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List of languages by number of native speakers
For languages by total speakers, see List of languages by total number of speakers. For languages with the smallest numbers of native speakers, see lists of endangered languages.
This article ranks human languages by their number of native speakers.
Current distribution of human language families
However, all such rankings should be used with caution, because it is not possible to devise a coherent set of linguistic criteria for distinguishing languages in a dialect continuum.[1] For example, a language is often defined as a set of varieties that are mutually intelligible, but independent national standard languages may be considered to be separate languages even though they are largely mutually intelligible, as in the case of Danish and Norwegian.[2] Conversely, many commonly accepted languages, including German, Italian and even English, encompass varieties that are not mutually intelligible.[1] While Arabic is sometimes considered a single language centred on Modern Standard Arabic, other authors describe its mutually unintelligible varieties as separate languages.[3] Similarly, Chinese is sometimes viewed as a single language because of a shared culture and common literary language.[4] It is also common to describe various Chinese dialect groups, such as Mandarin, Wu and Yue, as languages, even though each of these groups contains many mutually unintelligible varieties.[5]
There are also difficulties in obtaining reliable counts of speakers, which vary over time because of population change and language shift. In some areas, there is no reliable census data, the data is not current, or the census may not record languages spoken, or record them ambiguously. Sometimes speaker populations are exaggerated for political reasons, or speakers of minority languages may be under-reported in favour of a national language.[6]
Top languages by population
Ethnologue (2019, 22nd edition)
This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (December 2020)
The following languages are listed as having at least 10 million first language speakers in the 2019 edition of Ethnologue, a language reference published by SIL International, which is based in the United States.[7]
Languages with at least 10 million first-language speakers[7]
RankLanguageSpeakers
(millions)
Percentage
of world pop.
(March 2019)[8]
Language familyBranch
1Mandarin Chinese91811.922%Sino-TibetanSinitic
2Spanish4805.994%Indo-EuropeanRomance
3English3794.922%Indo-EuropeanGermanic
4Hindi (sanskritised Hindustani)[9]3414.429%Indo-EuropeanIndo-Aryan
5Bengali2282.961%Indo-EuropeanIndo-Aryan
6Portuguese2212.870%Indo-EuropeanRomance
7Russian1542.000%Indo-EuropeanBalto-Slavic
8Japanese1281.662%JaponicJapanese
9Western Punjabi[10]92.71.204%Indo-EuropeanIndo-Aryan
10Marathi83.11.079%Indo-EuropeanIndo-Aryan
11Telugu82.01.065%DravidianSouth-Central
12Wu Chinese81.41.057%Sino-TibetanSinitic
13Turkish79.41.031%TurkicOghuz
14Korean77.31.004%Koreaniclanguage isolate
15French77.21.003%Indo-EuropeanRomance
16German (only Standard German)76.10.988%Indo-EuropeanGermanic
17Vietnamese76.00.987%AustroasiaticVietic
18Tamil75.00.974%DravidianSouth
19Yue Chinese73.10.949%Sino-TibetanSinitic
20Urdu (persianised Hindustani)[9]68.60.891%Indo-EuropeanIndo-Aryan
21Javanese68.30.887%AustronesianMalayo-Polynesian
22Italian64.80.842%Indo-EuropeanRomance
23Egyptian Arabic64.60.839%AfroasiaticSemitic
24Gujarati56.40.732%Indo-EuropeanIndo-Aryan
25Iranian Persian52.80.686%Indo-EuropeanIranian
26Bhojpuri52.20.678%Indo-EuropeanIndo-Aryan
