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Main World Languages (Spoken as a First Language):

Mandarin Chinese 885 million
Spanish 332 million
English 322 million
Bengali 189 million
Hindi 182 million
Portuguese 175 million
Arabic 175 million
Russian 170 million
Japanese 125 million
German 98 million
Wu (including Shanghainese) Chinese 77.2 million
Javanese 75.5 million
Korean 75 million
French 72 million
Vietnamese 67.7 million
Telugu 66.4 million
Yue (Cantonese) Chinese 66 million


Depending on what source is used, a language
may be ranked differently. For example:
Encarta's ranking of the top four languages is:

Chinese: 1,210,000,000
Arabic: 422,000,000
English: 341,000,000
Spanish: 322,200,000



In the world today, there are more than 6,700 spoken languages.
(Only about 2,200 have a written language as well).
However, this number is decreasing quickly due to the rise of major languages
such as English, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
English is the first world language. It has been spread by England
and the United States due to war, colonization, travel and also through
culture, like music, movies and television.
For example, if a German businessman and a Japanese businessman
are meeting, more than likely they will talk to each other in English,
not in Japanese or German.
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English contains more words than any other language on the planet and added its millionth word early
Wednesday (June 10, 2009), according to the Global Language Monitor, a Web site that uses a math
formula to estimate how often words are created.The site estimates the millionth English word,
"Web 2.0" was added to the language Wednesday at 5:22 a.m. ET. The term refers to the second,
more social generation of the Internet.The site says more than 14 words are added to English every
day, at the current rate.


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This chart represents total speakers of the languages
(not necesarily their first language).
Only 283 languages are spoken by more than one million people.
Most languages have only 1,000 to 100,000 speakers, thus they
eventually will become extinct (dead) languages.
In fact, there are more than 500 languages with less
than 100 speakers remaining!


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Some people estimate that since people have had the capacity to speak,
there have been over 150,000 langauges.
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Top languages (total number of speakers) to the left. Spanish: 435 million total speakers.
Top languages (first language only) to the right. Spanish: 322 million native speakers.


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More sources:


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The top two language families (Indo-European and Sino-Tibetan) comprise
70% of the languages in the world. The Sino-Tibetan family is nearly 90%
Chinese (dialects).









chinese_no_parking.jpg

When many people learn Mandarin, they often learn how to speak it and to
pronounce and/or write pinyin. You can see from the sign above that writng
Chinese script is difficult and tedious. The sign is located outside a Walgreen's
in Chinatown in Chicago. One convenient fact about Chinese characters, no matter
where in China someone lives (or has lived in the past thousands of years)
and what dialect(s) he or she speaks, is that communication is always
possible through the characters. This is not true of English for example, where
the written language has changed greatly over the past thousand years.





Another source:

Top 30 Languages by Number of Native Speakers Data source: Ethnologue: Languages of the World, 15th ed. (2005) & Wikipedia.org.



Language

approximate # of speakers



Where is it spoken as an official language?

1.

Mandarin Chinese

NATIVE: 873 million
2nd: 178 million
TOTAL: 1.051 billion



OFFICIAL: People's Republic of China, Republic of China, Singapore

2.

Hindi

NATIVE: 370 million
2nd:120 million
TOTAL: 490 million



OFFICIAL: India, Fiji

3.

Spanish

NATIVE: 350 million
2nd: 70 million
TOTAL: 420 million



OFFICIAL: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, United States (New Mexico, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Venezuela

4.

English

NATIVE: 340 million
TOTAL: 510 million



OFFICIAL: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, Cameroon, Canada, Dominica, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Fiji, The Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Hong Kong (People's Republic of China), India, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Maritius, Micronesia, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevs, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somolia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, Vanuatu, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

5.

Arabic

NATIVE: 206 million
2nd: 24 million
TOTAL: 230 million

[World Almanac est. total 255 million]



OFFICIAL: Modern Standard Arabic: Algeria, Bahrain, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Niger, Oman, Palestinian Territories, Quatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Western Sahara, Yemen. | Hasaniya Arabic: Mauritania, Senegal
NATIONAL: Mali

Note: These figures combine all the varieties of Arabic. Some data sources, e.g. CIA World Fact Book, World Almanac, Ethnologue, treat these varieties as separate languages.

