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Languages of the World

A directory of various languages spoken throughout the entire world.

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Select a continent for list of languages spoken by region.

Africa Asia and Middle East Australasia Caribbean
Central America Europe North America South America


Africa
  
Algeria: Arabic (official), French, Berber dialects

Angola: Portuguese (official), Bantu and other African languages

Benin: French (official), Fon and Yoruba (most common vernaculars in south), tribal languages (at least six major ones in north)

Botswana: Setswana 78.2%, Kalanga 7.9%, Sekgalagadi 2.8%, English 2.1% (official), other 8.6%, unspecified 0.4% 

Burkina Faso: French (official), native African languages belonging to Sudanic family spoken by 90% of the population

Burundi: Kirundi (official), French (official), Swahili (along Lake Tanganyika and in the Bujumbura area)

Cameroon: 24 major African language groups, English (official), French (official)

Central African Republic: French (official), Sangho (lingua franca and national language), tribal languages

Chad: French (official), Arabic (official), Sara (in south), more than 120 different languages and dialects

Congo, Democratic Republic: French (official), Lingala (a lingua franca trade language), Kingwana (a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili), Kikongo, Tshiluba

Congo Republic: French (official), Lingala and Monokutuba (lingua franca trade languages), many local languages and dialects (of which Kikongo is the most widespread)

Cote D' Ivoire: French (official), 60 native dialects with Dioula the most widely spoken

Djibouti: French (official), Arabic (official), Somali, Afar

Egypt: Arabic (official), English and French widely understood by educated classes

Eritea: Afar, Arabic, Tigre and Kunama, Tigrinya, other Cushitic languages

Ethiopia: Amharic, Tigrinya, Oromigna, Guaragigna, Somali, Arabic, other local languages, English (major foreign language taught in schools)

Gabon: French (official), Fang, Myene, Nzebi, Bapounou/Eschira, Bandjabi

Gambia: English (official), Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, other indigenous vernaculars

Ghana: English (official), African languages (including Akan, Moshi-Dagomba, Ewe, and Ga)

Guinea: French (official), each ethnic group has its own language

Guinea Bissau: Portuguese (official), Crioulo, African languages

Kenya: English (official), Kiswahili (official), numerous indigenous languages

Lesotho: Sesotho (southern Sotho), English (official), Zulu, Xhosa

Liberia: English 20% (official), some 20 ethnic group languages, of which a few can be written and are used in correspondence

Libya: Arabic, Italian, English, all are widely understood in the major cities

Mali: French (official), Bambara 80%, numerous African languages

Mauritania: Arabic (official), Pulaar, Soninke, French, Hassaniya, Wolof

Mauritius: Creole 80.5%, Bhojpuri 12.1%, French 3.4% (official), other 3.7%, unspecified 0.3%

Morocco: Arabic (official), Berber dialects, French often the language of business, government, and diplomacy

Mozambique: Emakhuwa 26.1%, Xichangana 11.3%, Portuguese 8.8% (official; spoken by 27% of population as a second language), Elomwe 7.6%, Cisena 6.8%, Echuwabo 5.8%, other Mozambican languages 32%, other foreign languages 0.3%, unspecified 1.3%

Namibia: English 7% (official), Afrikaans common language of most of the population and about 60% of the white population, German 32%, indigenous languages: Oshivambo, Herero, Nama

Niger: French (official), Hausa, Djerma

Nigeria: English (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo), Fulani

Reunion: French (official), Creole widely used

Rwanda: Kinyarwanda (official) universal Bantu vernacular, French (official), English (official), Kiswahili (Swahili) used in commercial centers

Senegal: French (official), Wolof, Pulaar, Jola, Mandinka

Seychelles: Creole 91.8%, English 4.9% (official), other 3.1%, unspecified 0.2%

Sierra Leone: English (official, regular use limited to literate minority), Mende (principal vernacular in the south), Temne (principal vernacular in the north), Krio (English-based Creole, spoken by the descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area, a lingua franca and a first language for 10% of the population but understood by 95%)

