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Top 30 languages of the world


Language statistics & facts | Top 30 languages | 20 countries with the most languages
Language families: By speakers - By languages | Languages in the United States


There are approximately 6900 languages currently spoken around the world, the majority of which have only a small number of speakers. About 4 billion of the earth's 6.5 billion people, or over 60% of the earth's population, speak one of the following 30 languages as their native tongue.

Languages are ordered in the table below by numbers of native speakers. Numbers of second-language speakers are given where known. Second language speakers are those whose native language is typically a minority language of the country in which they live and who learn the second language because it is the official national language of the country where they reside.

Top 30 Languages by Number of Native Speakers
Data source: Ethnologue: Languages of the World, 15th ed. (2005) & Wikipedia.org.

  Language approximate # of speakers   Where is it spoken as an official language?
1. Mandarin Chinese NATIVE: 873 million
2nd: 178 million
TOTAL: 1.051 billion
  OFFICIAL: People's Republic of China, Republic of China, Singapore
2. Hindi NATIVE: 370 million
2nd:120 million
TOTAL: 490 million
  OFFICIAL: India, Fiji
3. Spanish NATIVE: 350 million
2nd: 70 million
TOTAL: 420 million
  OFFICIAL: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, United States (New Mexico, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Venezuela
4. English NATIVE: 340 million
TOTAL: 510 million
  OFFICIAL: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, Cameroon, Canada, Dominica, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Fiji, The Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Hong Kong (People's Republic of China), India, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Maritius, Micronesia, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevs, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somolia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, Vanuatu, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
5. Arabic NATIVE: 206 million
2nd: 24 million
TOTAL: 230 million

[World Almanac est. total 255 million]
  OFFICIAL: Modern Standard Arabic: Algeria, Bahrain, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Niger, Oman, Palestinian Territories, Quatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Western Sahara, Yemen. | Hasaniya Arabic: Mauritania, Senegal
NATIONAL: Mali

Note: These figures combine all the varieties of Arabic. Some data sources, e.g. CIA World Fact Book, World Almanac, Ethnologue, treat these varieties as separate languages.
6. Portuguese NATIVE: 203 million
2nd: 10 million
TOTAL: 213 million
  OFFICIAL: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Macau (People's Republic of China), Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé e Príncipe.
7. Bengali NATIVE: 196 million
TOTAL: 215 million
  OFFICIAL: Bangladesh, India (Tripura, West Bengal)
8. Russian NATIVE: 145 million
2nd: 110 million
TOTAL: 255 million
  OFFICIAL: Abkhazia (part of Georgia), Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyyrgyzstan, Russia, Transnistria (part of Moldova).
9. Japanese NATIVE: 126 million
2nd: 1 million
TOTAL: 127 million
  OFFICIAL: Japan, Palau
10. German NATIVE: 101 million
2nd: 128 million
TOTAL: 229 million
  OFFICIAL: Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy (South Tyrol), Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Poland, Siwtzerland



  Language # of speakers   Where is it spoken as an official language?
11. Panjabi Western: 60 million
Eastern: 28 million
TOTAL: 88 million
  OFFICIAL: India (Punjab)
NATIONAL: Pakistan
12. Javanese 76 million   OFFICIAL: Indonesia (esp. Java)
13. Korean 71 million   OFFICIAL: North Korea, South Korea
14. Vietnamese NATIVE: 70 million
2nd: 16 million
TOTAL: 86 million
  OFFICIAL: Vietnam
15. Telugu NATIVE: 70 million
2nd: 5 million
TOTAL: 75 million
  OFFICIAL: India (Andhra Pradesh)
16. Marathi NATIVE: 68 million
2nd: 3 million
TOTAL: 71 million
  OFFICIAL: India (Daman and Diu, Goa, Maharashtra)
17. Tamil NATIVE: 68 million
2nd: 9 million
TOTAL: 77 million
  OFFICIAL: India (Tamil Nadu), Singapore, Sri Lanka
18. French NATIVE: 67 million
2nd: 63 million
TOTAL: 130 million
  OFFICIAL or NATIONAL: Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo-Brazzaville, Congo-Kinshasa, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, France, French Polynesia, Gabon, Guernsey, Guinea, Haiti, India (Karikal, Pondicherry), Italy, Jersey, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Martinique, Mauritius, Mayotte, Monaco, New Caledonia, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Switzerland, Togo, United States (Louisiana), Vanuatu.
19. Urdu NATIVE: 61 million
2nd: 43 million
TOTAL: 104 million
  OFFICIAL: India (Jammu and Kashmir), Pakistan.
20. Italian 61 million   OFFICIAL: Croatia (Istria Country), Italy, San Marino, Slovenia, Switzerland.




  Language # of speakers   Where is it spoken as an official language?
21. Turkish NATIVE: 60 million
2nd: 15 million
TOTAL: 75 million
  OFFICIAL: Bulgaria (Kurdzhali Province and areas of South and East Bulgaria), Cyprus, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Turkey
22. Persian 54 million   OFFICIAL: Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan.
23. Gujarati 46 million   OFFICIAL: India (Gujarat, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli).
24. Polish 46 million   OFFICIAL: Poland
25. Ukrainian 39 million   OFFICIAL: Ukraine, Transnistria (part of Moldova).
26. Malayalam 37 million   OFFICIAL: India (Kerala, Lakshadweep, Mahe).
27. Kannada NATIVE: 35 million
2nd: 9 million
TOTAL: 44 million
  OFFICIAL: India (Karnataka).
28. Oriya 32 million   OFFICIAL: India (Orissa).
29. Burmese NATIVE: 32 million
2nd: 10 million
TOTAL: 42 million
  OFFICIAL: Myanmar.
30. Thai NATIVE: 20 million
2nd: 40 million
TOTAL: 60 million
  OFFICIAL: Thailand.



Language statistics & facts | Top 30 languages | 20 countries with the most languages
Language families: By speakers - By languages | Languages in the United States


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