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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 speaks the 13 most populous languages. 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 name Native speakers (millions)  % of world population Mainly spoken in Notes
Mandarin 官話 / 官话 955* 14.4% China, Taiwan, Singapore, and 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, and Western Sahara. See List of countries where Spanish is an official language Partially mutually intelligible with Portuguese[2][3][4] and Italian [5]
English 360* 5.43% United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand. See List of countries where English is an official language
Hindi हिन्दी 310* 4.70% India, Nepal, and Fiji Part of Hindi languages family. Includes approx. 100 million speakers of other Hindi languages not counted below. Mutually intelligible with Urdu. Schedule 8 official language of India.
Arabic العربيَّة
295* 4.43% Arab League. See List of countries where Arabic is an official language. Arabic also is a liturgical language of 1.6 billion Muslims.[6][7] The Arabic language contains many different dialects. Many are not mutually intelligible. See Varieties of Arabic
Portuguese Português 215* 3.27% Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe, Guinea-Bissau, Timor-Leste, and Macau. See List of countries where Portuguese is an official language Partially mutually intelligible with Spanish[2][3][4]
Bengali বাংলা 205* 3.11% Bangladesh, India (West Bengal, Tripura, Assam)
Russian Русский 155* 2.33% Russia, Ukraine, and the Commonwealth of Independent States. See List of countries where Russian is an official language. Partially mutually intelligible with Ukrainian[8] and Belarusian.[8]
Japanese 日本語 125* 1.90% Japan
Punjabi ਪੰਜਾਬੀ
پنجابی
102* 1.44% India, Pakistan (Punjab region) Schedule 8 official language of India.
German Deutsch 89* 1.39% Germany, Austria, Belgium (Eupen-Malmedy), Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Italy (South Tyrol). See List of countries where German is an official language. Wide dialect variety, within which many dialects are not mutually intelligible with the standard language.
Javanese Basa Jawa 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. In terms of native speakers, Javanese is also more widely spoken than Indonesia's sole official language, Bahasa Indonesia.
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) Schedule 8 official language of India.
Vietnamese Tiếng Việt 76 1.14% Vietnam
Korean 한국어
조선말
76 1.14% North Korea, South Korea
French Français 74 1.12% France and its territories, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, Haiti, Luxembourg, Algeria, Central African Republic and other Francophonie member states. See List of countries where French is an official language
Marathi मराठी 73 1.10% India (Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat) Schedule 8 official language of India.
Tamil தமிழ் 70 1.06% India (Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Puducherry), Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Mauritius Schedule 8 official language of India.
Urdu اُردُو
66 0.99% India, Pakistan Mutually intelligible with Hindi. Schedule 8 official language of India.
Persian فارسی
65 0.99% Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan
Turkish Türkçe 63 0.95% Turkey, Northern Cyprus Partially mutually intelligible with Azerbaijani
Italian Italiano 59 0.90% Italy, Switzerland, San Marino
Cantonese 粵語 / 粤语 59 0.89% Mainland China (Guangdong (Canton) and southern Guangxi), Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei 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) Schedule 8 official language of India.
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% Mainland China (Fujian, Guangdong, and Hainan), Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei 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) Schedule 8 official language of India.
Xiang 湘語 / 湘语 38 0.58% China (Hunan) Part of Chinese language family
Malayalam മലയാളം 38 0.57% India (Kerala, Lakshadweep, Mahé) Schedule 8 official language of India.
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 languages such as Wu, Yue, Jin, Min Nan, Xiang).
Hausa هَرْشَن هَوْسَ
34 0.52% Nigeria
Oriya ଓଡ଼ିଆ 33 0.50% India (Odisha) Schedule 8 official language of India.
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[8] and Belarusian.[8]
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. Schedule 8 official language of India.
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) Schedule 8 official language of India.
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 Partially mutually intelligible with Turkish
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” (Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria)
Serbo-Croatian Srpskohrvatski
hrvatskosrpski
српскохрватски
хрватскосрпски
19 0.28% Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia, 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 Schedule 8 official language of India.
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) Schedule 8 official language of 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[8] and Ukrainian.[8]
Balochi بلوچی 7.6 0.11% Iran, Pakistan (Balochistan)
Konkani कोंकणी
ಕೊಂಕಣಿ
7.4 0.11% India (Goa, Karnataka, Maharashtra) Schedule 8 official language of India.

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. ^ Ruhlen, M. (1991). A guide to the world's languages: Classification (Vol. 1). Stanford University Press.
  6. ^ "Executive Summary". The Future of the Global Muslim Population. Pew Research Center. Retrieved 22 December 2011. 
  7. ^ "Table: Muslim Population by Country | Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project". Features.pewforum.org. 2011-01-27. Retrieved 2014-05-18. 
  8. ^ 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