List of countries where language is a political issue

This is a list of countries where language is a political issue. It is NOT a list of countries with more than one official language, or more than one language community.

Many countries in the world have more than one official language. This may simply reflect the existence of well defined groups speaking different languages, often including minority groups near borders, and in many such cases the use of multiple languages is unproblematic. However in some cases the issue of which language is to be used in what contexts is a major political issue, with the rights of particular language groups a constant source of political friction. Only these latter cases are listed here.

Assessments of gravity

The list attempts to give an idea of the gravity of the problem, but this is inevitably a subjective judgement and liable to change. The ratings are:

  • Serious - language is a major organizing principle of the country's politics, and language disputes persistently threaten the unity of the country and/or involve violent protest or terrorist action
  • Moderate - language disputes regularly arise, but are currently contained
  • Minor - language issues are the concern of a small minority of the population (though those people may take them intensely seriously)

List of countries

Note that only the languages in dispute are listed here; several of these countries have additional language communities. Languages are listed in alphabetic order for each country.

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