World Languages

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Languages: Mandarin Chinese 12.44%, Spanish 4.85%, English 4.83%, Arabic 3.25%, Hindi 2.68%, Bengali 2.66%, Portuguese 2.62%, Russian 2.12%, Japanese 1.8%, Standard German 1.33%, Javanese 1.25% (2009 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; aproximately 80% of these languages are spoken by less than 100,000 people; about 50 languages are spoken by only 1 person; communities that are isolated from each other in mountainous regions often develop multiple languages; Papua New Guinea, for example, boasts about 836 separate languages
note 3: approximately 2,300 languages are spoken in Asia, 2,150, in Africa, 1,300 in the Pacific, 1,060 in the Americas, and 280 in Europe

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 - Unless otherwise noted, information in this page is accurate as of August 23, 2014

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