List of languages by number of native speakers

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Below is a List of languages by number of native speakers.[1]

Over half the world's population speaks the 15 most used native languages. They are listed here. They are from the Swedish Nationalencyklopedin (2007, 2010).

The distinction between language and dialect is often not clear. Some mutually intelligible versions have been unified.[2] These include Indonesian and Malay; Croatian, Bosnian, and Serbian. It does not include standard Hindi and Urdu. Hindustani has been divided here into the sociolinguistic units of Hindi and Urdu, but at least 100 million speakers of some Hindi dialects are not counted below.

Rank Language Native speakers % of world population Mainly spoken in Language family
1 Mandarin 955,000,000 14.4% East Asia Sino-Tibetan
2 Spanish 386,000,000 6.15% South America, southern North America, Spain, Western Sahara Indo-European
3 English 360,000,000 5.43% northern North America, northern Europe, parts of Africa, Australia/New Zealand Indo-European
4 Hindi 310,000,000 4.70% South Asia Indo-European
5 Arabic 295,000,000 4.43% Middle East, North Africa Afro-Asiatic
6 Portuguese 215,000,000 3.27% eastern South America, southern Africa, Portugal Indo-European
7 Bengali 205,000,000 3.11% South Asia Indo-European
8 Russian 155,000,000 2.33% East Europe, northern Asia Indo-European
9 Japanese 125,000,000 1.90% Japan Japanese
10 Punjabi 102,000,000 1.44% South Asia Indo-European
11 German 89,000,000 1.39% Central Europe Indo-European
12 Javanese 82,000,000 1.25% Indonesia Austronesian
13 Wu 80,000,000 1.20% China Sino-Tibetan
14 Malay/Indonesian 77,000,000 1.16% Southeast Asia Austronesian
15 Telugu 76,000,000 1.15% India Dravidian

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. 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.
  2. "Mutually intelligible": each side can understand the other side.