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Languages of Asia

A directory of various languages spoken throughout the continent of Asia

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Asia Languages
Languages of Asia and Middle East

Afghanistan: Afghan Persian or Dari (official) 50%, Pashtu (official) 35%, Turkic languages (primarily Uzbek and Turkmen) 11%, 30 minor languages (primarily Balochi and Pashai) 4%, much bilingualism

Armenia: Armenian 97.7%, Yezidi 1%, Russian 0.9%, other 0.4%
 
Azerbaijan: Azerbaijani (Azeri) 89%, Russian 3%, Armenian 2%, other 6%
 
Bahrain: Arabic, English, Farsi, Urdu
 
Bangladesh: Bangla (official, also known as Bengali), English
 
Bhutan: Dzongkha (official), Bhotes speak various Tibetan dialects, Nepalese speak various Nepalese dialects
 
Brunei: Malay (official), English, Chinese
 
Burma: Burmese, minority ethnic groups have their own languages
 
Cambodia: Khmer (official) 95%, French, English
 
China: Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghaiese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages
 
East Timor: Tetum (official), Portuguese (official), Indonesian, English
note: there are about 16 indigenous languages; Tetum, Galole, Mambae, and Kemak are spoken by significant numbers of people
 
Georgia: Georgian 71% (official), Russian 9%, Armenian 7%, Azeri 6%, other 7%
note: Abkhaz is the official language in Abkhazia
 
Hong Kong: Chinese (Cantonese), English; both are official
 
India: English enjoys associate status but is the most important language for national, political, and commercial communication; Hindi is the national language and primary tongue of 30% of the people; there are 14 other official languages: Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi, and Sanskrit; Hindustani is a popular variant of Hindi/Urdu spoken widely throughout northern India but is not an official language
 
Indonesia: Bahasa Indonesia (official, modified form of Malay), English, Dutch, local dialects, the most widely spoken of which is Javanese
 
Israel: Hebrew (official), Arabic used officially for Arab minority, English most commonly used foreign language
 
Japan: Japanese
 
Jordan: Arabic (official), English widely understood among upper and middle classes
 
Kazakhstan: Kazakh (Qazaq, state language) 64.4%, Russian (official, used in everyday business, designated the "language of interethnic communication") 95%
 
Korea (North): Korean
 
Korea (South): Korean, English widely taught in junior high and high school
 
Kuwait: Arabic (official), English widely spoken
 
Kyrgyzstan: Kyrgyz (official), Russian (official)
 
Laos: Lao (official), French, English, and various ethnic languages
 
Lebanon: Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian
 
Macau: Cantonese 87.9%, Hokkien 4.4%, Mandarin 1.6%, other Chinese dialects 3.1%, other 3%
 
Malaysia: Bahasa Melayu (official), English, Chinese dialects (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow), Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai
note: in addition, in East Malaysia several indigenous languages are spoken, the largest are Iban and Kadazan
 
Maldives: Maldivian Dhivehi (dialect of Sinhala, script derived from Arabic), English spoken by most government officials
 
Mongolia: Khalkha Mongol 90%, Turkic, Russian
 
Myanmar: -
 
Nepal: Nepali 47.8%, Maithali 12.1%, Bhojpuri 7.4%, Tharu (Dagaura/Rana) 5.8%, Tamang 5.1%, Newar 3.6%, Magar 3.3%, Awadhi 2.4%, other 10%, unspecified 2.5%
note: many in government and business also speak English
 
North Korea: Korean
 
Oman: Arabic (official), English, Baluchi, Urdu, Indian dialects
 
Pakistan: Punjabi 48%, Sindhi 12%, Siraiki (a Punjabi variant) 10%, Pashtu 8%, Urdu (official) 8%, Balochi 3%, Hindko 2%, Brahui 1%, English (official and lingua franca of Pakistani elite and most government ministries), Burushaski, and other 8%
 
Philippines: Two official languages - Filipino (based on Tagalog) and English; eight major dialects - Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinan
 
Qatar: Arabic (official), English commonly used as a second language
 
Russia: Russian, many minority languages
 
Saudi Arabia: Arabic
 
Singapore: Mandarin 35%, English 23%, Malay 14.1%, Hokkien 11.4%, Cantonese 5.7%, Teochew 4.9%, Tamil 3.2%, other Chinese dialects 1.8%, other 0.9%
 
South Korea: Korean, English widely taught in junior high and high school
 
Sri Lanka: Sinhala (official and national language) 74%, Tamil (national language) 18%, other 8%
note: English is commonly used in government and is spoken competently by about 10% of the population
 
Taiwan: -
 
Thailand: Thai, English (secondary language of the elite), ethnic and regional dialects
 
Turkey: Turkish (official), Kurdish, Arabic, Armenian, Greek
 
Turkmenistan: Turkmen 72%, Russian 12%, Uzbek 9%, other 7%
 
United Arab Emirates: Arabic (official), Persian, English, Hindi, Urdu
 
Uzbekistan: Uzbek 74.3%, Russian 14.2%, Tajik 4.4%, other 7.1%
 
Vietnam: Vietnamese (official), English (increasingly favored as a second language), some French, Chinese, and Khmer; mountain area languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)
 
Yemen: Arabic


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