World Languages

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Languages: Mandarin Chinese 11.82%, Spanish 5.77%, English 4.67%, Hindi 3.62%, Arabic 3.3%, Portuguese 2.83%, Bengali 2.69%, Russian 2.33%, Japanese 1.7%, Javanese 1.15%, Standard German 1.09% (2014 est.)
note 1: percents are for "first language" speakers only; the six UN languages - Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), English, French, Russian, and Spanish (Castilian) - are the mother tongue or second language of about half of the world's population, and are the official languages in more than half the states in the world; some 150 to 200 languages have more than a million speakers
note 2: all told, there are an estimated 7,100 languages spoken in the world; approximately 80% of these languages are spoken by less than 100,000 people; about 140 languages are spoken by less than 10 people; communities that are isolated from each other in mountainous regions often develop multiple languages; Papua New Guinea, for example, boasts about 839 separate languages
note 3: approximately 2,300 languages are spoken in Asia, 2,140, in Africa, 1,310 in the Pacific, 1,060 in the Americas, and 290 in Europe (2016)

Definition: This entry provides a rank ordering of languages starting with the largest and sometimes includes the percent of total population speaking that language.

Source: CIA World Factbook - This page was last updated on October 8, 2016

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