This is an incomplete list of areas with either multilingualism at the community level or at the personal level.
There is a distinction between social and personal bilingualism. Many countries, such as Belgium, India, South Africa and Switzerland, which are officially multilingual, may have many monolinguals in their population. Officially monolingual countries, on the other hand, such as France, can have sizable multilingual populations. Some countries have official languages but also have regional and local official languages, notably China, Mexico, Russia, Spain, and the UK.
Argentina has several ethnic communities of European (esp. the Welsh language in Patagonia), Asian and indigenous origins (the Andean and northeast regions), who speak their own languages, but Spanish is the sole official language of the country.
Belize: English, Spanish and Mayan languages have some official usage, although the legacy of British rule emphasised English to be most commonly used for official purposes though the majority are Hispanophone.
Bolivia is officially multilingual, supporting Spanish and 36 native languages.
Brazil, Portuguese (official) and upwards to 100 languages spoken mainly in the urban areas (European and Asian) and indigenous languages in the Amazon.
Canada is officially bilingual under the Official Languages Act and the Constitution of Canada that require the federal government to deliver services in both official languages. As well, minority language rights are guaranteed where numbers warrant. 59.3% of the population speak English as their first language while 22.9% are native speakers of French. The remaining population belong to some of Canada's many immigrant populations or to the indigenous population. See Bilingualism in Canada
The Canadian province of Quebec, (7.9% English-speaking) Note: Although there is a relatively sizable English-speaking population in Quebec, French is the only official language. At the same time, most government services are available in English and French.
There are also significant French language minorities in the provinces of Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Prince Edward Island. Though these provinces are not officially bilingual they do provide a number of services in French.
In many of Canada's First Nations' communities in the more isolated regions, aboriginal languages are retained. English and French are accepted in the community at the community elders' discretion.
In the 2006 Canadian census, information and questions are available in sixty-two languages, including eighteen First Nations languages.
Chile declared Spanish the official language. The Chilean constitution in 2006 ratified to permit the official usage of four indigenous languages: Aimara, Mapudungun, Quechua and Rapa Nui (Easter Island in Polynesia) in certain regions and communities. In the southern portion, there is a sizable but bilingual German-speaking population.
Colombia Spanish (official), but Andean indigenous languages can be found and Afro-Caribbean languages with the Choco region on the Pacific coast.
Ecuador defines Spanish as its official language, but Spanish, Quechua and Shuar — as official languages of intercultural relations in the Article 2 of the 2008 Constitution.
In Guatemala, the official language is Spanish, however, there are 23 distinct Mayan languages. Not all Guatemalans speak Spanish, while some may do so only as a second or third language.
Guyana, English (official), Hindi languages, Chinese languages, indigenous languages and a small Portuguese-speaking community.
Honduras: Spanish is the official language, despite Afro-Caribbean English and indigenous languages can be found in the rural outskirts of the country.
In Mexico, the government recognizes 62 indigenous languages, including Nahuatl spoken by more than 1.5 million people and Aquacatec spoken by 27 people, along with Spanish. There is no official language at the federal level, although Spanish is the de facto state language.
In the (former) Netherlands Antilles, where Dutch is the official language, but most inhabitants of Curaçao, Aruba and Bonaire are multilingual and speak Papiamento, Dutch and sometimes English and Spanish. Most inhabitants are fluent in all four.
Paraguay, 48% of its population is bilingual in Guaraní and Spanish (both official languages of the Republic), of whom 37% speak only Guaraní and 8% only Spanish but the latter increases with the use of Jopará. There is a large MennoniteGerman colony in the Gran Chaco region as well.
Peru's official languages are Spanish and, in the zones where they are predominant, Quechua, Aymara, and other aboriginal languages.
Puerto Rico's official languages are Spanish and English, yet 85 percent of its inhabitants reported that they did not speak English "very well."
In Suriname, Dutch, Sranan, and English are spoken by almost everyone. In addition, various Chinese and Indian languages are spoken.
In the United States, at the federal level, there is no official language, although there have been efforts to make English the official language.
