Top 30 Languages by Number of Native Speakers

Data source: Ethnologue: Languages of the World, 15th ed. (2005) & Wikipedia.org.

 

No

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.