Can You Match the Country to the Language Spoken There?

Zoe Samuel

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Our world is incredibly linguistically diverse. There are 196 countries and about 6,500 languages, of which 4,000 have more than 1,000 speakers. The most popular language is Mandarin Chinese, with Spanish and English taking the second and third spots. Of course, some languages are spoken in more than one country, either because of a history of imperialism and war, or because of a shared cultural history where a geographical boundary ends up feeling rather arbitrary. Other languages are spoken only in a single community within a single country, perhaps due to - again - a history of imperialism or perhaps the slow evolution of two cultures which meet and trade ideas, with the smaller group typically adopting the bigger group's language.

Beyond this, there are a number of languages that are only spoken by academics, as they are technically considered to be dead. These include Norse, Anglo-Saxon, Ancient Greek, Latin and a variety of similar languages. They are thus very exclusive and no longer yoked to any particular country, being more a feature of a particular library or educational institution.

This quiz is not about that last group. It's about the glorious, living, messy absurdity of languages that are spoken in one country or several. Can you tell us the country if we give you the language? Let's find out!

What language do they speak in Romania?

It's the original Romance language!

What language do most people speak in Brazil?

People think it's Spanish, but Brazil was a Portuguese colony, meaning that's the main language there now.

What language does the majority speak in India?

Hindi is the main language, with over half a billion speakers. English is second at 125 million.

What language do they speak in Iran?

Iranians are ethnically Persian, which is the name of their language.

What language do they speak in Jordan?

Arabic is a little different in each Arab country, but ultimately it's all Arabic!

What language do they speak in Congo?

Congo is a French ex-colony, and thus French is the main language.

What language do they speak in Colombia?

Imperialism strikes again! The answer is Spanish.

What language do they speak in Estonia?

While certain elements in Russia would like Estonia to be a part of their nation, at the moment, Estonia remains independent and free, meaning Estonian is the official language.

What language do they speak in Belize?

Belize's name sounds French but actually they speak English there, due to - you've guessed it - more imperialism!

What language do they speak in Jamaica?

Jamaica actually has a few languages that evolved out of the freed slave populations, but English is dominant.

What language do they speak in Morocco?

European empires have gotten a certain amount of teasing in this quiz so far, so here's another nation whose language can be chalked up to Arab imperialism.

What language do they speak in Mozambique?

Score another point for Portugal, which imposed its language on Mozambique!

What language do they speak in Mongolia?

Mongolia kept its own language despite being colonized by China for a few centuries. This is pretty unusual, as we've seen so far.

What language do they speak in Kazakhstan?

They speak Kazakh! They also speak Russian, due to - you've guessed it - being colonized. Kazakhstan was absorbed into the USSR until 1989.

What language do they speak in Israel?

Hebrew is the official language. Most Israelis speak some English, too. There are also lots of Arab Israelis who speak Arabic, as well as Jewish Israelis who speak Arabic too!

What language do they speak in Turkey?

Turkey was the seat of power of the Ottoman Empire, so it kept Turkish. While the European empires are much spoken of, none of them lasted nearly as long as the Ottoman Empire, which clocked in 644 years.

What language do they speak in Monaco?

France surrounds Monaco and so linguistically, it invaded with just its mother tongue.

What language do they speak in Luxembourg?

Luxembourg is so little that residents have to speak a couple languages to get by.

Other than French, what language do they speak in Belgium?

Flemish is from Flanders, and is a type of Dutch. Most Belgians can speak French, but many speak Flemish too.

Other than French, what language do they speak in Switzerland?

Switzerland is neutral, meaning it doesn't like to choose between languages. It's mostly French and German, depending on which end of the country you're in.

What language do they speak in Ireland?

Ireland has two official languages plus an unofficial third, meaning it uses all three of these languages.

Other than English, what language do they speak in Scotland?

Gaelic is spoken by the Gaels and their descendants. It's a type of Celtic language.

What language do they speak in Laos?

Laos was colonized by everyone - Japan, Siam, France, etc... and they all canceled each other's languages out, leaving Lao.

What is the official language of the Philippines?

171 native languages are spoken in the Philippines, the most prominent being Tagalog. However, in 1987 the government declared Filipino and English to be the national languages of the Philippines. Many people still colloquially refer to it as Tagalog.

Other than English, what language do they speak in New Zealand?

The Maori were in New Zealand long before anyone else, and their language survives as they do.

Other than Portuguese, what language do they speak in East Timor?

Tetum is a dialect spoken on the whole island of Timor, including Timor-Leste (East Timor), a former Portuguese colony. Tetum is informed by the Portuguese language.

What language do they speak in Liberia?

Liberia speaks English but also 30 other languages. All the options in this question are spoken there but none by a majority, besides English.

What language do they speak in Rwanda?

Rwanda hung onto Kinyarwanda, its native tongue, but also uses French, English, and Swahili.

Besides Georgian, what language do they speak in Georgia (the country, not the state)?

An awful lot of conquering, re-conquering, colonizing, and displacing happened in this part of the world. Abkhaz is a language with about 100,000 speakers in Turkey, Georgia, and nearby nations.

What language do they speak in Bangladesh?

English is understood by many Bangladeshis - again, a double-edged gift of the British Empire - but Bengali is the lingua franca.

What language do they speak in Afghanistan?

Afghanistan is the origin of the saying, "Never get involved in a land war in Asia" because its topography means it essentially cannot be controlled from outside. That's why Pashto remains the main language there, despite the efforts of Britain, Russia, China, India and others to change this.

What language do they speak in Nepal?

Nepal is like Afghanistan, astonishingly hard to conquer thanks to its landscape. That means it has historically been very isolated, keeping the Nepali language intact.

What language do they speak in Eritrea?

Eritrea has several languages, a reflection of European and Arab imperialism plus its own status as a rising developing power.

What language do they speak in Chile?

Chile also survived being colonized, in this instance by Spain, hence they speak Spanish there.

What language do they speak in the Seychelles?

Seychelles has three official languages, reflecting its colonized past and its independent present.

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