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Question #437 posted on 09/16/2003 midnight
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,
What single language holds the record for being the official language of the most countries?
- KGH

A: Dear KGH,

Spanish and English are essentially tied, each assigned official status in approximately 17.5 countries (they are only an official language in parts of some countries). Official language doesn't always reflect what the people most commonly speak, and some countries do not even have an official language. For more info, I recommend: http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Official-language

~yo hablo espanol
A: Dear KGH,

This doesn't directly answer your question but hey, you'll thank me when this category comes up in Jeopardy and you make a clean sweep including the Daily Double. These are 1999 numbers. Language- Approx. number of speakers
1. Chinese (Mandarin)- 1,075,000,000
2. English- 514,000,000
3. Hindustani- 496,000,000
4. Spanish- 425,000,000
5. Russian- 275,000,000
6. Arabic- 256,000,000
7. Bengali- 215,000,000
8. Portuguese- 194,000,000
9. Malay-Indonesian- 176,000,000
10. French- 129,000,000
Wow, I can talk to about a billion people.

Cheers,
- §åüRû$