In US, states with a large historic (New Spain) and recently arrived Spanish speaking population such as California, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, and Florida will often provide government services at the municipal level in Spanish as well as English. For example in Florida, Hialeah recognizes both English and Spanish while Miami recognizes English and Spanish as official government languages.
Some Indian Reservations in the US have begun to use indigenous languages of their tribal nations, but the official language of all the reservations is English.
Uruguay has a large Italian-speaking minority although are proficient in Spanish and their border with Brazil has a mixed Portuguese-speaking presence.
Cambodia: Khmer is the official language, but French is spoken by a minority and sometimes used in government and education.
Philippines: The Philippine constitution. designates Filipino as the national language and, along with English, as official languages. Regional languages are designated as auxiliary official languages in the regions which shall serve as auxiliary media of instruction therein. Spanish and Arabic are designated to be promoted on a voluntary and optional basis. Some people in native Tagalog areas are bilingual, while in non-Tagalog areas it is common to be multilingual in Filipino, English, and in one or more of the regional language/s, or as in other cases in languages such as Spanish, Min Nan (Hokkien), and Arabic due to factors such as ancestry and religion. Eleven regional languages are recognised by the government as auxiliary official languages in their respective regions, while 90+ other languages and dialects are spoken by various groups.
In Iraq, Arabic is the official language of the state, Kurdish is the official language of the north where 4 million native speakers live. Other languages also exist among Christian communities north of and around Baghdad, such as Aramaic.
In Lebanon, Arabic is the official and national language, French and English are spoken alongside Arabic as foreign languages. Many Lebanese are fluent in English and in French. Armenian is also a language mainly used in the Armenian community.
In Hong Kong, English and Chinese are official languages. All road signs are written in both languages. English is the dominant language in the judiciary and in higher education. Hong Kong Cantonese is the first language of the majority of the population, and is the dominant language in many aspects of everyday life. While Cantonese is the widely spoken form of the Chinese language in Hong Kong, Standard Mandarin is also taught in schools. The degrees of proficiency in English and Mandarin vary from person to person.
Laos: Lao is the official language, but French is spoken by a significant number of the population and used in the government.
In Macau, both Chinese and Portuguese are official languages. While Cantonese is the dominant Chinese language, Standard Mandarin (Putonghua) is also spoken. Chinese is taught in all schools, while Portuguese is mainly taught in government schools. In addition, English is also taught in many schools.
A sign-board that indicates the direction to Sabarimala, a pilgrim station in India. The multilingual board is written in Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu and English (in that order, from top to bottom)
There are 23 official languages in India (Including Hindi and English). The largest, Hindi, is spoken natively by 40% of the population. English is also widely used, although mainly in urban parts of the country. An Indian with a high-school education would generally be bilingual — speaking his or her own native language, in addition to English, with varying fluency, possibly Hindi as well, the languages being compulsorily (in select states) taught in most schools and colleges. see Languages of India.
Pakistan. There are two official languages (English and Urdu) and many regional languages and dialects (the latter are often unintelligible from other dialects of the "same language"). Many high-school and college educated Pakistanis are trilingual, being able to speak English and Urdu as well as their own regional language with varying fluency.
Many people in Indonesia are bilingual at an early age. They speak a local native language with their families whereas the official Indonesian language is used to communicate with people from other regions and is taught in schools as a compulsory subject. Indonesia has 746 native languages.
In Israel, Hebrew and Arabic both have official status. The Jewish population largely speaks Hebrew, though many Jewish immigrants to Israel (especially from Europe) have a different mother tongue, such as Arabic, Amharic, Yiddish, Ladino, Russian, Romanian, Polish, Ukrainian, English, or French and many Jewish immigrants from Latin America speak Spanish and Portuguese. The Arab population of Israel speaks Arabic, which is also the language of instruction in Arab Israeli schools. Functionally, almost all Arabs in Israel also speak Hebrew. English is widely spoken and understood as a second language by both Jews and Arabs. Officially, road signs must be in Hebrew, Arabic, and a romanized Hebrew transliteration.
