Ultimate Alphabetical List of Languages of the World -> A to Z
Language is so ingrained in our everyday lives, that it’s easy to overlook its importance and necessity. Both on a personal level as well as on a societal level. Language is an essential way of communication and interaction. Language allows us to understand, interpret, ponder, reflect, and express thoughts and ideas from a different country and a different culture. Language has immense power. Languages of the world, a vital component that underlies societal development, unites people, strengthens bonds, allows for cultural accessibility, and for the expression of values and beliefs.
With this importance in mind, continue reading to discover an alphabetical list of world languages in 2023.
>> Before we get into the list of languages of the world, you may be wondering:
How many total languages are there in the world?
The world is a diverse place, with over 7,110 living languages in existence and being spoken at present.
However, it is worth noting that this number is not fixed, but rather in a state of constant flux. This total number of different languages does not include dialects either.
It is actually pretty difficult to determine the exact number of languages spoken worldwide as language is a dynamic and living concept. It continuously evolves, emerges, adapts, or become extinct, driven by a constantly changing world.
Did you know:
While the total number of languages in the world exceeds 7,000, 75% of the world’s population are able to communicate and interact using just 20 languages.
Approximately 44% of world languages in existence are now endangered. These minority languages, a handful of which have fewer than 1,000 speakers remaining, are in serious danger and can be assumed to be on their way to extinction.
When a language becomes lost or extinct, along with its death comes the death of everything tied to that language. Its traditions, its knowledge, its stories, its people and their connection with the past.
>> If we look at languages on a continent level…
The total number of languages for each continent varies greatly, with Asia leading the way with over 2,294 languages. This is followed by the continent of Africa, where you will hear almost 2,000 languages being spoken. Then comes Oceania and America, each having 1,000 languages. At the tail end of this is Europe with only 280 languages spoken continent-wide.
Did this surprise you as much as it did for me?
Of the 165 indigenous languages in North America, only eight are spoken by at least 10,000 people.
>> If we look at world languages on a country level…
What is the country with the highest number of languages and dialects?
Papua New Guinea is the most linguistically diverse place on earth, holding the record with nearly 850 languages spoken across the country.
This small tropical island nation in the southwestern Pacific has a population of just 9,4 million, yet more than 800 languages can be heard here. These languages belong to between 40 and 50 distinct families, with the oldest one in the Papuan group, dating back tens of thousands of years.
The country of Indonesia isn’t far behind with over 700 spoken languages.
Another country that is highly diversified linguistically is Tanzania. Swahili is the lingua franca here, but 127 other languages are spoken amongst its 64 million citizens.
Did you know:
The country with the highest number of official languages at a national level is Zimbabwe.
>> Related reading: How to say
hello in different languages
What are the most spoken languages in the world?
The answer to this differs based on the criteria being considered.
1 — If we look at the number of people who speak the language as their first language, Mandarin Chinese is ahead of the pack. This number equals 918 million native speakers.
Spanish comes in second with 480 million native speakers, followed closely by English with 379 million native speakers.
2 — We could also focus on the total number of speakers. The world’s most spoken language, in this case, is English, with 1.348 million total number of speakers. Runner up in Mandarin Chinese with 1.120 million and Hindi with over 600 million total number of speakers.
What is world’s oldest written language?
Evidence shows us that Sumerian language is the oldest written language in the world. It dates all the way back to 3100 BC in a region that was known as southern Mesopotamia.
Did you know:
Most languages belong to a language-family.
What is meant by this? Well, a language family is a group of world languages that are genetically related to one another. There are around 250 families of languages.
The most widely known language family is the Indo-European family, to which English belongs, along with some 200 other Indo-European languages.
Continue reading to discover the complete list of world languages in alphabetical order.
LIST OF LANGUAGES IN THE WORLD
Here’s your alphabetical list of languages of the world.
Are you ready to take a trip around the globe and discover all the world languages?
I have included every different language in the world I could think of. If you don’t spot your language, let me know and I will be happy to add it to this world languages list.
Here is your ultimate list world languages? Every language in the world here ↓
Let’s get into it…
Languages that start with a
Afrikaans is a West Germanic language of Southern Africa mostly derived from Dutch. It developed as Dutch settlers and indigenous African mixed languages beginning in the 17th century. Today, an estimated 15 to 23 million people call Afrikaans their mother tongue. It is mainly spoken in South Africa and Namibia and can also be heard in parts of Botswana and Zimbabwe.
Aklan also known as Aklanon is an Austronesian language spoken by 460,000 Aklanon people in the province of Aklan on the island of Panay in the Philippines.
Albanian is an Indo-European language, spoken mainly in Albania and Kosovo, though it is also spoken in other areas of the Balkans. With about 7.5 million speakers, it comprises an independent branch within the Indo-European languages and is not closely related to any other language in Europe.
Aleut or Unangam Tunuu is a member of the Eskimo-Aleut language family, spoken by the Aleut people living on the Alaskan Peninsula, and on the Commander, Aleutian, and Pribilof Islands. It is the only language in the Aleut branch of the Eskimo–Aleut language family.
Alsatian is a West Germanic language spoken by around 900,000 people, mainly in the Alsace region of northeastern France.
Altai is a language belonging to the Turkic language family and is officially spoken in the Altai Republic of Russia.
American Sign Language (ASL)
American Sign Language is a complete, natural language that has the same linguistic properties as spoken languages, with grammar that differs from English, expressed by movements of the hands and face.