Somalia: Somali (official), Arabic, Italian, English

Sudan: Arabic (official), Nubian, Ta Bedawie, diverse dialects of Nilotic, Nilo-Hamitic, Sudanic languages, English
note: program of "Arabization" in process

Swaziland: English (official, government business conducted in English), siSwati (official)

Tanzania:Kiswahili or Swahili (official), Kiunguja (name for Swahili in Zanzibar), English (official, primary language of commerce, administration, and higher education), Arabic (widely spoken in Zanzibar), many local languages
note: Kiswahili (Swahili) is the mother tongue of the Bantu people living in Zanzibar and nearby coastal Tanzania; although Kiswahili is Bantu in structure and origin, its vocabulary draws on a variety of sources, including Arabic and English, and it has become the lingua franca of central and eastern Africa; the first language of most people is one of the local languages

Togo: French (official and the language of commerce), Ewe and Mina (the two major African languages in the south), Kabye (sometimes spelled Kabiye) and Dagomba (the two major African languages in the north)

Tunisia: Arabic (official and one of the languages of commerce), French (commerce)

Uganda: English (official national language, taught in grade schools, used in courts of law and by most newspapers and some radio broadcasts), Ganda or Luganda (most widely used of the Niger-Congo languages, preferred for native language publications in the capital and may be taught in school), other Niger-Congo languages, Nilo-Saharan languages, Swahili, Arabic

Western Sahara: Hassaniya Arabic, Moroccan Arabic

Zaire: - 

Zambia: English (official), major vernaculars - Bemba, Kaonda, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, Nyanja, Tonga, and about 70 other indigenous languages

Zimbabwe: English (official), Shona, Sindebele (the language of the Ndebele, sometimes called Ndebele), numerous but minor tribal dialects
 

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 
 

Australasia
  
Australia: English 79.1%, Chinese 2.1%, Italian 1.9%, other 11.1%, unspecified 5.8%

Cook Islands: English (official), Maori

Fiji: English (official), Fijian, Hindustani

French Polynesia: French 61.1% (official), Polynesian 31.4% (official), Asian languages 1.2%, other 0.3%, unspecified 6%

Guam: English 38.3%, Chamorro 22.2%, Philippine languages 22.2%, other Pacific island languages 6.8%, Asian languages 7%, other languages 3.5% 

Micronesia: English (official and common language), Trukese, Pohnpeian, Yapese, Kosrean, Ulithian, Woleaian, Nukuoro, Kapingamarangi

New Caledonia: French (official), 33 Melanesian-Polynesian dialects

New Zealand: English (official), Maori (official)

Northern Mariana Islands: Philippine languages 24.4%, Chinese 23.4%, Chamorro 22.4%, English 10.8%, other Pacific island languages 9.5%, other 9.6%

Palau: Palauan 64.7% official in all islands except Sonsoral (Sonsoralese and English are official), Tobi (Tobi and English are official), and Angaur (Angaur, Japanese, and English are official), Filipino 13.5%, English 9.4%, Chinese 5.7%, Carolinian 1.5%, Japanese 1.5%, other Asian 2.3%, other languages 1.5%

Papua New Guinea: Melanesian Pidgin serves as the lingua franca, English spoken by 1%-2%, Motu spoken in Papua region
note: 715 indigenous languages - many unrelated

Vanuatu: local languages (more than 100) 72.6%, pidgin (known as Bislama or Bichelama) 23.1%, English 1.9%, French 1.4%, other 0.3%, unspecified 0.7%

Caribbean
  
Anguilla: English (official)

Antigua and Barbuda: English (official), local dialects

Aruba: Dutch (official), Papiamento (a Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, English dialect), English (widely spoken), Spanish

Bahamas: English (official), Creole (among Haitian immigrants)

Barbados: English

Bermuda: English (official), Portuguese

Cayman Islands: English

Costa Rica: Spanish (official), English

Dominica: English (official), French patois

Dominican Republic: Spanish 

Grenada: English (official), French patois

Guadeloupe: French (official) 99%, Creole patois

Haiti: French (official), Creole (official)

