Guinness World Records - Officially Amazing

Most official languages (country)

Next RecordPrevious Record
 

For the record

  • Who: Zimbabwe

  • What: Most official languages (country)

  • Where:

The country with the most official languages is Zimbabwe with 16. These are: Chewa, Chibarwe, English, Kalanga, Koisan, Nambya, Ndau, Ndebele, Shangani, Shona, sign language, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda and Xhosa. The legal status is codified by Zimbabwe's new Constitution, approved by Parliament on 9 May 2013.

A typical definition of official language, such as by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is: 'A language that has legal status in a particular legally constituted political entity and that serves as a language of administration', for the country as a whole, one might add: India has 18 languages that are recognised by its constitution and can be considered as official, however the difference is that each language is recognised as the official language of a certain area e.g Kashmiri in Kashmir. The overall official language is Hindi, and this is what all central government decrees are written in, along with English. English is not considered an official language of the country, but rather a 'second language'. These languages (and area) are: Assamese (Assam), Bengali (West Bengal), Gujarati (Gujarat), Hindi (Bihar, Chandigarh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh), Kannada (Karnataka), Kashmiri, Malayalam (Kerala), Manipuri, Marathi (Maharashtra), Nepali, Oriya (Orissa), Punjabi (Punjab), Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil (Tamil Nadu), Telugu (Andhra Pradesh), Urdu (Kashmir and Jammu), Konkani.

 

Records change on a daily basis and are not immediately published online. For the most up to date record information, we welcome your questions via Facebook or Twitter.

Comments below may relate to previous holders of this record.