During centuries of colonial control, 14 percent of the population speaks Portuguese, the official language of administration and national communication. Kriol, a Portuguese-based creole language that functions as a national language of communication among groups, is spoken by 44 percent of the population. The others speak a range of native African languages that are exclusive to ethnic groups.
The majority of Portuguese and Mestiços speakers also speak one or more African languages, as well as Kriol. Because Guinea-Bissau is surrounded by French-speaking countries, French is also taught in schools. Guinea-Bissau is a full Francophonie member.