Every country in the world maintains an official language that is recognized by each constitution and their respective governments. For example, Indonesian is the official language recognized in the Indonesian constitution and government. There are also several countries that recognize more than one official language, such as Canada with English and French and India which recognizes Hindi and English as official languages. Here are the five countries with the most official languages in the world:
Bolivia is a sealess country located high in the Andes Mountains, South America. The country is bordered by Brazil, Peru, Chile and Paraguay. Bolivia has an area of 1,098,582 km2 with a population of around 11,400,000 people. This country is a multi-ethnic country and is inhabited by many Native American tribes scattered throughout the country. Nearly 55% of Bolivians are descended from Native American tribes and the remaining 30% are Mestizos. Article 1 of the Bolivian Constitution affirms that Bolivia is a pluralistic and multiethnic unitary state. The consequence of this is that the Bolivian government through the 2009 Constitution recognizes Spanish and several native languages as the official languages of Bolivia. Overall, Bolivia has 37 official languages, namely Spanish, Araona, Aymara, Baure, Bésiro, Canichana, Cayubaba, Cavineño, Chimán, Chácobo, Ese Ejja, Guaraní, Guarayu, Guarasu’we, Leco, Itonama, Machineri, Machajuyai-Kalawaya, Maropa, Mojeño-Ignaciano, Moré, Mosetén, Mojeño-Trinitario, Movima, Puquina, Pacawara, Quechua, Tacana, Toromona, Tapieté, Sirionó, Uru-Chipaya, Weenhayek, Yaminawa, Yuracaré, Yuki, and Zamuco.
Spanish is the most widely spoken official language in Bolivia and is the lingua franca of the people of Bolivia. Quechua is the second language most widely spoken by Bolivians spoken in the Andean region. The Aymara language is mostly spoken in the Altiplano region, around Lake Titicaca and the Guarani language is mostly spoken in the region of Bolivia that borders Paraguay.
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in East Africa. Zimbabwe is bordered by Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa and Botswana. This country has an area of 390,757 km2. The current estimated population of Zimbabwe is around 13,000,000. Zimbabwe has a diverse population of ethnic Shona and Ndebele families. Apart from that, there are also other African ethnicities, such as those from Mozambique and there are also groups of white people from Europe. The diversity of the population of Zimbabwe means that the Constitution and the current government of Zimbabwe recognize 16 official languages in Zimbabwe. The officially recognized languages in Zimbabwe according to the 2013 Constitution are English, Chewa, Chibarwe, Kalanga, Koisan, Nambya, Ndau, Ndebele, Shangani, Shona, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, and Zimbabwe Sign Language.
Previously, English was the only official language in Zimbabwe. No wonder there are many Zimbabweans who can speak English. English is the language used in education and court activities and is also the lingua franca for the population of Zimbabwe. After the 2013 Constitution was passed, the Zimbabwean government was obliged to promote these officially recognized languages. Shona is the main language spoken by the majority of the population of Zimbabwe with a percentage reaching 70%. The Ndebele language is the second widely spoken language after Shona. Currently, there are many televisions and radios that use Shona and Ndebele languages. As well as recognizing the languages of ethnic minority groups, Zimbabwe also recognizes Zimbabwe Sign Language used by persons with disabilities as the official language of Zimbabwe. There are also other languages spoken in Zimbabwe that are not official languages, namely Afrikaans, Greek, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Gujarati, and Hindi.
South Africa is a country located in the south of the African continent. The country is bordered by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, eSwatini, Mozambique and Lesotho. South Africa has an area of 1,221,037 km2 with an estimated population of around 52,000,000 people. South African society is divided into several African, European, and Asian ethnic groups. The majority or almost 80% of the population of South Africa are ethnic Africans, such as Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, South Sotho, Tswana, and Tsonga. There are 10% of the population is of European ethnicity, which is dominated by Afrikaners, and of British descent. In addition, there are also Asian ethnic groups, namely Indians and Malays.
After the Apartheid policy ended in 1994, South Africa then had 11 official languages, previously only recognizing English and Afrikaans. The official languages of South Africa are English, Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, North Sotho, Tswana, South Sotho, Tsonga, Swazi, Venda, and South Ndebele. English is the lingua franca for the people of South Africa and is commonly used in trade and government activities. According to the 2011 census, Zulu is the language with the most native speakers, accounting for 22% of the total population, followed by Xhosa (16%) and Afrikaans (14%). Apart from guaranteeing 11 official languages, South Africa also recognizes several languages, although they do not have official status.
Vojvodina is a special autonomous region of Serbia located in the northern region of Serbia. Vojvodina shares direct borders with Hungary, Croatia, Romania, Bosnia, and Herzegovina. Vojvodina has an area of 21,614 km2. Vojvodina’s current population is estimated at around 1,900,000. As a region bordering various countries, Vojvodina is home to various ethnic groups, namely Serbs, Hungarians, Slovaks, Romani, Romanians, Croats, and Rusyns. The Vojvodina region which consists of various ethnic groups then makes Vojvodina a special autonomous status from Serbia. Unlike the rest of Serbia, Vojvodina has six official languages, namely Serbian, Hungarian, Romanian, Slovak, Croatian, and Rusyn.
Singapore is a small country in southeast Asia whose people are diverse. The population of Singapore is estimated at around 5,600,000 people with an area of only about 725 km2. The Singapore government recognizes Malay, English, Mandarin, and Tamil as official languages. The Malay language is a national symbol which is more often used symbolically, as in the motto and the national anthem. The use of the Malay language is only practiced by ethnic Malays in Singapore. Meanwhile, English is the lingua franca of Singaporeans and is used in government and business activities. The constitution and laws are also written in English. Mandarin is commonly spoken by ethnic Chinese, and Tamil is spoken by Tamils in Singapore. Mandarin is a second language that is often and commonly used in business activities.
Singaporeans generally speak two to three languages. An estimated 80% of Singaporeans understand English, 65% speak Mandarin, 17% can speak Malay and 4% speak Tamil. The life of the Singaporean people who are bilingual has even produced a new variation of English, namely Singlish (Singaporean English). Singlish is a variation of English in Singapore that is heavily influenced by Chinese and Malay.