This Controversial Map Shows All the 'Official' Languages in the World

© Mila Petkova / Shutterstock
© Mila Petkova / Shutterstock
Photo of Luke Abrahams
Social Content Editor12 July 2017

The subreddit r/mapporn strikes again, and this time it’s causing some really controversial waves.

A tech savvy reddit user who goes by the name of ‘glikithvinayaka’ recently tested out her digital cartography skills and put together a map of the world, detailing its official languages.

For oodles of people across our wonderful planet, the official status of a language can be quite a touchy subject – especially if they’re from somewhere multilingual. By heck, India has 16 official languages! There aren’t too many places that can beat that.

© Glikithvinayaka/Reddit

The colourful piece of cartography shows all the world’s official languages, ranking each country by who has the most. And just what lingos are we talking about anyway?

Thanks to Indy 100 and the CIA World Factbook, here’s all the info easily condensed:

Countries with three official languages:

BelgiumFlemish, French and German
Bosnia and HerzegovinaBosnian, Croatian and Serbian
Papua New GuineaTok Pisin, Hiri Motu and English
RwandaKinyarwanda, French and English
SeychellesSeselwa Creole, English and French
VanuatuBislama, English and French

Baby mountain gorilla in Rwanda | © LMspencer / Shutterstock

Countries with four official languages…

AustriaGerman nationwide; Slovene, Croatian and Hungarian, in the regions
SingaporeMandarin, English, Malay and Tamil
SpainCastilian Spanish nationwide; Catalan, Galician and Basque, in the regions
SwitzerlandGerman, French, Italian and Romansh

Countries with five official languages…

PalauPalauan, English, Sonsorolese, Tobian and Japanese

Palau | © BlueOrange Studio / Shutterstock

Countries with 11 official languages…

South AfricaAfrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and last, but not least, Zulu

Countries with 16 official languages…

IndiaHindi, English, Bengali, Gujarati, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Kannada, Assamese, Sanskrit and Sindhi

Bolivia | © mezzotint / Shutterstock

Special shout out to this last country, which has no less than 37 (yep!) official languages…

BoliviaCastillian Spanish, Aymara, Araona, Baure, Bésiro, Canichana (extinct), Cavineño, Cayubaba (extinct), Chácobo, Chimán, Ese Ejja, Guaraní, Guarasu’we (extinct), Guarayu, Itonama, Leco, Machajuyai-Kallawaya, Machineri, Maropa, Mojeño-Ignaciano, Mojeño-Trinitario, Moré, Mosetén, Movima, Pacawara, Puquina (extinct 18th century), Quechua, Sirionó, Tacana, Tapieté, Toromona, Uru-Chipaya (not a single language; only Chipaya is still spoken), Weenhayek, Yaminawa, Yuki, Yuracaré and finally… Zamuco

Strange how they have at least five extinct languages on the official list, no?

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