Jamaica: English, patois English

Martinique: French, Creole patois

Netherlands Antilles: Papiamento 65.4% (a Spanish-Portuguese-Dutch-English dialect), English 15.9% (widely spoken), Dutch 7.3% (official), Spanish 6.1%, Creole 1.6%, other 1.9%, unspecified 1.8%

Puerto Rico: Spanish, English

Saint Kitts And Nevis: English 

Saint Lucia: English (official), French patois

St Vincent And The Grenadines: English, French patois

Trinidad And Tobago: English (official), Hindi, French, Spanish, Chinese

Turks And Caicos Islands: English (official)

Virgin Islands - British: English (official)

Virgin Islands - U.S.: English 74.7%, Spanish or Spanish Creole 16.8%, French or French Creole 6.6%, other 1.9% 


Central America
  
Belize:  English (official), Spanish, Mayan, Garifuna (Carib), Creole

Costa Rica: Spanish (official), English

El Salvador: Spanish, Nahua (among some Amerindians)

Equatorial Guinea: Spanish (official), French (official), pidgin English, Fang, Bubi, Ibo

Guatemala:Spanish 60%, Amerindian languages 40% (23 officially recognized Amerindian languages, including Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi, Mam, Garifuna, and Xinca)

Honduras: Spanish, Amerindian dialects

Nicaragua: Spanish 97.5% (official), Miskito 1.7%, other 0.8%
note: English and indigenous languages on Atlantic coast

Panama: Spanish (official), English 14%; note - many Panamanians bilingual


Europe
  
Andorra:  Catalan (official), French, Castilian, Portuguese

Armenia (Asia Border): Armenian, Azerbaijani, Kurdish, Russian

Austria: German (official nationwide), Slovene (official in Carinthia), Croatian (official in Burgenland), Hungarian (official in Burgenland)

Azerbaijan (Asia Border):  Azerbaijani (Azeri) 89%, Russian 3%, Armenian 2%, other 6% (1995 est.)

Balkan States

Belarus: Belarusian, Russian, other

Belgium: Dutch (official) 60%, French (official) 40%, German (official) less than 1%, legally bilingual (Dutch and French)

CZech Rep: Czech 

Denmark: Danish, Faroese, Greenlandic (an Inuit dialect), German (small minority)
note: English is the predominant second language

Estonia: Estonian (official) 67.3%, Russian 29.7%,

Finland: Finnish 92% (official), Swedish 5.6% (official), other 2.4% (small Sami- and Russian-speaking minorities)

France: French 100%, rapidly declining regional dialects and languages (Provencal, Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish)

Georgia (Asia Border): Georgian 71% (official), Russian 9%, Armenian 7%, Azeri 6%, other 7%
note: Abkhaz is the official language in Abkhazia

Georgia and Sandwich Islands (Asia Border): Georgian 71% (official), Russian 9%, Armenian 7%, Azeri 6%, other 7%

Germany: German 

Gilbralter: English (used in schools and for official purposes), Spanish, Italian, Portuguese

Greece: Greek 99% (official), English, French

Hungary: Hungarian 93.6%

Iceland: Icelandic, English, Nordic languages, German widely spoken

Ireland: English (official) is the language generally used, Irish (official) (Gaelic or Gaeilge) spoken mainly in areas located along the western seaboard

Italy: Italian (official), German (parts of Trentino-Alto Adige region are predominantly German speaking), French (small French-speaking minority in Valle d'Aosta region), Slovene (Slovene-speaking minority in the Trieste-Gorizia area)

Kazakhstan (Asia Border): Kazakh (Qazaq, state language) 64.4%, Russian (official, used in everyday business, designated the "language of interethnic communication") 95%

Latvia: Latvian (official) 58.2%, Russian 37.5%, Lithuanian and other 4.3%

Liechtenstein: German (official), Alemannic dialect

Lithuania: Lithuanian (official) 82%, Russian 8%, Polish 5.6%

Luxembourg: Luxembourgish (national language), German (administrative language), French (administrative language)

Malta: Maltese (official), English (official)

Martinique: French, Creole patois

Mayotte: Mahorian (a Swahili dialect), French (official language) spoken by 35% of the population

