national language of algeria

Facts About Algeria’s Official Languages (You Don’t Know)

(Last Updated On: October 12, 2022)


Did you know that the country of Algeria has two official or national languages? Yes, that’s right! French language and Arabic both have an official status within the nation of Algeria.

Now, you may be wondering what that means for the citizenry there. That’s what we’re going to cover in this blog post on facts about Algeria’s official languages.

Read on to learn more as it promises to be a great post about Algeria’s regio

The History of French in Algeria

The French language has a long history in Algeria, dating back to the 18th century when French colonization first began. However, it wasn’t until the 19th century that French became the primary language of instruction in schools and the main language used in official documents.

During the 18th century or the colonial period, coastal towns were home to many native Algerian speakers of French, but as oil prices increased and France began to rule more tightly, Arabic became the dominant language once again.

In 1962, when Algeria gained independence from France, Arabic was made the national language.

Although foreign languages are taught in secondary schools, Algerian students typically don’t learn a second language until college. As a result, few Algerians are fluent in both Arabic and French.

However, the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) is an organization that promotes the usage of French in its 55 member countries around the world. The OIF’s members include most African countries and some non-African countries such as Haiti, which is also a Francophone country.

algeria langauge

French Colonisation and the Algerian Mother Tongue

In 1830, the French colonized Algeria and renamed it French Algeria as part of their colonial empire. During this period, Algeria was forced to adopt the French language as its official tongue, meaning that most people were no longer speaking their mother tongues, such as Berber and Arabic, on a daily basis. However, due to strong Algerian resistance against the French government’s linguistic policies in the mid-1900s, Algerian citizens were able to regain their right to speak in their mother tongues, like Berber and Arabic.


Algeria’s official language is French, though a number of other languages are spoken in this African country as well. The country was colonized by France at its inception in 1830, and the French language became the primary means of communication. In 1962, Algeria gained its independence from France, but it maintained French as its national language.
Nevertheless, other languages are used throughout the country: The Amazigh language is a minority indigenous language spoken by about 10% of Algeria’s population.

main language of algeria

Why was french chosen as an official language?

There are a variety of reasons why French was chosen as an official language in Algeria. One reason is that it’s used in many international contexts – for example, during colonial times, French had become the most important language for trade in Northern Africa.

Another reason is that it is the primary language of many Algerians who speak one of Algeria’s indigenous languages as their mother tongue. However, this last point could also be seen as a negative aspect: many people still think that Arabic should be Algeria’s national language.

How many people can speak french in Algeria?

French is Algeria’s official language, but only about 2% of people speak it as their mother tongue. Algeria gained its independence from France in 1962, which led to a spike in Arabic usage. French is still dominant due to its history as an international language.

Why French is still an important language today

The French language is still an important language in Algeria today because it was the primary language during French rule. Many of the regional languages spoken in Algeria are African languages that are closely related to French.

Although there exist these African languages, the Arabic language is the other official language, but it is not as widely spoken as French. Primary school education is conducted in French. So, most Algerians learn to speak and read the language.

Even though Algerians use other languages more often in daily life, knowing French gives them an advantage when applying for jobs or traveling abroad. Schools continue to teach a bilingual curriculum with French taught alongside the native language.

What are the other official languages in Algeria?

The other official language in Algeria is French. Arabic is the main language spoken in Algeria, with about 80% of the population speaking it as their first language. French is also widely spoken, with about 30% of the population speaking it as their first language.

Algerian Sign Language is also an official language. Arabic is a Semitic language that has become widespread throughout North Africa and Western Asia. Arabic speakers are primarily Muslim, but Arabic is used by many non-Muslims in countries like Iraq and Syria to learn the Qur’an.

Are Algerians monolingual in Arabic?

Algeria is a fascinating country with a rich culture and history. Did you know that it has two official languages? Arabic is the most widely spoken language in Algeria, but French is also an official language.

Algerians are mostly monolingual in Arabic, but some also speak French or Berber. Algerian Sign Language is also recognized as an official language. It was ratified by the law of June 18, 2008 on accessible communication.

The Arabization of Algeria began during the Ottoman Empire (15th-19th centuries) which led to the significant decline of local languages such as Kabyle and Wolof. The Arabs introduced their own written script called aljamiado to use alongside Latin scripts.

Some Algerians are bilingual in Arabic and French because many primary schools teach in both languages starting from grades 1-4; however, once students reach high school level instruction switches to only Arabic or French depending on what type of high school they attend.

algeria official languages
official languages of algeria

Some interesting facts about Algeria’s Official Languages

1. Arabic is the official language of Algeria, but French is also widely spoken. In fact, Algeria’s constitution guarantees the equality of Arabic and French.

2. The majority of Algerians speak Algerian Arabic, which is a dialect of Maghrebi Arabic. This form of Arabic is also spoken in Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya. Algerian Arabic has many loanwords from French and Berber.

3. Tamazight is the other official language of Algeria. Tamazight is the Berber language that is spoken by around 4 million people in Algeria.

4. In addition to Tamazight, there are around 120 other languages and dialects spoken in Algeria, some of which are endangered.

5. Among these languages, Kabyle is by far the most common non-Arabic language with 2 million speakers in Kabylie.

6. There are also 20 or so nomadic tribes living across Algeria that speak their own languages like Chaoui, Zouaoua, and Tuareg.

7. Due to widespread illiteracy, Tamazight and French have become vital to passing on traditional knowledge and culture among generations.

8. More than half of Algerian school children use only one language at home: French (52%) or Arabic (48%).

9. Although not an official language of Algeria, Spanish can be found all over the country due to its proximity to Spain as well as its legacy during the colonial period.

10. There are 12 universities in Algeria that offer degrees in foreign languages such as English, Italian, Russian and German.


Which language is widely spoken in Algeria?

While the majority of Algerians speak Arabic, there is a significant minority who speak French as the primary language. In fact, Algeria is one of the few African countries to have French as an official language.

What are the top 3 languages spoken in Algeria?

The top three languages spoken in Algeria are Arabic, French, and Berber. All these are used as the language of instruction in schools.

How many official languages are there in Algeria?

Most people know that Arabic is an official language in Algeria, but there are actually two official languages. The other is French.

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