Languages of Libya

Official language Arabic. Government policy discourages use of other languages, but English used extensively--even by government for some purposes--and ranks as a second language.

Italian and French also spoken, and small minorities speak Berber dialects. Arabic-speaking Sunni Muslims of mixed Arab and Berber ancestry make up well over 90 percent of indigenous population. Most of remainder Berbers, Tuaregs, and black Africans, and small but long-settled Greek and Maltese communities.

Expatriates, imported under government contract to meet labor shortages, largely citizens of other Muslim countries; many technical and professional positions filled by East and West Europeans. Altogether, representatives of more than 100 nationalities live in Libya.

Last Updated on Monday 4th August 2008