National vs Official Language: Difference and Comparison

Language defines the identity of a person. National languages and Official languages are the identities of a country. It is an instrument to express thoughts, ideas, and emotions.

National and Official languages are vital sources to communicate and overcome the social, political, economic, and cultural barriers of a country. 

Key Takeaways

  1. A national language is a language that holds cultural or historical significance within a country, while an official language is used for government and legal purposes.
  2. A country may have multiple national languages representing various ethnic groups, while the number of official languages may be limited to facilitate communication and administration.
  3. Official languages are legally recognized and required for government use, while national languages may be promoted and preserved for cultural reasons but are not mandated for official functions.

National Language vs Official Language

A national language is a language that is spoken by a large percentage of people in a specific country and is considered a symbol of national identity. An official language is one that has been given a legal status by a government or other authoritative body as the language of government.

National Language vs Official Language

National Language is a language that is an integral part of a country. A language primarily utilized and spoken by the native citizens is called the national language of a country.

It holds utter importance to the community. A country with diverse ethnicity and cultures may have more than one national language. 

Official Language is a specialized language used by the government for the majority of political affairs and government matters.

It is a language given high status and recognized by the government and the people for its political, judicial, legal, administrative, and economic affairs.

A country may have one or more official languages based on ethnicity and history.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonNational Language Official Language 
Type of a Language It is the first speech of a nation, spoken by the community.It is a secondary language decided by the government.
Nature of CommunicationIt has an informal tone of communication.It is a formal language that adheres to the code of conduct in communications. 
MeaningIt entitles the community, history, and culture.It entitles the sovereignty and presence of the Judiciary.
Do the languages interconnect with each other?A National language is the default official language. Official language that cannot be a national language without legal proceedings.
Change in the languageThe national language is robust and cannot be changed with time.Official language can be changed through official delegation.

What is a National Language ?

National Language is a discreet language that may become a unique characteristic of a country. It is the driving force to culminate the unity of a nation. The national language is an indicator of respect and honor for a country. 

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A country may have hundreds of dialects and languages, but a national language is a highly spoken language among the majority of people. Every country has a national language.

There are few exceptions to this including India and Australia that do not have a definite National language about diverse amasses. 

A national language is an indicator of the national reputation of a nation.

It is crucial to know the national language of a country as it provides insights into the language necessary to read and write to understand their society and regional affairs.

It is the spirit of the people and forms a meaningful connection between the population and their country. 

The history of countries can be studied and analyzed comprehensively with the help of better knowledge of their national language.

Respecting a country’s national language is essential to develop meaningful relations with the community.

It allows you to gain a favored pedestal to undertake steps into entering and understanding public affairs conveniently. 

What is an Official language?

The official language is the language chosen by the government for its official and operational matters. It encloses the speech with the legal status in a country.

The term official does not signify the language spoken by the majority of people, rather it is a language recognized by the government. 

Many countries have no official language, some have one, while others may have more than one official language. There are 178 countries with an official language for their judicial, political, and economical affairs. 

Official language defines the power status of the country.

The official language is also used as an entitlement to recognize the indigenous groups by providing them authority over the official affairs in a dignified central native language. 

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There are two types of Official languages- Endoglossic and Exoglossic.

The Endoglossic official language is the type of speech native to a nation. It is the speech spoken by the masses and later recognized as the Official language as well.

It is a maneuver to honor the indigenous lexicon and protect its cultural and historical importance.

The Endoglossic official language is the independent lexicon and not a native language. It is a separate language designated for authoritative proceedings legally authorized by the government.

Main Differences Between National Language and Official Language 

  1. The national language is derived from the socio-cultural backgrounds of a nation. On the other hand, Official language is derived from geographical and political credentials. 
  2. The motive of a National language is symbolic to represent the citizens of a country. Official language has a Utilitarian function. This means that the official language is decided as per the motive and practicality. 
  3. The national language is used for general conversations. The official language is used for official and authoritative matters of a government.
  4. The national language is the default language of the citizens. Whereas Official language is a legally accepted and acknowledged lexicon in a country.
  5. The national language is primarily connected with the cultural, religious activities of the people. The official language is connected with the judiciary and parliament of a nation.
Difference Between National Language and Official Language

Last Updated : 19 July, 2023

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