6.

Portuguese

NATIVE: 203 million
2nd: 10 million
TOTAL: 213 million



OFFICIAL: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Macau (People's Republic of China), Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé e Príncipe.

7.

Bengali

NATIVE: 196 million
TOTAL: 215 million



OFFICIAL: Bangladesh, India (Tripura, West Bengal)

8.

Russian

NATIVE: 145 million
2nd: 110 million
TOTAL: 255 million



OFFICIAL: Abkhazia (part of Georgia), Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyyrgyzstan, Russia, Transnistria (part of Moldova).

9.

Japanese

NATIVE: 126 million
2nd: 1 million
TOTAL: 127 million



OFFICIAL: Japan, Palau

10.

German

NATIVE: 101 million
2nd: 128 million
TOTAL: 229 million



OFFICIAL: Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy (South Tyrol), Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Poland, Siwtzerland


11.

Panjabi

Western: 60 million
Eastern: 28 million
TOTAL: 88 million



OFFICIAL: India (Punjab)
NATIONAL: Pakistan

12.

Javanese

76 million



OFFICIAL: Indonesia (esp. Java)

13.

Korean

71 million



OFFICIAL: North Korea, South Korea

14.

Vietnamese

NATIVE: 70 million
2nd: 16 million
TOTAL: 86 million



OFFICIAL: Vietnam

15.

Telugu

NATIVE: 70 million
2nd: 5 million
TOTAL: 75 million



OFFICIAL: India (Andhra Pradesh)

16.

Marathi

NATIVE: 68 million
2nd: 3 million
TOTAL: 71 million



OFFICIAL: India (Daman and Diu, Goa, Maharashtra)

17.

Tamil

NATIVE: 68 million
2nd: 9 million
TOTAL: 77 million



OFFICIAL: India (Tamil Nadu), Singapore, Sri Lanka

18.

French

NATIVE: 67 million
2nd: 63 million
TOTAL: 130 million



OFFICIAL or NATIONAL: Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo-Brazzaville, Congo-Kinshasa, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, France, French Polynesia, Gabon, Guernsey, Guinea, Haiti, India (Karikal, Pondicherry), Italy, Jersey, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Martinique, Mauritius, Mayotte, Monaco, New Caledonia, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Switzerland, Togo, United States (Louisiana), Vanuatu.

19.

Urdu

NATIVE: 61 million
2nd: 43 million
TOTAL: 104 million



OFFICIAL: India (Jammu and Kashmir), Pakistan.

20.

Italian

61 million



OFFICIAL: Croatia (Istria Country), Italy, San Marino, Slovenia, Switzerland.


21.

Turkish

NATIVE: 60 million
2nd: 15 million
TOTAL: 75 million



OFFICIAL: Bulgaria (Kurdzhali Province and areas of South and East Bulgaria), Cyprus, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Turkey

22.

Persian

54 million



OFFICIAL: Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan.

23.

Gujarati

46 million



OFFICIAL: India (Gujarat, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli).

24.

Polish

46 million



OFFICIAL: Poland

25.

Ukrainian

39 million



OFFICIAL: Ukraine, Transnistria (part of Moldova).

26.

Malayalam

37 million



OFFICIAL: India (Kerala, Lakshadweep, Mahe).

27.

Kannada

NATIVE: 35 million
2nd: 9 million
TOTAL: 44 million



OFFICIAL: India (Karnataka).

28.

Oriya

32 million



OFFICIAL: India (Orissa).

29.

Burmese

NATIVE: 32 million
2nd: 10 million
TOTAL: 42 million



OFFICIAL: Myanmar.

30.

Thai

NATIVE: 20 million
2nd: 40 million
TOTAL: 60 million



OFFICIAL: Thailand.


Of the 195 countries in the world today, 53 are African.