In Malaysia, nearly all people have a working knowledge of Malay and English. Malay, the official language of the country, and English are compulsory subjects taught in all public schools, and English is the language of instruction for Science and Maths. Chinese (Mandarin) and Tamil are spoken by the Chinese and Indian communities respectively, and are the languages of instruction in Chinese and Tamil primary schools respectively. Among the Chinese community, apart from Mandarin, several Chinese dialects especially Hokkien, Cantonese and Teochew are spoken by the respective communities. The indigenous peoples of Sabah and Sarawak speak their ancestral languages (Dayak, Iban etc.). However, it is not uncommon for the locals to be fluent in several of the above languages.
Singapore: English, Mandarin Chinese, Malay and Tamil are all official languages. While Malay is the national language, English is the main language used in Singapore. As English links the different races, a group with diverse races communicate using English. Most of the population can speak, read and write in English. In addition to English, many Singaporeans can speak their respective ethnic language fairly well, as it is a compulsory subject in school. In Chinese communities, the older generation usually speak their own dialects besides Mandarin and/or English. Learning another language is becoming popular in many schools and Japanese, French or German are usually the choices.
Sri Lanka. Sinhala and Tamil are official languages. English is referred to as the link language in the constitution.
Taiwan: Mandarin Chinese is the "official" language, but Taiwanese is commonly used in most people (especially adults and elders). In the Hakka community, some people are trilingual in Hakka, Mandarin and Taiwanese. Some 10 Aboriginal languages are also spoken in the mountain and eastern portion of the island.
Vietnam: Vietnamese is the official language, and English is the most commonly used and studied second language, especially in education, international relations, and the media. In addition, French is spoken by a small minority of people and elders as it used to be the most common second language.
Belgium has three official languages: Dutch (59%) in the North, French (31%) in the South and a small minority speaks German. Its bilingual capital, Brussels (10%), is mainly French with Dutch as minority. These languages have the status of 'official language' only in specified language areas as defined by the constitution. In Flanders, 59% and 53% of the Flemings know French or English respectively; in Wallonia, only 19% and 17% know Dutch or English. In each region, Belgium's third official language, German, is notably less known than Dutch, French or English. Wallonia recognises all of its vernacular dialect groups as regional languages, Flanders does not.
Cyprus has 2 official languages: Greek & Turkish. Both languages were spoken throughout the island before 1974. After 1974, and the partition of the island, Turkish became the sole official language in the Turkish-Cypriot-controlled north whereas the - internationally recognized - Republic of Cyprus retains both languages as official. English is also widely spoken and understood throughout the island.
In the Czech Republic, several municipalities of Zaolzie area have official bilingualism (Czech and Polish). Bilingual signs are permitted if a minority constitutes at least a 10% of the population of the municipality.
Denmark has one official language, Danish, but at the border to Germany there is an overlap with bilingual Danes, who also speak German.
Estonia has one official language, Estonian, but there is also a sizeable Russian-speaking community (around 30% in 2000) who speak Russian. Russian and other minority languages can theoretically be used in communication with local government and state institutions within the borders of certain constituencies where most permanent residents belong to a respective national minority (Article 51 of the Constitution). Many Estonians can speak Russian, but many Russians are not fluent in Estonian including those who are Estonian citizens, however fluency varies considerably between age groups.
Hungary, the official language is Hungarian. The country has small enclaves and pockets of Croat(ian), German, Romanian, Rusyn or Ruthenian, Serb(ian), Slovak, Slovene and Ukrainian speakers.
Ireland, the first official language of Ireland is Irish with the second being English. English is the first language of the majority of the population.
Italy. The official language overall is Italian, while bilingualism is applied in some territories. In the province of South Tyrol German is co-official. In the Aosta Valley region French is co-official, as is Slovene in some municipalities of the provinces of Trieste and Gorizia. Ladin municipalities of South Tyrol are trilingual (Italian, Ladin, and German). Italian law n. 482/1999 recognizes and protects several other languages, like Sardinian, Friulian, Occitan and other linguistic minorities.
