World map: Country, language, writing system

This map shows the distribution of the main writing systems for official languages aroung the globe.

Hover the mouse cursor on the map to see the main writin system of each individual country. A click opens the glyphs of that script. Or you can hover on the alphabetic scripts and syllabaries on the right to show all the countries where this writing system is in use.

In addition to the main writing systems shown here, a whole range of other scripts are in use around the world, most notably Brahmi/Indic scripts. They have, however, not been included in this synopsis of the writing systems of the world, because they are only actively used in small geographic regions or by limited sets of writers, 

Many countries have more than one official language, and these are sometimes written in different writing systems such as latin and arabic (r.g. in Algeria, Somalia and Chad).

  • The latin alphabet is most widely used. It is the basis of the writing system for approx. 2.5 – 3.5 billion people around the world, depending on the way you count. (The numbers depend on e.g. whether you count all inhabitants of countries with official languages from more than one wiriting system. One also needs to differentiate between speakers of a language which is written in a specific sript, and literate speakers actually able to read and write that language.)
  • Chinese characters are the basis for approx. 1.5 billion people mainly in China, but also in Japan, Taiwan and Singapur.
  • The languages of roughly 1,5 billion people are written in one of the Brahmi / Abugida scripts. Among these, Devanagari is the writing system for 600 million speakers of Hindi.    
  • Finally, cyrillic and arabic are the basis for the writing systems of almost half a billion people each.
 
