A national language is a language (or language variant, e.g. dialect) that has some connection—''de facto'' or ''de jure''—with a people and the territory they occupy. The term is used variously. A national language may for instance represent the national identity of a nation or country. National language may alternatively be a designation given to one or more languages spoken as first languages in the territory of a country.
C.M.B. Brann, with particular reference to Africa, suggests that there are "four quite distinctive meanings" for national language in a polity:〔Brann, C.M.B. 1994. "The National Language Question: Concepts and Terminology." ''Logos'' (of Namibia, Windhoek ) Vol 14: 125–134〕
*"Territorial language" (''chthonolect'', sometimes known as ''chtonolect''〔Wolff, H. Ekkehard "African Languages: An Introduction Ch./Art: Language and Society p. 321 pub. Cambride University Press 2000〕) of a particular people
*"Regional language" (''choralect'')
*"Language-in-common or community language" (''demolect'') used throughout a country
*"Central language" (''politolect'') used by government and perhaps having a symbolic value.
The last is usually given the title of official language.
Standard languages, such as Standard German, Standard French, and Standard Spanish, may serve as national (language-in-common), regional, and international languages.
== Official versus national languages ==
"National language" and "official language" are best understood as two concepts or legal categories with ranges of meaning that may coincide, or may be intentionally separate. Obviously a stateless nation is not in the position to legislate an official language, but their languages may be sufficiently distinct and well-preserved to be national languages.
Some languages may be recognized popularly as "national languages," while others may enjoy official recognition in use and/or promotion. Some examples of national languages that are not official languages include Cherokee, Navajo, and other living Native American languages.
In many African countries, some or all indigenous African languages are officially used, promoted and/or expressly allowed to be promoted (usually taught in schools and written in important publications) as semi-official languages whether by long-term legislation or short-term, case-by-case executive (government) measures. "Official language" status may be reserved to a lingua franca such as the former empire-related language(s) (English, French, Portuguese, Afrikaans or Spanish) or other trans-national language (such as Arabic or Swahili) which typically means few government publications and signs are translated into all (or under the most authoritarian regimes, any) other languages.
To be official, spoken and written languages may enjoy government or federalised use, major tax-funded promotion or at least full tolerance as to their teaching and employers' recognition in public education, standing pari passu with the official language(s). Further, they may enjoy recognition as a compulsory publication official language and treasury money may be spent to teach or encourage adults in learning a language which is a minority language in a particular area to restore its understanding and spread its moral stories, rhymes, poems, phrases, songs and other literary heritage which will promote social cohesion (where other languages remain) or will promote nationalist differentiation where another, non-indigenous language is deprecated.〔''20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language'' http://www.plean2028.ie/en/node/14〕
抄文引用元・出典: フリー百科事典『 ウィキペディア（Wikipedia）』