27Min Nan Chinese50.10.651%Sino-TibetanSinitic
28Hakka Chinese48.20.626%Sino-TibetanSinitic
29Jin Chinese46.90.609%Sino-TibetanSinitic
30Hausa43.90.570%AfroasiaticChadic
31Kannada43.60.566%DravidianSouth
32Malay43.40.564%AustronesianMalayo-Polynesian
33Polish39.70.516%Indo-EuropeanBalto-Slavic
34Yoruba37.80.491%Niger–CongoVolta–Niger
35Xiang Chinese37.30.484%Sino-TibetanSinitic
36Malayalam37.10.482%DravidianSouth
37Odia34.50.448%Indo-EuropeanIndo-Aryan
38Maithili33.90.440%Indo-EuropeanIndo-Aryan
39Burmese32.90.427%Sino-TibetanLolo-Burmese
40Eastern Punjabi[10]32.60.423%Indo-EuropeanIndo-Aryan
41Sunda32.40.421%AustronesianMalayo-Polynesian
42Sudanese Arabic31.90.414%AfroasiaticSemitic
43Algerian Arabic29.40.382%AfroasiaticSemitic
44Moroccan Arabic27.50.357%AfroasiaticSemitic
45Ukrainian27.30.355%Indo-EuropeanBalto-Slavic
46Igbo27.00.351%Niger–CongoVolta–Niger
47Northern Uzbek25.10.326%TurkicKarluk
48Sindhi24.60.319%Indo-EuropeanIndo-Aryan
49North Levantine Arabic24.60.319%AfroasiaticSemitic
50Romanian24.30.316%Indo-EuropeanRomance
51Tagalog23.60.306%AustronesianMalayo-Polynesian
52Dutch23.10.300%Indo-EuropeanGermanic
53Saʽidi Arabic22.40.291%AfroasiaticSemitic
54Gan Chinese22.10.287%Sino-TibetanSinitic
55Amharic21.90.284%AfroasiaticSemitic
56Northern Pashto20.90.271%Indo-EuropeanIranian
57Magahi20.70.269%Indo-EuropeanIndo-Aryan
58Thai20.70.269%Kra–DaiTai
59Saraiki20.00.260%Indo-EuropeanIndo-Aryan
60Khmer16.60.216%AustroasiaticKhmer
61Chhattisgarhi16.30.212%Indo-EuropeanIndo-Aryan
62Somali16.20.210%AfroasiaticCushitic
63Malaysian (Malaysian Malay)16.10.209%AustronesianMalayo-Polynesian
64Cebuano15.90.206%AustronesianMalayo-Polynesian
65Nepali15.80.205%Indo-EuropeanIndo-Aryan
66Mesopotamian Arabic15.70.204%AfroasiaticSemitic
67Assamese15.30.199%Indo-EuropeanIndo-Aryan
68Sinhalese15.30.199%Indo-EuropeanIndo-Aryan
69Northern Kurdish14.60.190%Indo-EuropeanIranian
70Hejazi Arabic14.50.188%AfroasiaticSemitic
71Nigerian Fulfulde14.50.188%Niger–CongoSenegambian
72Bavarian14.10.183%Indo-EuropeanGermanic
73South Azerbaijani13.80.179%TurkicOghuz
74Greek13.10.170%Indo-EuropeanHellenic
75Chittagonian13.00.169%Indo-EuropeanIndo-Aryan
76Kazakh12.90.168%TurkicKipchak
77Deccan12.80.166%Indo-EuropeanIndo-Aryan
78Hungarian12.60.164%UralicUgric
79Kinyarwanda12.10.157%Niger–CongoBantu
80Zulu12.10.157%Niger–CongoBantu
81South Levantine Arabic11.60.151%AfroasiaticSemitic
82Tunisian Arabic11.60.151%AfroasiaticSemitic
83Sanaani Spoken Arabic11.40.148%AfroasiaticSemitic
84Min Bei Chinese11.00.143%Sino-TibetanSinitic
85Southern Pashto10.90.142%Indo-EuropeanIranian
86Rundi10.80.140%Niger–CongoBantu
87Czech10.70.139%Indo-EuropeanBalto-Slavic
88Taʽizzi-Adeni Arabic10.50.136%AfroasiaticSemitic
89Uyghur10.40.135%TurkicKarluk
90Min Dong Chinese10.30.134%Sino-TibetanSinitic
91Sylheti10.30.134%Indo-EuropeanIndo-Aryan
Nationalencyklopedin (2010)
This section needs to be updated. The reason given is: the 2010 edition of Nationalencyklopedin has revised figures. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (November 2018)
The following table contains the top 100 languages by estimated number of native speakers in the 2007 edition of the Swedish encyclopedia Nationalencyklopedin​. As census methods in different countries vary to a considerable extent, and given that some countries do not record language in their censuses, any list of languages by native speakers, or total speakers, is effectively based on estimates. Updated estimates from 2010 are also provided.[11]
The top eleven languages have additional figures from the 2010 edition of the Nationalencyklopedin​. Numbers above 95 million are rounded off to the nearest 5 million.
