The map shows the world's six most spoken official languages. These languages are also the working languages of the United Nations. The most important official language, English, is not only spoken in its mother country, but it is also still used in an official capacity in most regions that were previously under British rule. The use of official languages in Africa clearly illustrates the colonial structures. Chinese (Mandarin) is the official language of around 1.2 billion people. Outside of China, Chinese is only recognised in Brunei and Singapore as an official language. In third place is Spanish, which is the official language of Spain as well as many parts of Central and South America. Today, Russian is only recognised as the official language of Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Belarus; the remaining successor states of the Soviet Union implemented their own national languages as the official language in 1991. French is the official language of France but also its former colonies and present-day overseas territories (Sub-Saharan Africa, Guyana, numerous archipelagos of the Caribbean and Oceania). Arabic is the official language of the African and Middle Eastern part of the Islamic world.
Official Languages of the European Union The largest diversity of official languages is found in Europe. Since 1st January 2007 all laws and regulations in the EU must be translated into 23 official languages. After Bulgarian and Romanian, the latest official language to be added, is Irish (with certain restrictions). Some of these languages are also acknowledged as minority languages, e.g. Swedish in Finland or French in Italy. Website presentation and communication between the individual organs of the EU is predominantly in English, French and German. F. Forster, E. Astor; Ü: J. Moar, C. Fleming