List of languages by number of native speakers

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For various estimates of the total speakers of the top languages, see List of languages by total number of speakers.
Current distribution of human language families

Half of the world's population speak the 13 most populous languages, the other half of the world speak the rest. The following table lists the languages of the world with the largest number of native speakers as estimated by the Swedish Nationalencyklopedin (2007, 2010).

Since the distinction of language and dialect is often arbitrary, some mutually intelligible idioms with separate national standards or self-identification have been unified, including Indonesian and Malay; Croatian, Bosnian, and Serbian; etc., but not Standard Hindi and Urdu.

For a list of languages with the smallest numbers of native speakers, see Lists of endangered languages.

Nationalencyklopedin

The following table contains the top 100 languages by estimated number of speakers in the 2007 edition of Nationalencyklopedin. As census methods in different countries vary to a considerable extent, and some countries do not record language in their censuses, any list of languages by native speakers, or total speakers, is based on estimates. Updated estimates from 2010 are also provided.[1]

Hindustani has been divided into the sociolinguistic units of Hindi and Urdu, while a number of northern Indian languages have been partially merged into "Hindi", reflecting self-identity reported in the Indian census. This Hindi is thus not a language in the linguistic sense.

Note: Languages with an asterisk (*) have been updated with figures from the 2010 edition of the Nationalencyklopedin.