Lithuania has a small Polish speaking minority and a great amount of fluency in Russian.
Luxembourg is a rare example of a truly trilingual society, in that it not only has three official languages, Luxembourgish, French and German, but has a trilingual education system. For the first four years, Luxembourgish is the medium of instruction, before giving way to German, which in turn gives way to French. (In addition, children learn English and sometimes another European language, usually Spanish or Italian.) Similarly in the country's parliament, debates are conducted in Luxembourgish, draft legislation is drafted in German, while the statute laws are in French.
Malta has two official languages, Maltese and English. Italian is also spoken by a large percentage of the population.
The Netherlands has two official languages, Dutch which is the primary language and Frisian which is recognized as a minority language and spoken by between 300,000 and 700,000 people. Frisian is mostly spoken in the province of Fryslân where it is the official first language. Low Saxon is recognized as a regional language in the northeastern provinces of the country, and Limburgish is an official regional language in Netherlands Limburg.
In Romania, the official language is Romanian but significant minority languages are recognized on the local level. The biggest ethnic minority is the Hungarian community of 1.4 million (6.6%).
ex-Soviet republics and Warsaw Pact countries: many people fluently speak Russian, especially in Slavic countries within the area of the former USSR (typically in Belarus and Ukraine), along with Moldova, which has a Slavic minority. However, few Polish, Slovak or Czech people speak Russian, despite huge expenditures in the past.
Among the Maris, widespread trilingualism has been reported (Mari-Russian-Tatar; Mari-Chuvash-Russian; Mari-Udmurt-Russian; even four languages used intermittently: Mari-Tatar-Udmurt-Russian in Mari-Turek areas)
In the 1980s, almost all the Karelians were bilingual, speaking both Karelian and Russian (being Karelian-Finnish bilingual in Finland). Trilingualism Karelian-Finnish-Russian also occurred in the Karelian ASSR.
Abkhazia. According to Georgian law, Georgian and Abkhazian are official languages; according to Abkhazian law — Abkhazian and Russian. The elder generation of Abkhazis spoke Georgian, Russian and Abkhazi.
In Carpathian Ruthenia, Ukraine, Slovaks living near Uzhhorod speak Ukrainian and Hungarian in addition to their mother tongue, Slovakian. In villages near Mukachevo Germans (Swabian dialect speakers) also speak Hungarian and Ukrainian.
The United Kingdom has no official language de jure however the Home Nations vary:
Ulster Scots, a variety of Scots, is spoken by some in Northern Ireland, but again English is far more commonly used and Ulster Scots is less actively used in media. Irish and Ulster Scots now both have official status in Northern Ireland as part of the 1998 Belfast Agreement.
Scotland. 58,652 Gaelic speakers, mostly concentrated in the Highlands and the Hebrides, the traditional heartland of Gaelic culture. Also Scots with approximately 2 to 3 million speakers — a Germanic language closely related to English.
Wales with 611,000 Welsh speakers, including the majority of the population in parts of north and west Wales.
England, No official multi-lingualism, despite the presence of immigrant languages in urban centres and the Cornish language in Cornwall after two centuries of extinction was revived in the Cornwall region in the early 20th century.
In New Zealand, a small percentage of the population has some reasonable degree of bilingualism with English and Māori, mostly among the Māori themselves; few are fully fluent in Māori. New Zealand Sign Language is also an official language. English is the main language with over 99% of the population speaking it fluently.
In many cities around the globe, a majority of the population frequently speaks two or more languages. There are also large cities with high numbers of immigrants such as Amsterdam; London; New York; Paris; Sydney; and Vancouver, where dozens of languages can be heard, but the majority of the population are monolingual.
There are many more cities of multilingual speakers where multilingualism a part of everyday life.
Brussels, Belgium — Dutch, French (both official) and English due to the EU and NATO headquarters.
Buenos Aires — Spanish, but ethnic communities founded by immigrants brought Italian, German, French, Levantine Arabic and Serbo-Croatian among others.
