialects
Tajikistan Tajik (official), Russian widely used in government and business
Tanzania Kiswahili or Swahili (official), Kiunguju (name for Swahili in Zanzibar), English (official, primary language of commerce, administration, and higher education), Arabic (widely spoken in Zanzibar), many local languages
note: Kiswahili (Swahili) is the mother tongue of the Bantu people living in Zanzibar and nearby coastal Tanzania; although Kiswahili is Bantu in structure and origin, its vocabulary draws on a variety of sources, including Arabic and English, and it has become the lingua franca of central and eastern Africa; the first language of most people is one of the local languages
Thailand Thai, English (secondary language of the elite), ethnic and regional dialects
Togo French (official and the language of commerce), Ewe and Mina (the two major African languages in the south), Kabye (sometimes spelled Kabiye) and Dagomba (the two major African languages in the north)
Tokelau Tokelauan (a Polynesian language), English
Tonga Tongan, English
Trinidad and Tobago English (official), Hindi, French, Spanish, Chinese
Tunisia Arabic (official and one of the languages of commerce), French (commerce)
Turkey Turkish (official), Kurdish, Arabic, Armenian, Greek
Turkmenistan Turkmen 72%, Russian 12%, Uzbek 9%, other 7%
Turks and Caicos Islands English (official)
Tuvalu Tuvaluan, English, Samoan, Kiribati (on the island of Nui)
Uganda English (official national language, taught in grade schools, used in courts of law and by most newspapers and some radio broadcasts), Ganda or Luganda (most widely used of the Niger-Congo languages, preferred for native language publications in the capital and may be taught in school), other Niger-Congo languages, Nilo-Saharan languages, Swahili, Arabic
Ukraine Ukrainian, Russian, Romanian, Polish, Hungarian
United Arab Emirates Arabic (official), Persian, English, Hindi, Urdu
United Kingdom English, Welsh (about 26% of the population of Wales), Scottish form of Gaelic (about 60,000 in Scotland)
United States English, Spanish (spoken by a sizable minority)
Uruguay Spanish, Portunol, or Brazilero (Portuguese-Spanish mix on the Brazilian frontier)
Uzbekistan Uzbek 74.3%, Russian 14.2%, Tajik 4.4%, other 7.1%
Vanuatu three official languages: English, French, pidgin (known as Bislama or Bichelama), plus more than 100 local languages
Venezuela Spanish (official), numerous indigenous dialects
Vietnam Vietnamese (official), English (increasingly favored as a second language), some French, Chinese, and Khmer; mountain area languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)
Virgin Islands English (official), Spanish, Creole
Wallis and Futuna French, Wallisian (indigenous Polynesian language)
West Bank Arabic, Hebrew (spoken by Israeli settlers and many Palestinians), English (widely understood)
Western Sahara Hassaniya Arabic, Moroccan Arabic
World Chinese, Mandarin 14.37%, Hindi 6.02%, English 5.61%, Spanish 5.59%, Bengali 3.4%, Portuguese 2.63%, Russian 2.75%, Japanese 2.06%, German, Standard 1.64%, Korean 1.28%, French 1.27% (2000 est.)
note: percents are for "first language" speakers only
Yemen Arabic
Zambia English (official), major vernaculars - Bemba, Kaonda, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, Nyanja, Tonga, and about 70 other indigenous languages
Zimbabwe English (official), Shona, Sindebele (the language of the Ndebele, sometimes called Ndebele), numerous but minor tribal dialects

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003

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