A language considered official in a country is expressed in the constitutional text . In this sense, not all languages of a country are official, on the other hand, not all countries have an official language. However, in practice, every nation has one or more languages that serve for administrative communication , for the educational field and for the communication of its inhabitants.
There are more than 7000 different languages in the world, but only a few of them have this legal status . There is no general rule about the officiality of languages, as each country has its own approach. Thus, in France, there is an official language, but different languages are spoken throughout its territory.
The same happens in countries like Nigeria, Argentina or Germany, where there is an official and common language and, at the same time, others are spoken by minority groups of the population (for example, in Argentina they speak Guarani, Aymara, in addition to other indigenous languages , none of which are official).
The case of Spain and Mexico
According to the 1978 Constitution , Castilian or Spanish is the official language of the entire national territory. At the same time, the Constitution itself indicates that there are other co-official languages, such as Catalan, Basque and Galician. On the other hand, other languages spoken in Spanish territory do not have this same recognition, such as the aranés, caló and castuo.
Although Spanish is the majority language among Mexicans, there is no explicit legal recognition that claims to be the official language of the nation. Among the minority languages we highlight Chol, Chinanteco, Huasteco, Maya and Nahuatl.
Official languages at the UN and UNESCO
Six languages are officially used at UN meetings: Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, French, English and Russian. A total of nine languages are used at UNESCO, the previous six plus Bengali, Swahili and Portuguese.
Certain countries express more than one official language
In Paraguay there are two official languages: Spanish and Guarani. Since 2015, in Puerto Rico, Spanish is the first official language and English the second language of the country.
In Switzerland, a country of 41,000 square kilometers, there are four official languages (German, French, Italian and Romansh) and the same happens in Singapore, where English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil officially coexist.
In Belgium, three languages are spoken (Dutch in its Flemish variety, French and German) and all of them are official. In Madagascar there are two official languages: Malagasy and French.