10 most multilingual countries in the world

There are countries in which knowledge of 3-4 languages ​​is a vital necessity. Sometimes residents of these countries can use words from several languages ​​in one sentence.

The reason why the inhabitants of a particular country are forced to know many languages ​​can be completely different - colonial expansion, close friendship with neighboring countries and regions, the intersection of different cultures, and others.

Here is a list of the most multilingual countries on our planet:

In which countries, which languages


Located in the southern Caribbean, adjacent to Venezuela. Since Aruba is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the official language here is Dutch.

According to the educational system, all residents must also learn English and Spanish, which makes studying on the island quite difficult.

The tourism business is very popular in Aruba, so knowledge of English is a vital necessity for many people. Neighborhood with Venezuela obliges residents to know Spanish well. But neither Dutch, nor Spanish, nor English are the native languages ​​of the locals.

Most often, they communicate with each other in papiamento. The core of this language is a mixture of Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and English. Dutch and papiamento are the official languages ​​and can often be seen in the media.


The inhabitants of this small country communicate with each other in Luxembourgish, which is similar in consonance to German, but the Germans themselves will not be able to understand it because of the many French words.

The official languages ​​of this country are French and German. They are spoken by absolutely all residents. Moreover, the educational system forces to learn not only French and German, but also English. This approach forces all residents to know at least 4 languages. The government speaks French.


This city-state has 4 official languages ​​at once: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. Singapore is very ethnically diverse, but not everyone here speaks all four languages.

As a rule, people communicate with each other in English. This language is compulsory in school. Some locals use the Creole language, which is based on English, and which is called "Singlish" for communication.

If you know English you will be able to recognize some words, but Chinese grammar, together with loan words from Chinese and Malay, creates serious difficulties for visitors.

In schools, in addition to English, students also learn their own language. For example, Tamil is taught to Indian Singaporeans, Malay is taught to Malays, Mandarin is taught to Chinese.


There are fewer official languages ​​in Malaysia than in Singapore, but almost everyone here speaks them. The official language is Malay, and absolutely all residents speak it.

Also, most Malaysians know English, as it is a compulsory language at school and is often spoken in, especially in cities. They also speak a simplified English called Manglish. It is usually used on the streets.

Many of the ancestors of local residents emigrated from India, so Hindi is also popular here.

It is worth noting that Chinese Malays study Mandarin at school, but in everyday life they communicate in various dialects, including Cantonese, Hokkien or Hakka. In megacities such as Kuala Lampur and Penang, there are Chinese Malays who know not only Malay and English, but also speak all three of the above dialects.

South Africa

This country has an incredibly large number of official languages ​​- 11. Residents of different ethnic groups communicate with each other in English. It is also popular in the media and in government, with less than 10% of all residents referring to English as their primary language.

Residents in the southern and western regions of South Africa communicate in the Germanic language Afrikaans, which has similarities to Sniderlandic.

South Africa has 9 official languages ​​of the Bantu group. The most popular are Zulu and Kosa. It is worth noting that the braid is the native language of Nelson Mandela.

Most South Africans can speak both their native language and English and at least one more, which is popular in the region where they live. Many people in South Africa know at least 3 languages.


Mauritius is an island nation located in the Indian Ocean. It is considered part of Africa. At school, English and French are studied here, but despite the fact that all adults know these two languages, they do not communicate in them in everyday life.

Everyone speaks Mauritian Creole, which is based on French, but the French themselves would not understand it.

Some Mauritians of Indian descent speak Bhojpuri, a Hindi dialect. Also, descendants of immigrants from China live here, who communicate in the language of their ancestors. As a result, we can say that every inhabitant of this island state is fluent in at least 3 or even 4 languages.


Here the official languages ​​are Hindi and English. In the southern part of India, more people communicate in English, while the rest of them all know both languages ​​well, especially the educated Indians living in cities.

It is also worth noting that each state has one or more of its own official languages, which are not similar to Hindi. All of these languages ​​are popular both in the media and in everyday communication.

Most people in India know at least 3 languages, but those who often visit other states know even more. Indians may not be fluent in the languages ​​of other states, but they are quite capable of communicating and understanding. We can say that a large number of Indians know 4 or even 5 languages.


Suriname is located in the northern part of South America, in the thick of the rainforest. More than half of the population speaks Dutch. Moreover, for them this language is native, and all because of the colonial expansion. The Dutch language is used not only in education but also in commerce and in the media.

In ordinary life, the inhabitants of this country speak "Sranan Tongo" - a language based on a mixture of English and Dutch.

It will also be interesting to note that Suriname is home to many people of Indian origin who communicate in the Hindi dialect, Chinese Iyawan origin, who speak the languages ​​of their descendants among themselves. But almost everyone knows English, since culturally the country has become closer to several English-speaking countries of the Caribbean, rather than to the countries of South America.

East Timor

This small and young country, gained independence in 2002, is located in Southeast Asia. It occupies the eastern half of the island of Timor, the province of Ocusi Ambeno, located in the western half of Timor, and the islands of Atauru and Jacques.

There are two official languages ​​here: Tetum and Portuguese, as well as two active languages: Indonesian and English (according to the constitution). Moreover, most of the local population also speaks various aboriginal languages.

Once East Timor was a Portuguese colony, and when it became independent, it was decided to make Portuguese the official language.

Almost all locals are fluent in both English and Portuguese. Even though most residents understand Indonesian, they choose not to speak it.


Everything here is not entirely unambiguous. The fact is that the United States is home to a huge number of immigrants who speak different languages ​​of the world. And yet 75% of Americans mostly speak English and only know it.

But it is worth noting that the number of people who, in addition to English, also know Spanish, is gradually increasing in the country.

Simply put, in the country itself there are many visitors from different countries, each of whom knows their own language, but when compared with other countries from this list, there are very few multilingual people in the United States.

Most popular languages ​​in the world

1. English - spoken in 56 countries.

2. French - spoken in 29 countries.

3. Arabic - spoken in 24 countries.

4. Spanish - spoken in 20 countries.

5. Portuguese - spoken in 8 countries.

Countries where English is well spoken

The most common language on our planet is English. Its origin began about 1, 400 years ago. Modern English dates back to the 15th century with the first printing press.

Today, 400 million people use English as their first language and 1.1 billion people consider it their second language. In terms of the number of native speakers, English is in third place after Chinese and Spanish, but if you count people for whom English is not native, but they often communicate in it, this language is perhaps the most popular on the planet.

Interesting Facts:

* According to the English Proficiency Index, women are more proficient in English than men.

* According to scientists, the more developed a country is, and the higher the income of the population, the higher the level of English proficiency.

* English proficiency tests in 2016 showed that Dutch people know it best.

* Europe has the highest level of English, while the Middle East has the lowest.

Where English is best spoken

Data provided by the English Proficiency Index, the world's most widely used English language proficiency rating. This test is carried out in Europe, some countries in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa.

1. Netherlands - EF EPI score: 72.16 - Language proficiency: very high

2. Denmark - EF EPI score: 71.15 - Language proficiency: very high

3. Sweden - EF EPI score: 70.81 - Language proficiency: very high