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List of languages by total speakers
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List of languages by total speakers

This is a list of languages by total speakers (counting only "first language" speakers).

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
Chinese, Mandarin
Hindi
English
Spanish
Bengali
Russian
Portuguese
Japanese
German, Standard
Korean
French
14.37%
6.02%
5.61%
5.59%
3.4%
2.75%
2.63%
2.06%
1.64%
1.28%
1.27%

(2000 estimate)


The following data was collected in 1996, and should be considered out of date. We are attempting to find a more recent source. Linked pages may not agree with data here because of differing sources. Rankings were removed from some linked pages because of ambiguity and the age of this data.

Lists such as this may vary somewhat depending upon the definition given to certain terms. In particular, the exact difference between "dialect" and "language" is often important. An example of where this can have an impact is the case of Arabic, which can be considered either a single language or a group of related languages. Ethnologue, the source of this table, considers it to be multiple languages, and it is therefore not listed here. If one chose to count it as a single language, however, it would appear in the top ten.

A similar situation occurs wiith Chinese. If all the varieties of Chinese are counted as a single language, then Chinese appears in first place with over 1.2 billion speakers. If counted separately, then five varieties of Chinese are found in the top 25.

This list only takes into account first-language (native) speakers. Counting second language speakers is extremely difficult and approximate at best.

  1. Mandarin (Chinese), 890 million
  2. Spanish, 330 million
  3. English, 320 million
  4. Bengali, 190 million
  5. Hindi, 180 million
  6. Portuguese, 170 million
  7. Russian, 170 million
  8. Japanese, 125 million
  9. German 120 million
  10. Wu (Chinese) 77 million
  11. Javanese 75 million
  12. Korean 75 million
  13. French 72 million
  14. Vietnamese 68 million
  15. Telugu 66 million
  16. Cantonese (Chinese) 66 million
  17. Marathi 65 million
  18. Tamil 63 million
  19. Turkish 59 million
  20. Urdu 58 million
  21. Italian 57 million
  22. Min Nan (Chinese) 49 million
  23. Polish 46 million
  24. Jin (Chinese) 45 million
  25. Gujarati 44 million
  26. Egyptian Arabic 43 million

Source: ethnologue

See also

External links