About half of the world has an official language including China, Canada, Columbia, and Egypt but the US has no official language. But why does the US not have an official language? There are several other countries with no official language. Some countries like Albania, France, and Germany have only one official language. Some countries have more than one official language including Finland, India, Switzerland, etc. And some countries have no official language at all including Australia, Sweden, etc. Let’s have an in-depth look at Countries without an official language.
What Is the Official Language?
The official language is also called the state language and it refers to the language that is legally used in the government and business. Many people get confused between the official language and the national language. The national language is one that is widely spoken by the people of the country. Hence both are not the same.
In his book Language Wars(2011), Henry Hitchen has listed eight Nations that do not have an official language.
1. Around 58 Countries Have Declared English as Their Official Language.
- A. True
- B. False
- Costa Rica
The list has now decreased to 5 with Ethiopia, Somalia, and Pakistan nominating its official languages. The official language of Ethiopia is Amharic but only 29.3% of the population are native speakers. Somali and Arabic are the official languages of Somalia. The official language of Pakistan is Urdu but just like Ethiopia there are not many native language speakers and Punjabi is the language that is widely used. Other nations do not have an official language but around 10.7% of the adult population in Costa Rica speaks Creole-English.
The debate on declaring English as the official language of the United States has been going on since the 1750s. The members of congress are trying hard to make English the official language of the state. But the United States has 20 areas where the official language has been adopted. English is the national language of the United States as the majority of the population in the US speaks English. The official government documents are written in English. More than half of the Union has officially declared English as the official language. One of the major reasons why English is not the official language of the United States is that they believed that an official language might be undemocratic in a multilingual country.
Just like the United States, Australia does not have any official language. More than three-quarters of the Nation speaks English but it is not declared as the official language because there are more than 200 languages spoken in Australia.
Around 58 countries have declared English as their official language but not the United Kingdom where around 98% of people speak English. Welsh and Scots are other languages spoken.