Bukhara, Uzbekistan - Uzbek is the sole official language of the Republic of Uzbekistan. However, the majority of the inhabitants are Tajik speaking Tajiks. Russian is still spoken by many of the inhabitants as well as Uzbek by ethnic Uzbeks and Uzbekicized Tajiks who were forced to speak Uzbek during the Soviet period.
Durban, South Africa — English, Zulu, and Indian languages.
Dushanbe, Tajikistan - Tajik is the official language of the Republic of Tajikistan and the mother tongue of the majority of the population. Russian is still spoken by a majority of the inhabitants, especially older citizens who are either ethnic Tajiks or ethnic Russians. Russian was recently removed as the "Language of Inter-ethnic Communication" however most inhabitants continue to use it as their primary language in the capital of the Former Soviet Republic.
El Paso, Texas, USA/Ciudad Juárez, Mexico — English (used mostly in El Paso) and Spanish (dominant in the area as a whole, and also widely used on the US side).
Fribourg, Switzerland — French, German (both official) and Italian.
Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil — Portuguese, Spanish and there is substantial Korean, Chinese and Arabic-speaking immigrant settlement.
George Town, Malaysia — Penang Hokkien (Lingua Franca), English, Malay, Mandarin, Tamil and other Indian Languages, Teochew and other Chinese Dialects, Thai (spoken by Malaysian Thais) and other languages spoken by expatriates (e.g. Japanese, Indonesian, Vietnamese, German)
Mexico City, Mexico — Spanish is the most commonly spoken language, but rural-to-urban migration brought indigenous languages often are Mayan and Aztec-Nahuatl. There is also big presence of English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Hebrew, Arabic, Catalan, Galician, Basque, Armenian, and Chinese speakers.
Montreal, Canada — French (official, Montreal is the 2nd largest French speaking city in the world) and English. Spanish, Italian, Greek, Haitian Creole, Portugal and Arabic communities are especially common.
Samarqand, Uzbekistan - Uzbek is the sole official language of the Republic of Uzbekistan. However, the majority of the inhabitants are Tajik speaking Tajiks. Russian is still spoken by many of the inhabitants as well as Uzbek by ethnic Uzbeks and Uzbekicized Tajiks who were forced to speak Uzbek during the Soviet period.
San Antonio, USA — English (official), and Spanish (commonly spoken by large Hispanic/Mexican/Tejano community).
San Diego, USA — English (official, most common) and Spanish, due to proximity to the border in Tijuana.
San Juan, Puerto Rico — English, Spanish (both official, however the latter is spoken as a mother language).
Santa Ana, California, USA — English (official in city government), but has emphasized the usage of Spanish for its Hispanic majority, Vietnamese for its many Vietnamese-American residents and 50 known languages in the city.
Seattle, Washington, USA — In the Downtown and International districts, one can find street signs, business strips and trash can labels in six to eight languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Korean, Vietnamese; and in some cases Russian and Japanese.
Tallinn, Estonia — the only official language is Estonian, however a large proportion of the population speak Russian as their native language (46,9% in 2010) and other minority languages — Ukrainian (1,35%), Belarusian (0,53%) and others, while Estonian is the mother tongue of 49,8% of the inhabitants. Despite the lack of official recognition Russian is very widely used in commerce (e.g. bilingual advertisements, announcements at shopping centers etc.).
Tashkent, Uzbekistan - Uzbek is the sole official language of the Uzbek republic and the mother tongue of Uzbeks. However many ethnic Russians who speak Russian have been living in Tashkent since the Russian Colonial Era and Soviet Period, where Tashkent was the capital and largest central city of the Central Asian Republics of the Russian Empire and later USSR. Other languages such as Tajik and Kyrgyz, Tatar, Kazakh, and Turkmen are spoken by other ethnic minorities.
Vancouver, Canada — English, Mandarin Chinese/Cantonese Chinese (large ethnic Chinese community), Punjabi, Persian, Tagalog, Korean, Italian, German, French and a few First Nations languages in Indian Reserves of the region.