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Interesting Language Facts:
Number of living languages: 6912
Number of those languages that are nearly extinct: 516
Language with the greatest number of native speakers: Mandarin Chinese [See Top 30 languages]

Language spoken by the greatest number of non-native speakers: English (250 million to 350 million non-native speakers) (I believe higher)

Country with the most languages spoken: Papua New Guinea has 820 living languages. [See Top 20 countries]
How long have languages existed: Since about 100,000 BC

First language ever written: Sumerian or Egyptian (about 3200 BC)

Oldest written language still in existence: Chinese or Greek (about 1500 BC)
Language with the most words: English, approx. 250,000 distinct words (some estimates are much higher)

Language with the fewest words: Taki Taki (also called Sranan), 340 words. Taki Taki is an English-based Creole spoken by 120,000 in the South American country of Suriname.

Language with the largest alphabet: Khmer (74 letters). This Austro-Asiatic language is the official language of Cambodia, where approx.12 million people speak it. Minority speakers live in a handful of other countries.

Language with the shortest alphabet: Rotokas (12 letters). Approx. 4300 people speak this East Papuan language. They live primarily in the Bougainville Province of Papua New Guinea.
The language with the fewest sounds (phonemes): Rotokas (11 phonemes)

The language with the most sounds (phonemes): !Xóõ (112 phonemes). Approx. 4200 speak !Xóõ, the vast majority of whom live in the African country of Botswana.

Language with the fewest consonant sounds: Rotokas (6 consonants)

Language with the most consonant sounds: Ubyx (81 consonants). This language of the North Causasian Language family, once spoken in the Haci Osman village near Istanbul, has been extinct since 1992. Among living languages, !Xóõ has the most consonants (77).

Language with the fewest vowel sounds: Ubyx (2 vowels). The related language Abkhaz also has 2 vowels in some dialects. There are approximately 106,000 Abkhaz speakers living primarily in Georgia.

Language with the most vowel sounds: !Xóõ (31 vowels)
The most widely published language: English
Language with the fewest irregular verbs: Esperanto (none)
Language which has won the most Oscars: Italian (12 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film)
The most translated document: Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, written by the United Nations in 1948, has been translated into 321 languages and dialects.
The most common consonant sounds in the world's languages: /p/, /t/, /k/, /m/, /n/
Longest word in the English language: pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (45 letters)




Top 20 Languages by Number of Languages SpokenData source: Ethnologue: Languages of the World, 15th ed. (2005) & CIA World Fact Book.


Country

  1. of languages


% of world
languages



Official or national language(s)

Total population
(July 2005 est.)

1.

Papua New Guinea

820



11.86%



Hiri Motu, Tok Pisin,
English

5,545,268

2.

Indonesia

742



10.73%



Indonesian

241,973,879

3.

Nigeria

516



7.47%



Edo, Efik, Adamawa Fulfulde, Hausa, Idoma, Igbo, Central Kanuri, Yoruba, English

128,771,988

4.

India

427



6.18%



Lingua franca: English & Hindi
Official languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Marathi, Meitei, Nepali, Oriya, Eastern Panjabi, Sanskrit, Santali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu.

1,080,264,388

5.

USA

311



4.50%



English
Regional: Hawaiian (in Hawaii), Spanish (in New Mexico)

295,734,134

6.

Mexico

297



4.30%



Spanish

106,202,903

7.

Cameroon

280



4.05%



English, French

16,380,005

8.

Australia

275



3.98%



English

20,090,437

9.

China

241



3.49%



Mandarin Chinese
Regional: Daur, Kalmyk-Oirat, Lu, Peripheral Mongolian, Central Tibetan, Uyghur, Xibe, Northern Zhuang

1,306,313,812

10.

Democratic Republic of Congo

216



3.12%



Koongo, Lingala, Luba-Kasai, Congo Swahili, French

60,085,804



11.

Brazil

200



2.89%



Portuguese

186,112,794

12.

Philippines

180



2.60%



Filipino, English

87,857,473

13.

Malaysia

147



2.13%



Malay

23,953,136

14.

Canada

145



2.10%



English, French

32,805,041

15.

Sudan

134



1.94%



Standard Arabic

40,187,486

16.

Chad

122



1.92%



Standard Arabic, French

9,826,419

17.

Russia

129



1.87%



Russian

143,420,309

18.

Tanzania

128



1.85%



Swahili, English

36,766,356

19.

Nepal

125



1.81%



Nepali

27,676,547

20.

Vanuatu

115



1.66%



Bislama, English

205,754