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At 0.17 square miles in size with a population of only 825 people, you’d expect the Vatican City to speak only one or two languages. Yet, the languages of the Vatican City are more diverse than any other country in Europe. Not bad for the smallest country in the world.

Indeed, it is the only country where Latin is the official language, and there over 40 languages spoken in the country, some with billions of speakers, and others with only a few hundred thousand…

Official Languages of Vatican City

According to the Vatican City, there are two official languages spoken in the country – one historical/cultural/clerical language and one administrative language.


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Latin (Clerical/Historical Language)

Italian (Administrative Language)

Papal Languages

Since the creation of the modern Vatican state in 1929, there have been eight Popes, who have had four native languages in total:

Italian (Popes Pius XI, Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul I)

Polish (Pope John Paul II)

German (Pope Benedict XVI)

Spanish (Pope Francis)

Other Languages of Vatican City

Though not official in any capacity, the Vatican City uses several other languages.

Either they are the native languages of the people who live in the country (as there are no native-born citizens of the Vatican City) or a language that the Vatican’s website and/or newspaper (L’Osservatore Romano) publish in:

Albanian

Amharic

Arabic

Belarussian

Bulgarian

Chinese

Croatian

Czech

Dutch

English

French

Greek

Hebrew

Hindi

Hungarian

Indonesian

Japanese

Korean

Latvian

Lithuanian

Macedonian

Malayalam

Maltese

Polish

Portuguese

Romanian

Russian

Slovak

Slovene

Swahili

Swedish

Tamil

Tigrinya

Ukrainian

Vietnamese

What do you think of the languages of the Vatican City? Do you speak any (besides English of course)? Tell me in the comments!