Speaking the Language of Business

Languages of the World – Part 2

We continue a six part (week) series blog series this week that will cover all the countries of the world and the dominant languages within those countries. This data is meant to improve identifying and selecting target languages when considering a geographical area to market/translate into. For this second post, we have 41 countries ranging from Central African Republic to Germany. All of these numbers and facts can be attributed to research done in the CIA’s World Factbook. Please note: This list is in no way meant to be an exporting destination guide as not all listed countries are cleared by The U.S. Government for international trade.

Central African Republic
French (official), Sangho (lingua franca and national language), and some tribal languages

French (official), Arabic (official), Sara (in the south), more than 120 different languages and dialects beyond these top few

Spanish (official), Mapudungun, German, and English

Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, and other minority languages

Christmas Island
English (official), Chinese, and Malay

Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Malay (Cocos dialect), and English


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, and Tshiluba

Congo, Republic of the
French (official), Lingala and Monokutuba (lingua franca trade languages), and many local languages and dialects (of which Kikongo is the most widespread)

Cook Islands
English (official), and Maori

Costa Rica
Spanish (official), and English

Cote d’Ivoire
French (official) and 60 native dialects with Dioula the most widely spoken

Croatian 96.1%, Serbian 1%, other and un-designated 2.9% (including Italian, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, and German according to a 2001 census)


Greek, Turkish, and English

Czech Republic
Czech 94.9%, Slovak 2%, other 2.3%, unidentified 0.8% (from a 2001 census)

Danish, Faroese, Greenlandic (an Inuit dialect), German (small minority); note: English is the predominant second language

English and Greek

French (official), Arabic (official), Somali, and Afar

English (official) and French patois

Dominican Republic

Spanish (official) and Amerindian languages (especially Quechua)

Arabic (official) while English and French is widely understood by educated classes

El Salvador
Spanish, Nahua (among some Amerindians)

Equatorial Guinea
Spanish 67.6% (official), other 32.4% (includes French (official), Fang, Bubi) (1994 census)

Afar, Arabic, Tigre and Kunama, Tigrinya, and other Cushitic languages

Estonian (official) 67.3%, Russian 29.7%, other 2.3%, unknown 0.7% (2000 census)

Amarigna 32.7%, Oromigna 31.6%, Tigrigna 6.1%, Somaligna 6%, Guaragigna 3.5%, Sidamigna 3.5%, Hadiyigna 1.7%, other 14.8%, and English (major foreign language taught in schools) (1994 census)

European Union
Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, Gaelic, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish; note: only official languages listed; German, the major language of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, is the most widely spoken mother tongue – over 19% of the EU population; English is the most widely spoken language – about 49% of the EU population is conversant with it (2007)

Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

Faroe Islands
Faroese (derived from Old Norse) and  Danish

English (official), Fijian (official), and Hindustani

Finnish 91.2% (official), Swedish 5.5% (official), other 3.3% (small Sami- and Russian-speaking minorities) (2007)

French 100%, rapidly declining regional dialects and languages (Provencal, Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish) overseas departments: French, Creole patois

French Polynesia
French 61.1% (official), Polynesian 31.4% (official), Asian languages 1.2%, other 0.3%, unspecified 6% (2002 census)

French (official), Fang, Myene, Nzebi, Bapounou/Eschira, and Bandjabi

Gambia, The
English (official), Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, and other indigenous vernaculars

Gaza Strip
Arabic, Hebrew (spoken by many Palestinians), English (widely understood)

Georgian 71% (official), Russian 9%, Armenian 7%, Azeri 6%, other 7% note: Abkhaz is the official language in Abkhazia

Next Week – Ghana to Lebanon!

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