A for Athlete

Linguistic flags[]

Languages rarely have a flag designed to represent them[1], it is a common practice, though unofficial, to use national flags to identify them. Examples of this use include:

  • representing language skills of an individual, like a staff member of a company
  • displaying available languages on a multilingual website or software.

Though this can be done in an uncontroversial manner in some cases, this can easily lead to some problems for certain languages:

  • languages generating language dispute (like Romanian and Moldavian which some consider as two different languages)
  • languages spoken in more than one countries, for examples English, Arabic, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish (see also World language)

In this second case, common solutions include symbolising these languages by:

  • the flag of the country where the language originated
  • the flag of the country having the largest number of native speakers
  • a mixed flag of the both (when this is not the same)
  • the flag of the country most identified with that language in a specific region (Portuguese: Portuguese or Brazilian flag; English: UK or US flag)

Thus, on the Internet, it is common to see the English language associated to the flag of the United States, the flag of the United Kingdom, the flag of England or an US-UK mixed flag.