The Kingdom of Belgium has three official languages: Dutch, French, and German. A number of non-official, minority languages and dialects are spoken as well. English is widely spoken throughout the country as a second or third language by native Belgians.
The Belgian Constitution guarantees since the country's independence freedom of language in the private sphere. Article 30 specifies that "the use of languages spoken in Belgium is optional; only the law can rule on this matter, and only for acts of the public authorities and for legal matters." For those public authorities, there is extensive language legislation concerning Dutch, French and German, even though the Belgian Constitution does not explicitly mention which languages enjoy official status. Article 4 does however divide the country into linguistic areas, which form the basis of the federal structure: "Belgium has four linguistic areas: The French-speaking area, the Dutch-speaking area, the bilingual area of Brussels Capital and the German-speaking area."
Namibia, despite its scarce population, is home to a wide diversity of languages, from three language families: Indo-European, Bantu and Khoisan. During apartheid Afrikaans, German and English held the position of official language; however, after independence from South Africa, Namibia's new government made English the sole official language in the constitution of Namibia. German and Afrikaans were stigmatised as having colonial overtones, while the rising of Mandela's Youth League and the 1951 Defiance Campaign spread English among the masses as the language of the liberation struggle.
The most widely spoken languages are Oshiwambo dialects, by 48% of the population, the Khoekhoe language by 11%, Afrikaans by 11%, Kwangali language by 10% and Herero by 10%. Other native languages include the Bantu languages Tswana, Gciriku, Fwe, Kuhane, Mbukushu, Yeyi; and the Khoisan Naro, ǃXóõ, Kung-Ekoka, ǂKxʼauǁʼein and Kxoe. English, the official language, is spoken by less than 1% of people as their native language. Among the white population, 60% speak Afrikaans, 32% German, 7% English, and 1% Portuguese (current figures show that they are in fact 4–5% of the total population of the country nowadays, i.e. 100,000 people).]not in citation given[
The official language of Germany is Standard German, with over 95% of the country speaking Standard German or German dialects as their first language. This figure includes speakers of Northern Low Saxon, a recognized minority or regional language which is not considered separately from Standard German in statistics. Recognized minority languages have official status as well, usually in their respective regions. These are, together with Low Saxon, the following four:
Recognized minority first languages:
South Africa has eleven official languages: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tswana, Tsonga, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu. Fewer than two percent of South Africans speak a first language other than an official one. Most South Africans can speak more than one language. Dutch and English were the first official languages of South Africa from 1910 to 1925. Afrikaans was added as a part of Dutch in 1925. Dutch was replaced by Afrikaans when South Africa became a republic in 1961, and Dutch was dropped in 1984, so between 1984 and 1994, South Africa had two official languages: English and Afrikaans.
The English version of the South African constitution refers to the languages by the names in those languages: isiZulu, isiXhosa, Afrikaans, Sepedi (referring to Northern Sotho), Setswana, English, Sesotho (referring to Southern Sotho), Xitsonga, Siswati, Tshivenda and isiNdebele (referring to Southern Ndebele).
Low Franconian, Low Frankish, sometimes equated with Istvaeonic, is a group of several West Germanic languages spoken in the Netherlands, northern Belgium (Flanders), in the northern department of France, in western Germany (Lower Rhine), as well as in Suriname, South Africa and Namibia that originally descended from Old Frankish.
The Frankish language, also Old Frankish, was the language of the Franks. Classified as a West Germanic language, it was spoken in Merovingian times, preceding the 7th century. Austrasia formed the north-eastern portion of the Kingdom of the Merovingian Franks, comprising parts of the territory of present-day western Germany, eastern and northern France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The Franks first established themselves in the Netherlands and Flanders before they started to fight their way down south and east. The language had a significant impact on Old French. It evolved into Old Low Franconian in the north and it was replaced step by step by Langue d'oïl in the south.
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Low German or Low Saxon (Plattdüütsch, Nedderdüütsch; Standard German: Plattdeutsch or Niederdeutsch; Dutch: Nedersaksisch in the wider sense, see Nomenclature below) is an Ingvaeonic West Germanic language spoken mainly in northern Germany and the eastern part of the Netherlands. It is descended from Old Saxon in its earliest form.
Dutch ( Nederlands (help·info)) is a West Germanic language and the native language of most of the population of the Netherlands, and about sixty percent of the populations of Belgium and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second language for another 5 million people.
Dutch also holds official status in the Caribbean island nations of Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten, while Dutch or dialects assigned to it continue to be spoken, in parts of France and Germany, and to a lesser extent, in Indonesia, and up to half a million native Dutch speakers may be living in the United States, Canada, and Australia. The Cape Dutch dialects of Southern Africa have been standardised into Afrikaans, a mutually intelligible daughter language of Dutch which today is spoken to some degree by an estimated total of 15 to 23 million people in South Africa and Namibia.
The Dutch people (Dutch: Nederlanders (help·info)) are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United States.
The traditional art and culture of the Dutch encompasses various forms of traditional music, dances, architectural styles and clothing, some of which are globally recognizable. Internationally, Dutch painters such as Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh are held in high regard. The dominant religion of the Dutch is Christianity (both Catholic and Protestant), although in modern times the majority is no longer religious. Significant percentages of the Dutch are adherents of humanism, agnosticism, atheism or individual spirituality.
English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and is now the most widely used language in the world. It is spoken as a first language by the majority populations of several sovereign states, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and a number of Caribbean nations. It is the third-most-common native language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. It is widely learned as a second language and is an official language of the European Union, many Commonwealth countries and the United Nations, as well as in many world organisations.
English arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and what is now southeast Scotland. Following the extensive influence of Great Britain and the United Kingdom from the 17th century to the mid-20th century, through the British Empire, it has been widely propagated around the world, becoming the leading language of international discourse and the lingua franca in many regions.
There are over 2100 and by some counts over 3000 languages spoken natively in Africa in several major language families:
There are several other small families and language isolates, as well as obscure languages that have yet to be classified. In addition, Africa has a wide variety of sign languages, many of which are language isolates.
Most of the languages of Europe belong to the Indo-European language family. This family is divided into a number of branches, including Romance, Germanic, Baltic, Slavic, Albanian, Celtic, Armenian and Greek. The Uralic languages, which include Hungarian, Finnish, and Estonian, also have a significant presence in Europe. The Turkic and Mongolic families also have several European members, while the North Caucasian and Kartvelian families are important in the southeastern extremity of geographical Europe. The Basque language of the western Pyrenees is an isolate unrelated to any other group, while Maltese is the only Semitic language in Europe with national language status.
The Indo-European language family descended from Proto-Indo-European, believed to have been spoken thousands of years ago. Indo-European languages are spoken throughout Europe, but particularly dominate Western Europe.