Top languages by population per Nationalencyklopedin
RankLanguageNative
speakers
in millions
2007 (2010)
Percentage
of world
population
(2007)
1Mandarin (entire branch)935 (955)14.1%
2Spanish390 (405)5.85%
3English365 (360)5.52%
4Hindi[a]295 (310)4.46%
5Arabic280 (295)4.23%
6Portuguese205 (215)3.08%
7Bengali200 (205)3.05%
8Russian160 (155)2.42%
9Japanese125 (125)1.92%
10Punjabi95 (100)1.44%
11German92 (95)1.39%
12Javanese821.25%
13Wu (inc. Shanghainese)801.20%
14Malay (inc. Indonesian and Malaysian)771.16%
15Telugu761.15%
16Vietnamese761.14%
17Korean761.14%
18French751.12%
19Marathi731.10%
20Tamil701.06%
21Urdu660.99%
22Turkish630.95%
23Italian590.90%
24Yue (inc. Cantonese)590.89%
25Thai560.85%
26Gujarati490.74%
27Jin480.72%
28Southern Min (inc. Hokkien and Teochew)470.71%
29Persian450.68%
30Polish400.61%
31Pashto390.58%
32Kannada380.58%
33Xiang380.58%
34Malayalam380.57%
35Sundanese380.57%
36Hausa340.52%
37Odia (Oriya)330.50%
38Burmese330.50%
39Hakka310.46%
40Ukrainian300.46%
41Bhojpuri29[b]0.43%
42Tagalog (Filipino)280.42%
43Yoruba280.42%
44Maithili27[b]0.41%
45Uzbek260.39%
46Sindhi260.39%
47Amharic250.37%
48Fula240.37%
49Romanian240.37%
50Oromo240.36%
51Igbo240.36%
52Azerbaijani230.34%
53Awadhi22[b]0.33%
54Gan220.33%
55Cebuano (Visayan)210.32%
56Dutch210.32%
57Kurdish210.31%
58Serbo-Croatian190.28%
59Malagasy180.28%
60Saraiki17[c]0.26%
61Nepali170.25%
62Sinhala160.25%
63Chittagonian160.24%
64Zhuang160.24%
65Khmer160.24%
66Turkmen160.24%
67Assamese150.23%
68Madurese150.23%
69Somali150.22%
70Marwari14[b]0.21%
71Magahi14[b]0.21%
72Haryanvi14[b]0.21%
73Hungarian130.19%
74Chhattisgarhi12[b]0.19%
75Greek120.18%
76Chewa120.17%
77Deccan110.17%
78Akan110.17%
79Kazakh110.17%
80Northern Min[disputed discuss]10.90.16%
81Sylheti10.70.16%
82Zulu10.40.16%
83Czech10.00.15%
84Kinyarwanda9.80.15%
85Dhundhari9.6[b]0.15%
86Haitian Creole9.60.15%
87Eastern Min (inc. Fuzhou dialect)9.50.14%
88Ilocano9.10.14%
89Quechua8.90.13%
90Kirundi8.80.13%
91Swedish8.70.13%
92Hmong8.40.13%
93Shona8.30.13%
94Uyghur8.20.12%
95Hiligaynon/Ilonggo (Visayan)8.20.12%
96Mossi7.60.11%
97Xhosa7.60.11%
98Belarusian7.6[d]0.11%
99Balochi7.60.11%
100Konkani7.40.11%
Total5,61085%
Charts and graphs
See also
Notes
  1. ^ Refers to only Modern Standard Hindi here. The Census of India defines Hindi on a loose and broad basis. It does not include the entire Hindustani language, only the Hindi register of it. In addition to Standard Hindi, it incorporates a set of other Indo-Aryan languages written in Devanagari script including Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Haryanvi, Dhundhari etc. under Hindi group which have more than 422 million native speakers as of 2001.[12] However, the census also acknowledges Standard Hindi, the above mentioned languages and others as separate mother tongues of the Hindi language and provides individual figures for all these languages.[12]
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h This is only a fraction of total speakers; others are counted under "Hindi" as they regard their language a Hindi dialect.
  3. ^ Numbers may also be counted in Punjabi above
  4. ^ Only half this many use Belarusian as their home language.
References
  1. ^ a b Paolillo, John C.; Das, Anupam (31 March 2006). "Evaluating language statistics: the Ethnologue and beyond" (PDF). UNESCO Institute of Statistics. pp. 3–5. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  2. ^ Chambers, J.K.; Trudgill, Peter (1998). Dialectology (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-59646-6.
  3. ^ Kaye, Alan S.; Rosenhouse, Judith (1997). "Arabic Dialects and Maltese". In Hetzron, Robert (ed.). The Semitic Languages. Routledge. pp. 263–311. ISBN 978-0-415-05767-7.
  4. ^ Norman, Jerry (1988). Chinese. Cambridge University Press. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-521-29653-3.
  5. ^ Norman, Jerry (2003). "The Chinese dialects: phonology". In Thurgood, Graham; LaPolla, Randy J. (eds.). The Sino-Tibetan languages. Routledge. pp. 72–83. ISBN 978-0-7007-1129-1.
  6. ^ Crystal, David (1988). The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language. Cambridge University Press. pp. 286–287. ISBN 978-0-521-26438-9.
  7. ^ a b "Summary by language size". Ethnologue. Retrieved 12 March 2019. For items below #26, see individual Ethnologue entry for each language.
  8. ^ "World Population Clock: 7.7 Billion People (2019) - Worldometers". www.worldometers.info. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  9. ^ a b Hindi and Urdu are often classified as standardized registers of a single Hindustani language.
  10. ^ a b Defined at the national border with different writing systems rather than by language
  11. ^ a b Mikael Parkvall, "Världens 100 största språk 2007" (The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007), in Nationalencyklopedin. Asterisks mark the 2010 estimates for the top dozen languages.
  12. ^ a b Abstract of speakers' strength of languages and mother tongues – 2000, Census of India, 2001
  13. ^ Summary by language size
External links
Last edited on 4 May 2021, at 22:19
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