National language

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

National language , national standard language or national language are designations for the high or standard language of a nationality or a country, in a broader sense also collective names for all dialects , sociolects and functional language variants within the framework of a historically and politically defined language community. The definition of the term “national language” is problematic, however, since the definition framework for nation, state and language is often not uniform.

As a modern term, the term national language is closely linked to the idea of ​​the cultural nation , which is defined as a linguistically, culturally and politically uniform area. Like the modern term nation , the Parisian dialect of the Langues d'oïl emerged as the first national language in the modern sense in France in the 16th century . In many cases, national languages ​​were consciously promoted or artificially created through language policy and were an important tool for the formation of nation states in the 18th and 19th centuries. The politically deliberate enforcement of the sole use of national languages ​​in some states has historically led to the suppression and suppression of many minority languages .

Today, many states define one or more languages ​​as national languages ​​in their constitutions or by law, which are then mostly also official languages . However, this does not exclude the use of other official languages. In addition, other languages ​​have the status of a minority language. The national language and the official language can, but do not have to be, the same. For example, many African countries have French or English as their official language, but different national languages.

National and minority languages ​​as well as other languages ​​that have also developed historically from the language used by an ethnic group are generally summarized under the term ethnic languages .



In the Federal Republic of Germany , the Basic Law does not designate a national language , but rather prescribes the Administrative Procedure Act at federal level and the German language in 13 of 16 federal states , as well as regional or minority languages as official languages. The debate about the inclusion of the German language in the Basic Law is controversial.


In Finland , Article 17 of the constitution establishes the Finnish and Swedish languages as national languages , while Sami , like Romani and sign languages, are given the status of minority languages.


Article 8 of the Constitution of Ireland defines the Irish language as both the national language and the first official language. English is not a national language, but a second official language:

“Airteagal 8: (1) Ós í an Ghaeilge an teanga náisiúnta is í an phríomhtheanga oifigiúil í. (2) Glactar leis an Sacs-Bhéarla mar theanga oifigiúil hurry. "

“Article 8: (1) Irish is the national language and the first official language (literally: official language ). (2) English is accepted as another official language. "


Article 11 of the Constitution of Lebanon defines the Arabic language as the national language and also as the official language.


In Luxembourg , the Lëtzebuergesch , a Moselle-Franconian language variety, has been legally defined as the national language since 1984, while French and German are other "administrative languages". The laws are drafted in French - with the important consequence that, from a legal point of view, only French is authoritative at all levels of public administration.


In Namibia exist alongside the official language English "national languages" ( English National Languages ), which enjoy certain rights of a minority language. These include Afrikaans , Deutsch , Khoekhoegowab , OshiKwanyama , Oshindonga , Otjiherero , RuKwangali and Silozi .

East Timor

In East Timor , the constitution makes a distinction between “official languages”, “national languages” and “working languages”. The official languages ​​are Tetum and Portuguese . They are also used in the administration of the land. Fifteen minority languages ​​enjoy special protection as national languages, while English and Bahasa Indonesia are also listed as working languages ​​due to their international significance and their wide distribution among the population. In 2012, one also began to build up lessons in the national languages ​​in primary schools.


In Switzerland , a “ nation of will ” , a distinction was made for a long time in the federal constitution between official and national languages (including national languages ). After Romansh was recognized as the national language in 1938, there were four national languages ​​(German, French, Italian and Romansh), but only three official languages ​​(German, French and Italian). Since the constitutional revision in 1999, Romansh has also been an official language for native speakers.


In Singapore , Malay as the national language is raised above the other (and sometimes more frequently spoken) official languages English , Chinese and Tamil .


Web links

Wiktionary: National language  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ National language , Zeit Online (July 20, 2009) ( Memento from January 25, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  2. Mirja Saari: Swedish as the second national language of Finland: Sociolinguistic aspects . In: Linguistics online . tape 7 , no. 3 , 2000, ISSN  1615-3014 , doi : 10.13092 / lo.7.986 ( [accessed on April 13, 2020]).
  3. ^ Constitutional Documents: Constitution of Lebanon {Adopted on: September 21, 1990}.
  4. Le Gouvernement du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg. Service information et presse: The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg at a glance. Luxembourg: April 2010, p. 21 ( Memento des Originals of January 9, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF). @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. ^ Grand Duchy of Luxembourg: The Languages ​​of the State , accessed on July 8, 2016.
  6. ^ National Language Center, University of Namibia ( Memento from July 17, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF).