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 natively speak the 13 most populous languages. The following table lists the most commonly spoken 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.

RankLanguageNative speakers (millions) % of world populationMainly spoken inNotes
1Mandarin
官話/官话
955*14.4%China, Taiwan, SingaporePart of Chinese language family
2Spanish
Español/Castellano
470[2][3]6.15%Spain, Mexico, Parts of the 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. See List of countries where Spanish is an official language
Partially mutually intelligible with Portuguese[4][5][6]
3English360*5.43%United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and Commonwealth of Nations. See List of countries where English is an official language
4Hindi
हिन्दी
310*4.70%India, NepalPart of Hindi languages family. Includes approx. 100 million speakers of other Hindi languages not counted below. Mutually intelligible with Urdu.
5Arabic
العربية
295*4.43%Arab world. See List of countries where Arabic is an official languageArabic also is a liturgical language of 1.6 billion Muslims.[7][8] The Arabic language contains many different dialects. Many are not mutually intelligible. See Varieties of Arabic
6Portuguese
Português
215*3.27%Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe, Guinea-Bissau, Timor-Leste, Macao. See List of countries where Portuguese is an official languagePartially mutually intelligible with Spanish[4][5][6]
7Bengali
বাংলা
205*3.11%Bangladesh, India (West Bengal, Tripura, Assam)
8Russian
Русский
155*2.33%Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Commonwealth of Independent States. See List of countries where Russian is an official languagePartially mutually intelligible with Ukrainian[9] and Belarusian.[9]
9Japanese
日本語
125*1.90%Japan
10Punjabi
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ
پنجابى
102*1.44%Pakistan, India (Punjab region), United Kingdom, Canada, United States
11German
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
12Javanese
ꦧꦱꦗꦮ
821.25%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.
13Wu
吳語 / 吴语
801.20%China (Zhejiang, Shanghai, southern Jiangsu)Part of Chinese language family
14Malay/Indonesian
Bahasa Melayu
Bahasa Indonesia
771.16%Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore
15Telugu
తెలుగు
761.15%India (Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Puducherry, Andaman And Nicobar Islands)
16Vietnamese
Tiếng Việt
761.14%Vietnam
17Korean
한국어
조선말
761.14%South Korea, North Korea
18French
Français
741.12%France and its territories, Belgium, Canada (mainly province of Quebec), Switzerland, Haiti, Luxembourg, Lebanon, Gabon, Algeria, Mauritius, Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, and other Francophonie member states. See List of countries where French is an official language
19Marathi
मराठी
731.10%India (Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat)
20Tamil
தமிழ்
74*1.06%India (Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Puducherry), Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Mauritius
21Urdu
اُردُو
660.99%Pakistan, IndiaMutually intelligible with Hindi
22Turkish
Türkçe
630.95%Turkey, Northern Cyprus
23Italian
Italiano
600.90%Italy, Switzerland, San Marino
=24Cantonese
粵語 / 粤语
590.89%China (Guangdong (Canton), southern Guangxi), Hong Kong, MacauPart of Chinese language family
=24Persian
فارسی
590.89%Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan
26Thai
ภาษาไทย
560.85%Thailand
27Gujarati
ગુજરાતી
490.74%India (Gujarat, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli)
28Jin
晉語 / 晋语
480.72%China (Shanxi, parts of Inner Mongolia, Hebei, Henan, Shaanxi)Part of Chinese language family
29Min Nan
閩南語 / 闽南语
470.71%China (Fujian, Guangdong, Hainan), Taiwan, Malaysia, SingaporePart of Chinese language family
30Polish
Polski
400.61%Poland
31Pashto
پښتو
390.58%Pakistan, Afghanistan
32Kannada
ಕನ್ನಡ
380.58%India (Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra)
33Xiang
湘語 / 湘语
380.58%China (Hunan)Part of Chinese language family
34Malayalam
മലയാളം
380.57%India (Kerala, Lakshadweep, Mahé)
35Sundanese
ᮘᮞ ᮞᮥᮔ᮪ᮓ
380.57%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).
36Hausa
هَرْشَن هَوْسَ
340.52%Nigeria
37Oriya
ଓଡ଼ିଆ
330.50%India (Odisha)
38Burmese
မြန်မာစာ
330.50%Burma
39Hakka
客家話 / 客家话
310.46%China (Southern)Part of Chinese language family
40Ukrainian
українська мова
300.46%UkrainePartially mutually intelligible with Russian[9] and Belarusian.[9]
41Bhojpuri
भोजपुरी
290.43%India (Bihar)Part of Bihari. This is only a fraction of the speakers; the others are counted under Hindi above.
42Tagalog
Wikang Tagalog
280.42%Philippines
43Yoruba
Èdè Yorùbá
280.42%Nigeria, Benin, Togo
44Maithili
मैथिली, মৈথিলী
270.41%India (Bihar), NepalPart of Bihari. This is only a fraction of the speakers; the others are counted under Hindi above.
45Swahili
Kiswahili
260.39%Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda
46Uzbek
Oʻzbek
Ўзбек
اوزبیک
260.39%Uzbekistan
47Sindhi
سنڌي
सिन्धी
260.39%Pakistan (Sindh), India
48Amharic
አማርኛ
250.37%Ethiopia
49Fula
Fulfulde
250.37%West and Central Africa, from Senegal to Sudan
50Romanian
Română
240.37%Romania, Moldova
51Oromo
Afaan Oromo
240.36%Ethiopia, Kenya
52Igbo
Asụsụ Igbo
240.36%Nigeria
53Azerbaijani
Azərbaycan
230.34%Azerbaijan, Iran
54Awadhi
अवधी
220.33%India (Uttar Pradesh)Part of Hindi languages family. This is only a fraction of the speakers; the others are counted under Hindi above.
55Gan
贛語 / 赣语
220.33%China (Jiangxi)Part of Chinese language family
56Cebuano
Binisaya
210.32%Philippines (Central and Southern)
57Dutch
Nederlands
210.32%Netherlands, Belgium (Flanders, Brussels), SurinameMutually intelligible with Afrikaans.
58Kurdish
كوردی
210.31%Kurdistan” (Kurdis in the world, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria)
59Lao
ພາສາລາວ
200.30%Laos, Thailand
60Serbo-Croatian
Srpskohrvatski
hrvatskosrpski
српскохрватски
хрватскосрпски
190.28%Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo
61Malagasy
Malagasy
180.28%Madagascar
62Saraiki
سرائیکی
170.26%Pakistan (Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh)
63Nepali
नेपाली
170.25%Nepal, India (Sikkim, Darjeeling, Assam), Bhutan, Myanmar
64Sinhalese
සිංහල
160.25%Sri Lanka
65Chittagonian
টগাঁইয়া বুলি
160.24%Bangladesh (Chittagong)
66Zhuang
Vahcuengh
话壮
160.24%China (Guangxi)Actually 13 or more languages; related to Thai, not part of Chinese language family.
67Khmer
ភាសាខ្មែរ
160.24%Cambodia
68Assamese
অসমীয়া
150.23%India Assam (India)
69Madurese
Madhura
150.23%Indonesia ( Madura, and Java)
70Somali
Af-Soomaali
150.22%Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Dijibouti, Yemen
71Marwari
मारवाड़ी
140.21%India (Rajasthan), Pakistan, NepalThis is only a fraction of the speakers; the others are counted under Hindi above.
72Magahi
मगही
140.21%India (Bihar)Part of Bihari
73Haryanvi
हरियाणवी
140.21%India (Haryana)Part of Hindi languages family
74Hungarian
Magyar
130.19%Hungary
75Chhattisgarhi
छत्तीसगढ़ी
120.19%India (Chhattisgarh)Part of Hindi languages family. This is only a fraction of the speakers; the others are counted under Hindi above.
76Greek
ελληνικά
120.18%Greece, Cyprus
77Chewa
Nyanja
120.17%Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe
78Deccan
دکنی
110.17%India (Deccan)Part of Urdu
79Akan
Twi
Fante
110.17%Ghana, Ivory Coast
80Kazakh
Qazaqşa
Қазақша
قازاق ٴتىلى;
110.17%Kazakhstan
81Min Bei
閩北語 / 闽北语
10.90.16%China (Fujian)Part of Chinese language family
82Sylheti
ছিলটী
10.70.16%Bangladesh, India
83Zulu
isiZulu
10.40.16%South Africa
84Czech
Čeština
10.00.15%Czech Republic
85Kinyarwanda
Ikinyarwanda
9.80.15%RwandaPart of Rwanda-Rundi
86Dhundhari
9.60.15%India (Rajasthan)
87Haitian Creole
Kreyòl Ayisyen
9.60.15%Haiti
88Min Dong
閩東語 / 闽东语
9.50.14%China (Fujian)Part of Chinese language family
89Ilokano9.10.14%Philippines (Luzon)
90Quechua8.90.13%Peru, Bolivia, EcuadorA language family, not a language
91Kirundi8.80.13%Burundi, UgandaPart of Rwanda-Rundi
92Swedish8.70.13%Sweden, Finland
93Hmong8.40.13%LaosA language family, not a language
94Shona8.30.13%Zimbabwe
95Uyghur
ئۇيغۇرچە
8.20.12%China (Xinjiang)
96Hiligaynon8.20.12%Philippines (Western Visayas)
97Mossi7.60.11%Burkina Faso
98Xhosa7.60.11%South Africa
99Belarusian
беларуская мова
7.60.11%BelarusOnly half this many use it as their home language. Partially mutually intelligible with Russian[9] and Ukrainian.[9]
100Balochi
بلوچی
7.60.11%Pakistan, Iran (Balochistan region)

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. ^ "El Español: Una Lengua Viva" [El Español: Una Lengua Viva: Informe 2014]. Nationalencyklopedin. 2014. Retrieved 3 August 2014.  (Swedish)
  3. ^ Lewis, M. Paul; Simons, Gary F.; Fennig, Charles D. (2013), Spanish (in Spanish) (17th ed.), Dallas, Texas: SIL International, "410 million as a first language, 470 million as a first and second language" 
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ a b "Comparação Português e Castelhano". Omniglot.com. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  6. ^ a b "Algumas observações sobre a noção de língua portuguesa" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  7. ^ "Executive Summary". The Future of the Global Muslim Population. Pew Research Center. Retrieved 22 December 2011. 
  8. ^ "Table: Muslim Population by Country | Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project". Features.pewforum.org. 2011-01-27. Retrieved 2014-05-18. 
  9. ^ 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