English as an official language
This is a list of sovereign states and territories where English is an official language. That means it is a language used by their governments, churches, mosques, schools and business. In 2014, there were 88 states: 60 sovereign states and 38 non-sovereign states).
Most countries where English is a prominent or official language are former colonies of the British Empire. Notable exceptions include Rwanda, which was a former Belgian colony, and Eritrea, which was an Italian colony where the British Empire controlled it only in World War II and shortly after (1941–1952).
English is the sole official language of the Commonwealth of Nations and the Commonwealth Games. English is one of the official languages of the United Nations, the European Union and the International Olympic Committee. Although English is not classified as an official language in the United States many states and regions within the U.S. do have English as an official language.
India's linguistic picture is complex. According to the Constitution of India, "Hindi in the Devanagari script" is the official language of the union; and English the 'subsidiary official language'; however, English is mandated (must be used) for the authoritative texts of all federal laws and Supreme Court decisions and (with Hindi) is one of the two languages of the Indian Parliament. English is taught in schools, and the quality and effectiveness of the teaching is extremely varied. English is used almost exclusively for higher education.
Sovereign states[change | change source]
|Antigua and Barbuda||Caribbean||85,000|
|Belize ||Central America / Caribbean||288,000|
|Guyana||South America / Caribbean||738,000|
|Mauritius||Africa / Indian Ocean||1,262,000|
|Federated States of Micronesia||Oceania||111,000|
|Papua New Guinea||Oceania||6,331,000|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||Caribbean||50,000|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||Caribbean||120,000|
|Seychelles||Africa / Indian Ocean||87,000|
|Trinidad and Tobago||Caribbean||1,333,000|
|Australia||Australia / Oceania||22,930,577|
|United States||North America||309,442,000|
Non-sovereign entities[change | change source]
|British Virgin Islands||Caribbean||23,000|
|Cayman Islands ||Caribbean||47,000|
|Cocos (Keeling) Islands||Australia||596|
|Falkland Islands||South Atlantic||3,000|
|Isle of Man8||Europe||80,058|
|Northern Mariana Islands7||Oceania||53,883|
|Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha||South Atlantic||5,660|
|Turks and Caicos Islands||Caribbean||26,000|
|U.S. Virgin Islands5||Caribbean||111,000|
Footnotes[change | change source]
- ^1 The population figures are based on the sources in List of countries by population, with information as of 23 January 2009 (UN estimates, et al.)
- ^2 Hong Kong is a former British Crown colony (1843–1981) and British Dependent Territory (1981–1997); it is currently a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (1997–present)
- ^3 Puerto Rico is, historically and culturally, connected to the Spanish-speaking Caribbean; Spanish is also an official language on the island. Puerto Rico is an unincorporated United States territory referred to as a "Commonwealth"
- ^4 Guam is an organized unincorporated territory of the United States
- ^5 The US Virgin Islands is an insular area of the United States
- ^6 Jersey is a British Crown dependency
- ^7 The Northern Mariana Islands is a commonwealth in political union with the United States
- ^8 Isle of Man is a British Crown dependency
- ^9 Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory
- ^10 Guernsey is a British Crown dependency
- ^11 American Samoa is an unincorporated U.S. territory
- ^12 Christmas Island is an external territory of Australia
- ^13 Pitcairn Islands is a British Overseas Territory
References[change | change source]
- "The Union: Official Language". National Informatics Centre (NIC). 2007. Retrieved June 24, 2007.
- "Notification No. 2/8/60-O.L. (Ministry of Home Affairs)". April 27, 1960. Retrieved July 4, 2007.
- English language education in rural schools of India: the situation, the policy and the curriculum. British Council, Teaching English 
- CIA - The World Factbook
- Official language; "Field Listing - Languages". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 2009-01-11..
- "Society". Government Information Service (Barbados). Retrieved 2009-01-18.
- English usage; "Field Listing - Languages". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 2009-01-11..
- "National Profile". Government Information Agency (Guyana). Retrieved 2009-01-18.
- N. Krishnaswamy; Lalitha Krishnaswamy (6 January 2006). "3.14 English Becomes a Second Language". The story of English in India. Foundation Books. ISBN 978-81-7596-312-2.
- BUNREACHT NA hÉIREANN
- The Constitution of Jamaica (section 20(6e) — implicit)
- Malawi Investment Promotion Agency (August 2005). "Opportunities for investment and Trade in Malawi – the Warm Heart of Africa". Government of Malawi. Retrieved 2009-01-18.
- "Nauru". New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 2008-12-03. Retrieved 2009-01-18. English and Nauruan are official.
- "Country profile: Nigeria". BBC News. April 30, 2008. Retrieved November 10, 2008.
- "General Information on Papua New Guinea". Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority. Retrieved 2009-01-18.[dead link]
- "Country profile: Papua New Guinea". BBC News. 2008-11-28.
- "Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, Article XIV". Chanrobles Law Library. 1987. Retrieved October 27, 2007. (See Article XIV, Section 7)
- "Primary Schools". Government of St Christopher (St Kitts) and Nevis. Retrieved 2009-01-18.
- "St. Vincent and the Grenadines Profile". Agency for Public Information (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines). Retrieved 2011-06-18.
- "Legislations: List of Acts and Ordinances". The Parliament of Samoa. Retrieved 2009-01-18.[dead link] Languages for official legislation are Samoan and English.
- Wong, Aline (2000-11-24). "Education in a Multicultural Setting - The Singapore Experience". Ministry of Education, Government of Singapore. Retrieved 2009-01-18.
There are four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil.
- "Statistics Singapore - Latest Data - Population (Mid-Year Estimates)". Statistics Singapore. 2012. Retrieved 10 November 2012. Unknown parameter
- "Constitution of the Republic of South Africa". Constitutional Court of South Africa. Retrieved 2009-01-11.
- "The Constitution of Southern Sudan". Southern Sudan Civil Society Initiative. Retrieved 2011-07-09.
- Kingdom of Tonga (March 2008). "The United Nations / Universal Periodic Review by the United Nations Human Rights Council". Retrieved 2009-01-18.[dead link] English and Tongan are listed as official.
- "Constitution of the Republic of Vanuatu". Government of the Republic of Vanuatu. 1980–83. Retrieved 2009-01-18.
- "Pluralist Nations: Pluralist Language Policies?". 1995 Global Cultural Diversity Conference Proceedings, Sydney. Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Retrieved 11 January 2009."English has no de jure status but it is so entrenched as the common language that it is de facto the official language as well as the national language."
- "LANDSVERORDENING van de 28ste maart 2007 houdende vaststelling van de officiële talen (Landsverordening officiële talen)" (in Dutch). Government of the Netherlands. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
- According to Art. 1 para 2. Constitution of Sint Maarten: "The official languages are Dutch and English"