A national anthem is usually in the
national or most common language of the country, whether
de facto or
official, there are notable exceptions. Most commonly, states with more than one
national language may offer several versions of their anthem, for instance:
- The "
Swiss Psalm", the national anthem of
Switzerland, has different lyrics for each of the country's four
official languages (
- The national anthem of
O Canada", has official lyrics in both English and French which are not translations of each other, and is frequently sung with a mixture of stanzas, representing the country's
bilingual nature. The song itself was originally written in French.
The Soldier's Song", the national anthem of
Ireland, was originally written and adopted in English, but an
Irish translation, although never formally adopted, is nowadays almost always sung instead.
- The current
South African national anthem is unique in that five of the country's eleven official languages are used in the same anthem (the first
stanza is divided between two languages, with each of the remaining three stanzas in a different language). It was created by combining two different songs together and then modifying the lyrics and adding new ones.
- One of the two official national anthems of
New Zealand, "
God Defend New Zealand", is commonly now sung with the first verse in
Māori ("Aotearoa") and the second in
English ("God Defend New Zealand"). The tune is the same but the words are not a direct translation of each other.
God Bless Fiji" has lyrics in English and
Fijian which are not translations of each other. Although official, the Fijian version is rarely sung, and it is usually the English version that is performed at international sporting events.
Singapore has four official languages, with English being the lingua franca, the national anthem, "
Majulah Singapura" is in
Malay and by law can only be sung with its original Malay lyrics, despite the fact that Malay is a minority language in Singapore.
Pakistan's national anthem "
Qaumi Taranah" is in
Persian language which was the cultural and the official language of the
Mughal Empire. Pakistanis can understand the national anthem as it is considered to be in Persianized
Urdu. There is only one word "Ka" which is exclusively from the Urdu language.
- There are several countries that do not have official lyrics to their national anthems. One of these is the "
Marcha Real", the national anthem of
Spain. Although it originally had lyrics those lyrics were discontinued after governmental changes in the early 1980s. In 2007 a national competition to write words was held, but no lyrics were chosen.
 Other national anthems with no words include "
Inno Nazionale della Repubblica", the national anthem of
San Marino, and that of
Kosovo, entitled "
national anthem of
Jana Gana Mana", has lyrics in the
Bengali language, despite the fact that India has 22 official languages, with
Hindi being the first official language and the most widely spoken of them.
- Despite the most common language in
Wales being English, the Welsh regional anthem "
Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau" is sung in the