Language Native speakers (millions)  % of world population Mainly spoken in Notes
Mandarin
官話 / 官话
955* 14.4% China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia Part of Chinese language family
Spanish
Español
405* 6.15% Spain, Mexico, United States, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile,
Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Venezuela, Equatorial Guinea, Western Sahara
Partially mutually intelligible with Portuguese[2][3][4]
English 360* 5.43% United States of America, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and Commonwealth of Nations
Hindi
हिन्दी
310* 4.70% India, Nepal Part of Hindi languages family. Includes approx. 100 million speakers of other Hindi languages not counted below. Mutually intelligible with Urdu.
Bengali
বাংলা
300* 4.57% Bangladesh, India (West Bengal, Tripura, Assam)
Arabic
العربية
295* 4.43% Arab League Arabic also is a liturgical language of 1.6 billion Muslim speakers.[5][6] The Arabic language contains many different dialects. Many are not mutually intelligible. See Varieties of Arabic
Portuguese
Português
215* 3.27% Portugal, Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe, Guinea-Bissau, Timor-Leste Partially mutually intelligible with Spanish[2][3][4]
Russian
Русский
155* 2.33% Russia, Ukraine, Commonwealth of Independent States Partially mutually intelligible with Ukrainian[7] and Belarusian.[7]
Japanese
日本語
125* 1.90% Japan
Punjabi
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ
نجابی
102* 1.44% India, Pakistan (Punjab region)
German
Deutsch
89* 1.39% Germany, Austria, Belgium (Eupen-Malmedy), Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Italy (South Tirol)
Javanese
Aksara Jawa.svg
82 1.25% Indonesia (Java) Javanese is the largest language without an official status anywhere (and thus the largest minority language in the world), despite being used throughout Southeast Asia and Suriname.
Wu
吳語 / 吴语
80 1.20% China (Zhejiang, Shanghai, southern Jiangsu) Part of Chinese language family
Malay/Indonesian
Bahasa Melayu
Bahasa Indonesia
77 1.16% Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore
Telugu
తెలుగు
76 1.15% India (Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Puducherry)
Vietnamese
Tiếng Việt
76 1.14% Vietnam
Korean
한국어
조선말
76 1.14% South Korea, North Korea
French
Français
74 1.12% France and its territories, Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, Gabon, Algeria, Mauritius, Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, other Francophonie members
Marathi
मराठी
73 1.10% India (Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat)
Tamil
தமிழ்
70 1.06% India (Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Puducherry), Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Mauritius
Urdu
اُردُو
66 0.99% India, Pakistan Mutually intelligible with Hindi
Persian
فارسی
65 0.99% Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan
Turkish
Türkçe
63 0.95% Turkey, Cyprus
Italian
Italiano
59 0.90% Italy, Switzerland, San Marino
Cantonese
粵語 / 粤语
59 0.89% China (Guangdong (Canton), southern Guangxi), Hong Kong, Macau Part of Chinese language family
Thai
ภาษาไทย
56 0.85% Thailand
Gujarati
ગુજરાતી
49 0.74% India ( Gujarat, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli)
Jin
晉語 / 晋语
48 0.72% China (Shanxi, parts of Inner Mongolia, Hebei, Henan, Shaanxi) Part of Chinese language family
Min Nan
閩南語 / 闽南语
47 0.71% China (Fujian, Guangdong, Hainan), Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore Part of Chinese language family
Polish
Polski
40 0.61% Poland
Pashto
پښتو
39 0.58% Afghanistan, Pakistan
Kannada
ಕನ್ನಡ
38 0.58% India (Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra)
Xiang
湘語 / 湘语
38 0.58% China (Hunan) Part of Chinese language family
Malayalam
മലയാളം
38 0.57% India (Kerala, Lakshadweep, Mahé)
Sundanese
Aksara Sunda.png
38 0.57% Indonesia (Java) Sundanese is the second largest language (after Javanese) without an official status anywhere (not counting Chinese dialects such as Wu, Yue, Jin, Min Nan, Xiang).
Hausa
هَرْشَن هَوْسَ
34 0.52% Nigeria
Oriya
ଓଡ଼ିଆ
33 0.50% India (Odisha)
Burmese
မြန်မာစာ
33 0.50% Burma
Hakka
客家話 / 客家话
31 0.46% China (Southern) Part of Chinese language family
Ukrainian
українська мова
30 0.46% Ukraine Partially mutually intelligible with Russian[7] and Belarusian.[7]
Bhojpuri
भोजपुरी
29 0.43% India (Bihar) Part of Bihari. This is only a fraction of the speakers; the others are counted under Hindi above.
Tagalog
Wikang Tagalog
28 0.42% Philippines
Yoruba
Èdè Yorùbá
28 0.42% Nigeria, Benin, Togo
Maithili
मैथिली, মৈথিলী
27 0.41% India (Bihar), Nepal Part of Bihari. This is only a fraction of the speakers; the others are counted under Hindi above.
Swahili
Kiswahili
26 0.39% Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda
Uzbek
Oʻzbek
Ўзбек
اوزبیک
26 0.39% Uzbekistan
Sindhi
سنڌي
सिन्धी
Sindhi
26 0.39% India, Pakistan (Sindh)
Amharic
አማርኛ
25 0.37% Ethiopia
Fula
Fulfulde
24 0.37% West and Central Africa, from Senegal to Sudan
Romanian
Română
24 0.37% Romania, Moldova
Oromo
Afaan Oromo
24 0.36% Ethiopia, Kenya
Igbo
Asụsụ Igbo
24 0.36% Nigeria
Azerbaijani
Azərbaycan
23 0.34% Azerbaijan, Iran
Awadhi
अवधी
22 0.33% India (Uttar Pradesh) Part of Hindi languages family. This is only a fraction of the speakers; the others are counted under Hindi above.
Gan
贛語 / 赣语
22 0.33% China (Jiangxi) Part of Chinese language family
Cebuano
Binisaya
21 0.32% Philippines (Central and Southern)
Dutch
Nederlands
Vlaams
21 0.32% Netherlands, Dutch Caribbean islands, Belgium (Flanders, Brussels), Suriname Highly mutually intelligible with Afrikaans, a daughter language of Dutch spoken primarily in South Africa and Namibia
Kurdish
كوردی
21 0.31% Kurdistan” (Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria)
Serbo-Croatian
Srpskohrvatski
hrvatskosrpski
српскохрватски
хрватскосрпски
19 0.28% Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Kosovo
Malagasy
Malagasy
18 0.28% Madagascar
Saraiki
سرائیکی
17 0.26% Pakistan (Sindh)
Nepali
नेपाली
17 0.25% Nepal, India (Sikkim,Darjeeling,Assam),Bhutan,Myanmar
Sinhalese
සිංහල
16 0.25% Sri Lanka
Chittagonian
টগাঁইয়া বুলি
16 0.24% Bangladesh (Chittagong)
Zhuang
Vahcuengh
话壮
16 0.24% China (Guangxi) Actually 13 or more languages; related to Thai, not part of Chinese language family.
Khmer
ភាសាខ្មែរ
16 0.24% Cambodia
Assamese
অসমীয়া
15 0.23% India Assam (India)
Madurese
Madhura
15 0.23% Indonesia ( Madura, and Java)
Somali
Af-Soomaali
15 0.22% Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Dijibouti, Yemen
Marwari
मारवाड़ी
14 0.21% India, Pakistan (Rajasthan), Nepal This is only a fraction of the speakers; the others are counted under Hindi above.
Magahi
मगही
14 0.21% India (Bihar) Part of Bihari
Haryanvi
हरियाणवी
14 0.21% India (Haryana) Part of Hindi languages family
Hungarian
Magyar
13 0.19% Hungary
Chhattisgarhi
छत्तीसगढ़ी
12 0.19% India (Chhattisgarh) Part of Hindi languages family. This is only a fraction of the speakers; the others are counted under Hindi above.
Greek
ελληνικά
12 0.18% Greece, Cyprus
Chewa
Nyanja
12 0.17% Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Deccan
دکنی
11 0.17% India (Deccan) Part of Urdu
Akan
Twi
Fante
11 0.17% Ghana, Ivory Coast
Kazakh
Qazaqşa
Қазақша
قازاق ٴتىلى;
11 0.17% Kazakhstan
Min Bei
閩北語 / 闽北语
10.9 0.16% China (Fujian) Part of Chinese language family
Sylheti
ছিলটী
10.7 0.16% Bangladesh, India
Zulu
isiZulu
10.4 0.16% South Africa
Czech
Čeština
10.0 0.15% Czech Republic
Kinyarwanda
Ikinyarwanda
9.8 0.15% Rwanda Part of Rwanda-Rundi
Dhundhari
9.6 0.15% India (Rajasthan)
Haitian Creole
Kreyòl Ayisyen
9.6 0.15% Haiti
Min Dong
閩東語 / 闽东语
9.5 0.14% China (Fujian) Part of Chinese language family
Ilokano 9.1 0.14% Philippines (Luzon)
Quechua 8.9 0.13% Peru, Bolivia A language family, not a language
Kirundi 8.8 0.13% Burundi, Uganda Part of Rwanda-Rundi
Swedish 8.7 0.13% Sweden, Finland
Hmong 8.4 0.13% Laos A language family, not a language
Shona 8.3 0.13% Zimbabwe
Uyghur
ئۇيغۇرچە
8.2 0.12% China (Xinjiang)
Hiligaynon 8.2 0.12% Philippines (Western Visayas)
Mossi 7.6 0.11% Burkina Faso
Xhosa 7.6 0.11% South Africa
Belarusian
беларусы
7.6 0.11% Belarus Only half this many use it as their home language. Partially mutually intelligible with Russian[7] and Ukrainian.[7]
Balochi
بلوچی
7.6 0.11% Iran, Pakistan (Balochistan)
Konkani
कोंकणी
ಕೊಂಕಣಿ
7.4 0.11% India (Goa, Karnataka, Maharashtra)

