National Language - Official Versus National Languages

Official Versus National Languages

"National language" and "official language" are best understood as two concepts or legal categories with ranges of meaning that may coincide, or may be intentionally separate. Obviously a stateless nation is not in the position to legislate an official language, but their language may be considered a national language.

Some languages may be recognized popularly as "national languages," while others may enjoy a high degree of official recognition. Some examples of national languages that are not official languages include Cherokee, and Navajo (and other living Native American languages).

In many African countries, some or all indigenous African languages are legally recognized as "national languages" with "official language" status being given to the former colonial language (English, French, Portuguese, or Spanish).

Certain languages may enjoy government recognition or even status as official languages in some countries while not in others.

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Famous quotes containing the words languages, official and/or national:

    I am always sorry when any language is lost, because languages are the pedigree of nations.
    Samuel Johnson (1709–1784)

    I thought it altogether proper that I should take a brief furlough from official duties at Washington to mingle with you here to-day as a comrade, because every President of the United States must realize that the strength of the Government, its defence in war, the army that is to muster under its banner when our Nation is assailed, is to be found here in the masses of our people.
    Benjamin Harrison (1833–1901)

    The word which gives the key to the national vice is waste. And people who are wasteful are not wise, neither can they remain young and vigorous. In order to transmute energy to higher and more subtle levels one must first conserve it.
    Henry Miller (1891–1980)