Speaking the Language of Business

Languages of the World – Part 5

Part 5 of 6 in a blog series this week that will cover all the countries of the world and the dominant languages within those countries. In this 5th post, we have 41 countries ranging from Oman to Sudan. All of these numbers and facts can be attributed to research done in the CIA’s World Factbook. This data is meant to improve identifying and selecting target languages when considering a geographical area to market/translate into. 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.

Arabic (official), English, Baluchi, Urdu, Indian dialects

Punjabi 48%, Sindhi 12%, Siraiki (a Punjabi variant) 10%, Pashtu 8%, Urdu (official) 8%, Balochi 3%, Hindko 2%, Brahui 1%, English (official; lingua franca of Pakistani elite and most government ministries), Burushaski, and other 8%

Palauan 64.7% official in all islands except Sonsoral (Sonsoralese and English are official), Tobi (Tobi and English are official), and Angaur (Angaur, Japanese, and English are official), Filipino 13.5%, English 9.4%, Chinese 5.7%, Carolinian 1.5%, Japanese 1.5%, other Asian 2.3%, other languages 1.5% (2000 census)

Spanish (official), English 14%; note – many Panamanians bilingual

Papua New Guinea
Tok Pisin, English, and Hiri Motu are official languages; some 860 indigenous languages spoken (over one-tenth of the world’s total)  note: Tok Pisin, a creole language, is widely used and understood; English is spoken by 1%-2%; Hiri Motu is spoken by less than 2%

Spanish (official), Guarani (official)

Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara, and a large number of minor Amazonian languages

Filipino (official; based on Tagalog) and English (official); eight major dialects – Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinan

Pitcairn Islands
English (official), Pitkern (mixture of an 18th century English dialect and a Tahitian dialect)

Polish 97.8%, other and unspecified 2.2% (2002 census)

Portuguese (official), Mirandese (official – but locally used)

Puerto Rico
Spanish, English

Arabic (official), English commonly used as a second language

Romanian 91% (official), Hungarian 6.7%, Romany (Gypsy) 1.1%, other 1.2%

Russian, many minority languages

Kinyarwanda (official) universal Bantu vernacular, French (official), English (official), Kiswahili (Swahili) used in commercial centers

Saint Barthelemy
French (primary), English

Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saint Lucia
English (official), French patois

Saint Martin
French (official language), English, Dutch, French Patois, Spanish, Papiamento (dialect of Netherlands Antilles)

Saint Pierre and Miquelon
French (official)

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
English, French patois

Samoan (Polynesian), English

San Marino

Sao Tome and Principe
Portuguese (official)

Saudi Arabia

French (official), Wolof, Pulaar, Jola, Mandinka

Serbian 88.3% (official), Hungarian 3.8%, Bosniak 1.8%, Romany (Gypsy) 1.1%, other 4.1%, unknown 0.9% (2002 census) note: Romanian, Hungarian, Slovak, Ukrainian, and Croatian all official in Vojvodina

Creole 91.8%, English 4.9% (official), other 3.1%, unspecified 0.2% (2002 census)

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%)

Mandarin 35%, English 23%, Malay 14.1%, Hokkien 11.4%, Cantonese 5.7%, Teochew 4.9%, Tamil 3.2%, other Chinese dialects 1.8%, other 0.9% (2000 census)

Slovak (official) 83.9%, Hungarian 10.7%, Roma 1.8%, Ukrainian 1%, other or unspecified 2.6% (2001 census)

Slovenian 91.1%, Serbo-Croatian 4.5%, other or unspecified 4.4% (2002 census)

Solomon Islands
Melanesian pidgin in much of the country is lingua franca; English (official but spoken by only 1%-2% of the population); 120 indigenous languages

Somali (official), Arabic, Italian, English

South Africa
IsiZulu 23.8%, IsiXhosa 17.6%, Afrikaans 13.3%, Sepedi 9.4%, English 8.2%, Setswana 8.2%, Sesotho 7.9%, Xitsonga 4.4%, other 7.2% (2001 census)

Castilian Spanish (official) 74%, Catalan 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2%, are official regionally

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

Arabic (official), English (official), Nubian, Ta Bedawie, diverse dialects of Nilotic, Nilo-Hamitic, Sudanic languages  note: program of “Arabization” in process

Next Week – Oman to Zimbabwe!

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