See also

References

  1. ^ Nationalencyklopedin "Världens 100 största språk 2007" The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007. In parentheses are the 2010 estimates for the top languages.
  2. ^ a b GAVILANES LASO, J. L. (1996) Algunas consideraciones sobre la inteligibilidad mutua hispano-portuguesa In: Actas del Congreso Internacional Luso-Español de Lengua y Cultura en la Frontera, Cáceres, Universidad de Extremadura, 175–187.
  3. ^ a b "Comparação Português e Castelhano". Omniglot.com. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  4. ^ a b "Algumas observações sobre a noção de língua portuguesa" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  5. ^ "Executive Summary". The Future of the Global Muslim Population. Pew Research Center. Retrieved 22 December 2011. 
  6. ^ "Table: Muslim Population by Country | Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project". Features.pewforum.org. 2011-01-27. Retrieved 2014-05-18. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Alexander M. Schenker. 1993. "Proto-Slavonic," The Slavonic Languages. (Routledge). Pp. 60–121. Pg. 60: "[The] distinction between dialect and language being blurred, there can be no unanimity on this issue in all instances..."
    C.F. Voegelin and F.M. Voegelin. 1977. Classification and Index of the World's Languages (Elsevier). Pg. 311, "In terms of immediate mutual intelligibility, the East Slavic zone is a single language."
    Bernard Comrie. 1981. The Languages of the Soviet Union (Cambridge). Pg. 145–146: "The three East Slavonic languages are very close to one another, with very high rates of mutual intelligibility...The separation of Russian, Ukrainian, and Belorussian as distinct languages is relatively recent...Many Ukrainians in fact speak a mixture of Ukrainian and Russian, finding it difficult to keep the two languages apart...

External links