What Languages Are Spoken In Libya?

Arabic, the official language of Libya.
Arabic, the official language of Libya.

In Libya, Arabic is the official language of the country and several varieties of the language are spoken throughout the country. English, Italian, and French are popular foreign languages spoken in Libya. Several minority languages like Berber, Domari, and Tedaga are also spoken in Libya.

Official Language Of Libya


The official language of Libya is Arabic. Although Modern Standard Arabic is used in most formal occasions, the local spoken language or the common spoken vernacular in Libya is the Libyan Arabic. The language has two major dialects, the eastern and the western varieties. Tunisian Arabic and Egyptian Arabic are also spoken in different parts of the country.

Minority Languages Spoken In Libya


Several Berber languages are spoken in Libya such as Awjilah, Tamasheq, Nafusi, Ghadamès, and others. Earlier, the Berber languages were not recognized by Libya’s government nor were they taught in schools. The former head of the country Muammar Gaddafi was completely against the use of the language and considered it as a "product of colonialism” that divided Libya. For a whole year, the naming of children in Berber was strictly prohibited in the country. However, after the recent uprisings in Libya, the mindset towards the Berber languages have widened.


The Domari language is spoken by the Dom people of Libya. The language belongs to the family of Indo-Aryan languages and is spoken in several countries of North Africa and the Middle East. The Domari language is currently considered to be an endangered language and is mainly spoken by the elderly generation of the Dom people.


The Teda people speak the Tedaga language which is a Nilo-Saharan language. The speakers of this language are found in southern Libya. The language is also spoken in parts of northern Chad and eastern Niger.

Foreign Languages Spoken In Italy


The Italian language is the most popular foreign language spoken in the country. It is the most widely spoken second language and serves as the language of commerce and also acts as a lingua franca by helping Libyans to communicate with foreigners using this language. The Italian language is also spoken by the Italian Libyan community residing in the nation.


English is also another important foreign language that is spoken in Libya. The language is popular among the young generation of the country. Libyans who received their education in the western European nations also speak English fluently.


The use of French in Libya became popular since the time France started helping Libya to recover following the intense Libyan Civil War that severely impacted life in the country. Like English, the language is also popular among the younger generation of Libyans.


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