 
CountryOfficial languageWriting system
AfghanistanPashtoo, Dari (Persian)Arabic
AlbaniaAlbanianLatin
AlgeriaArabic, FrenchArabic, Latin
AndorraSpanishLatin
AngolaPortugeseLatin
Antigua and BarbudaEnglishLatin
ArgentiniaSpanishLatin
ArmeniaArmenianArmenian
AustraliaEnglishLatin
AustriaGermanLatin
AzerbaijanAzerbaijaniLatin
BahamasEnglishLatin
BahreinArabicArabic
BangladeshBengaliBengali
BarbadosEnglishLatin
BelarusBelorussian, RussianCyrillic
BelgiumFrench, DutchLatin
BelizeEnglishLatin
BeninFrenchLatin
BhutanDzongkhaTibetan
BoliviaSpanishLatin
Bosnia and HerzegovinaBosnian, Serbian, CroatianLatin
BotswanaEnglish, SetswanaLatin
BrazilPortugeseLatin
BruneiMalayLatin
BulgariaBulgarianCyrillic
Burkina FasoFrenchLatin
Burma (Myanmar)MyanmarMyanmar
BurundiFrench, KirundiLatin
CambodiaKhmerKhmer
CameroonFrench, EnglishLatin
CanadaEnglish, FrenchLatin
Cape VerdePortugeseLatin
Central African RepublicSango, FrenchLatin
ChadArabic, FrenchArabic, Latin
ChileSpanishLatin
ChinaChinese (Mandarin)Chinese (simplified)
ColombiaSpanishLatin
ComorosComorian, Arabic, FrenchArabic, Latin
CongoFrenchLatin
Congo, RepublicFrenchLatin
Costa RicaSpanishLatin
Cote d IvoireFrenchLatin
CroatiaCroatianLatin
CubaSpanishLatin
CyprusGreek, TurkishGreek, Latin
Czech RepublicCzechLatin
DenmarkDanish, Inuktitut, FaroeseLatin
DjiboutiArabic, FrenchArabic, Latin
DominicaEnglishLatin
Dominican RepublicSpanishLatin
East TimorTetum, PortugeseLatin
EcuadorSpanishLatin
EgyptArabicArabic
El SalvadorSpanishLatin
Equatorial GuineaSpanish, FrenchLatin
EritreaArabic, TigrinyaArabic, Ethiopian
EstoniaEstonianLatin
EthiopiaAmharicEthiopian
FijiFiji, English, HindustaniLatin, Devanagari
FinlandFinnishLatin
FranceFrenchLatin
GabonFrenchLatin
GambiaEnglishLatin
GeorgiaGeorgianGeorgian
GermanyGermanLatin
GhanaEnglishLatin
GreeceGreekGreek
GrenadaEnglishLatin
GuatemalaSpanishLatin
GuineaFrenchLatin
Guinea-BissauPortugeseLatin
GuyanaEnglishLatin
HaitiHaitian, FrenchLatin
HondurasSpanishLatin
HungaryHungarianLatin
IcelandIcelandicLatin
IndiaHindi, EnglishDevanagari, Latin
IndonesiaIndonesianLatin
IranPersian (Farsi)Arabic
IraqArabic, KurdishArabic
IrelandEnglish, IrishLatin
IsraelHebrew, ArabicHebrew, Arabic
ItalyItalianLatin
JamaicaEnglishLatin
JapanJapaneseHiragana, Katakana, Kanji
JordanArabicArabic
KazakhstanKazakh, RussianCyrillic
KenyaSwahili, EnglishLatin
KiribatiKiribati, EnglishLatin
KuwaitArabicArabic
KyrgyzstanKirghiz, RussianCyrillic
LaosLaoLao
LatviaLatvianLatin
LebanonArabicArabic
LesothoSesotho, EnglishLatin
LiberiaEnglishLatin
LibyaArabicArabic
LiechtensteinGermanLatin
LithuaniaLithuanianLatin
LuxembourgGerman, French, LuxembourgishLatin
MacedoniaMacedonianCyrillic
MadagascarMalagasy, FrenchLatin
MalawiChichewa, EnglishLatin
MalaysiaMalayLatin
MaledivesDivehiThaana
MaliFrenchLatin
MaltaMaltese, EnglishLatin
Marshall IslandsMarshallese, EnglishLatin
MauritaniaArabic, FrenchArabic, Latin
MauritiusEnglishLatin
MexicoSpanishLatin
MicronesiaEnglish, ...Latin
MoldovaRomanianLatin
MonacoFrenchLatin
MongoliaMongolianCyrillic
MontenegroMontenegrinCyrillic, Latin
MoroccoArabic, TamazightArabic
MozambiquePortugeseLatin
NamibiaEnglishLatin
NauruNauruan, EnglishLatin
NepalNepaliDevanagari
NetherlandsDutchLatin
New ZealandEnglish, MaoriLatin
NicaraguaSpanishLatin
NigerFrenchLatin
NigeriaEnglish, Igbo, Yoruba, HaussaLatin
North KoreaKoreanHangul, Hanja
NorwayNorseLatin
OmanArabicArabic
PakistanUrduArabic
PalauEnglish, PalauLatin
PalestineHebrew, ArabicHebrew, Arabic
PanamaSpanishLatin
Papua New GuineaTok Pisin, Hiri Motu, EnglishLatin
ParaguayGuaraní, SpanishLatin
PeruQuechua, Aymaran, SpanishLatin
PhilippinesFilipino, EnglishLatin
PolandPolishLatin
PortugalPortugeseLatin
QatarArabicArabic
RomaniaRomanianLatin
RussiaRussianCyrillic
RwandaKinyarwanda, French, EnglishLatin
St. Kitts and NevisEnglishLatin
St. LuciaEnglishLatin
St. VincentEnglishLatin
SamoaSamoan, EnglishLatin
San MarinoItalianLatin
Sao Tome and PríncipePortugeseLatin
Saudi ArabiaArabicArabic
SenegalFrenchLatin
SerbiaSerbianCyrillic
SeychellesEnglish, French, CreoleLatin
Sierra LeoneEnglishLatin
SingaporeChinese, English, Malay, TamilChinese, Latin, Tamil
SlovakiaSlovakLatin
SloveniaSloveneLatin
Solomon IslandsEnglishLatin
SomaliaArabic, SomaliArabic, Latin
South AfricaAfrikaans, EnglishLatin
South KoreaKoreanHangul, Hanja
South SudanEnglishLatin
SpainSpanish, CatalanLatin
Sri LankaSinhala, TamilSinhala, Tamil
SudanArabic, EnglishArabic, Latin
SurinameDutchLatin
SwazilandSiswati, EnglishLatin
SwedenSwedishLatin
SwitzerlandGerman, French, ItalianLatin
SyriaArabicArabic
TajikistanTajik (Persian)Cyrillic
TanzaniaSwahili, EnglishLatin
ThailandThaiThai
TogoFrenchLatin
TongaTongan, EnglishLatin
Trinidad and TobagoEnglishLatin
TunisiaArabicArabic
TurkeyTurkishLatin
TurkmenistanTurkmenianLatin
TuvaluPolynesian, EnglishLatin
UgandaSwahili, EnglishLatin
UkraineUkrainianCyrillic
United Arab Emirates ArabicArabic
United Kingdom (UK)EnglishLatin
United States (USA)EnglishLatin
UruguaySpanishLatin
UzbekistanUzbekLatin
VanuatuBislama, English, FrenchLatin
Vatican CityLatin, ItalianLatin
VenezuelaSpanishLatin
VietnamVietnameseLatin
YemenArabicArabic
ZambiaEnglishLatin
ZimbabweEnglish, Shona, NdebeleLatin