World Languages

Factbook > Countries > World > Demographics

Languages: Mandarin Chinese 12.2%, Spanish 5.8%, English 4.6%, Arabic 3.6%, Hindi 3.6%, Portuguese 2.8%, Bengali 2.6%, Russian 2.3%, Japanese 1.7%, Punjabi, Western 1.2%, Javanese 1.2% (2016 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 300 languages have more than a million first-language 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 130 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 840 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 July 9, 2017

© 2017 IndexMundi. All rights reserved.