Moldova: Moldovan (official, virtually the same as the Romanian language), Russian, Gagauz (a Turkish dialect)

Monaco: French (official), English, Italian, Monegasque

Netherlands: Dutch (official), Frisian (official)

Norway: Bokmal Norwegian (official), Nynorsk Norwegian (official), small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities

Poland: Polish 97.8%, other and unspecified 2.2%

Portugal: Portuguese (official), Mirandese (official - but locally used)

Russia (Asia Border): Russian, many minority languages

San Marino: Italian 

Slovakia: Slovak (official) 83.9%, Hungarian 10.7%, Roma 1.8%, Ukrainian 1%, other or unspecified 2.6% 

Spain: Castilian Spanish 74%, Catalan 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2%; note - Castilian is the official language nationwide; the other languages are official regionally

Svalbard: Norwegian, Russian

Sweden: Swedish, small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities

Switzerland: German (official) 63.7%, French (official) 20.4%, Italian (official) 6.5%, Serbo-Croatian 1.5%, Albanian 1.3%, Portuguese 1.2%, Spanish 1.1%, English 1%, Romansch 0.5%, other 2.8% (2000 census)
note: German, French, Italian, and Romansch are all national languages, but only the first three are official languages

Tajikistan: Tajik (official), Russian widely used in government and business

Turkmenistan (Asia Border): Turkmen 72%, Russian 12%, Uzbek 9%, other 7%

Ukraine: Ukrainian (official) 67%, Russian 24%; small Romanian-, Polish-, and Hungarian-speaking minorities

Uzbekistan (Asia Border):  Uzbek 74.3%, Russian 14.2%, Tajik 4.4%, other 7.1%

Vatican City State: Italian, Latin, French, various other languages
 

Northeast Europe:
Faroe Islands:  Faroese (derived from Old Norse), Danish

Balkan States:
Albania: Albanian (official - derived from Tosk dialect), Greek, Vlach, Romani, Slavic dialects

Bulgaria: Bulgarian 84.5%, Turkish 9.6%, Roma 4.1%, other and unspecified 1.8%

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian

Croatia: Croatian 96.1%, Serbian 1%, other and undesignated 2.9% (including Italian, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, and German)

Greece: Greek 99% (official), English, French

Macedonia: Macedonian 66.5%, Albanian 25.1%, Turkish 3.5%, Roma 1.9%, Serbian 1.2%, other 1.8%

Romania: Romanian (official), Hungarian, German

Slovenia: Slovenian 91.1%, Serbo-Croatian 4.5%, other or unspecified 4.4% 

Yugoslavia


North America
  
American Samoa: Samoan 90.6% (closely related to Hawaiian and other Polynesian languages), English 2.9%, Tongan 2.4%, other Pacific islander 2.1%, other 2%

Canada: English (official) 59.3%, French (official) 23.2%, other 17.5%

Mexico: Spanish, various Mayan, Nahuatl, and other regional indigenous languages

Puerto Rico: Spanish, English

ST. Pierre & Mignelon (near Canada): French (official)

United States: English 82.1%, Spanish 10.7%, other Indo-European 3.8%, Asian and Pacific island 2.7%, other 0.7% 


South America
  
Argentina: Spanish (official), English, Italian, German, French

Bolivia: Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara (official)

Brazil: Portuguese (official), Spanish, English, French

Chile: Spanish 

Colombia: Spanish 

Ecuador: Spanish (official), Amerindian languages (especially Quechua)

Falkland Islands: English 

Paraguay: Spanish (official), Guarani (official)

Peru: Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara, and a large number of minor Amazonian languages

Uruguay: Spanish, Portunol, or Brazilero (Portuguese-Spanish mix on the Brazilian frontier)

Venezuela: Spanish (official), numerous indigenous dialects
 

Guianas:
French Guiana: French 

Guyana: English, Amerindian dialects, Creole, Hindi, Urdu

Suriname: Dutch (official), English (widely spoken), Sranang Tongo (Surinamese, sometimes called Taki-Taki, is native language of Creoles and much of the younger population and is lingua franca among others), Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), Javanese



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