Amharic is a Semitic language and the official language of Ethiopia. It can also be heard in Egypt and Eritrea, as well as in Israel, Sweden, Canada, and the United States.
Antillean Creole is a French-based creole that is mainly spoken by the people of the Lesser Antilles that include Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Lucia, Dominica, Grenada, and Trinidad and Tobago. The language is related to Haitian Creole, but has a number of distinctive features, with grammar and vocabulary that contain elements of French, English, and African languages.
Arabic (العربية) is a Semitic language spoken by over 420 million people as their first language in areas including North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and other parts of the Middle East. Many more people can also understand it as a second language. Modern Standard Arabic is the liturgical language for 1.6 billion Muslims and is the official written form of the language with the Arabic alphabet, which is written from right to left.
Aragonese, or Aragonés, is a language in the Romance language family that is native to Spain and spoken by just over 10,000 people in the Pyrenees valley of Aragon.
Aramaic ארמית is a member of the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family that originated among the Arameans in the ancient region of Syria. It has a 3,000-year history and is still spoken by small groups of people in different parts of the Middle East.
Arapaho is one of the Plains Algonquian languages from the Algic language family, spoken by the Arapaho of Wyoming and Oklahoma.
Armenian is an Indo-European language spoken in the Republic of Armenia, as well as in large communities of Armenian diaspora by around 6.7 million people.
Assamese is an Indo-Aryan language spoken in the northeast Indian state of Assam, where it is an official language. Native to India and Bangladesh, it is spoken by over 23 million people.
Assyrian, also known as Syrian or neo Aramaic is the East Semitic dialect that evolved from ancient Akkadian after 1950 B.C. As a Semitic language, it originated from the middle eastern region and is related to Arabic and Hebrew.
Asturian is a West Iberian Romance language spoken by around 400,000 people in Asturias, Spain.
Australia has no official language, however Australian English is the variety of English spoken here.
Aymara is an Aymaran language spoken by the Aymara people of the Bolivian Andes. It is an official language in Bolivia and Peru and one of only a handful of Native American languages with over one million speakers.
Azerbaijani or Azeri is the primary and official language of Azerbaijan by its 8.8 million native speakers. It is also widely spoken in Northern Iran and to a small extent in southern Dagestan, the Kvemo Kartli region of Georgia, eastern Turkey, in Shia cities of Iraq, like Karbala and Kirkuk. The language is a Turkic language and is highly intelligible with modern-day Turkish.
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Balinese belongs to the Malayo-Polynesian language family and is spoken by around 3.3 million people on the Indonesian island of Bali as well as the regions of Nusa Penida, Lombok, Java, Sumatra, and Sulawesi.
Bambara, also known as Bamana or Bamanankan, is a lingua franca and national language of Mali. Belonging to the Niger-Congo language family, it is spoken by around 15 million people.
Basque (euskara) is a language spoken in the Basque Country (Gipuzkoa, Araba, Bizkaia) and Navarra (in Spain) as well as in the French Basque Country (Labourd, Soule, and Basse-Navarre). Linguistically, Basque is a language isolate and is unrelated to the other languages of Europe.
Bashkir is an endangered language belonging to the Kipchak branch of the Turkic languages. Closely related to the Tatar and Kazakh languages, it is spoken by around 1.4 million native speakers in Russia, as well as in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Uzbekistan, and other neighboring post-Soviet regions.
Bavarian / Austrian German
Bavarian is a regional dialect of German spoken in the German state of Bavaria, western Austria, and Northeastern Italy by over 14 million people. It uses German grammar, but takes several root words from Latin.
Belarusian is the official language of Belarus. This East Slavic language is also spoken in Russia, Ukraine, and Poland.
Bengali বাংলা is the only official language of Bangladesh, one of the 22 official languages of India, and the sixth most spoken language in the world. It is spoken as a first language by the majority of the population in Bangladesh, as well as people in the Indian state of West Bengal.
Berber, also known as the Amazigh languages, is a branch of the Afroasiatic language family that comprises of around forty closely related languages spoken by the Berbers. The Berber people are indigenous to North Africa, with the heaviest concentration found in Morocco. The major Berber languages include Tamazight, Tarifit, Tashelhit (Tashelhiyt, Tashelhait, Shilha), Kabyle, and Tamahaq.
Bhojpuri is an Indo-Aryan Bihari language, considered to be one of the most rapidly growing languages in the world, spoken by over 40 million speakers in northern-eastern India and the Terai region of Nepal.
Bislama is an English-based creole language and one of the official languages of the island of Vanuatu with around 10,000 native speakers.
Bodo बर’/बड़ is the Sino-Tibetan language spoken primarily by the Bodo people of Northeast India, Nepal, and Bengal. It is official language of the Bodoland Autonomous region and co-official language of the state of Assam in India.
Bosnian, a south Slavic language of the Indo-European family, is the official language of Bosnia and is essentially the same language as Croatian and Serbian. All three languages used to be known as Serbo-Croatian before the break-up of Yugoslavia.
Brazilian Portuguese (Português do Brasil) is the variety of Portuguese dialect spoken in Brazil. It is spoken by virtually all of the 200 million inhabitants of Brazil and spoken widely across the Brazilian diaspora. European Portuguese differs from the Brazilian variety in pronunciation, as well as in some vocabulary.
Breton is a Southwestern Brittonic language of the Celtic language spoken in Brittany in the northwest of France.
British Sign Language (BSL)
British Sign Language is a sign language used in the United Kingdom as the first or preferred language of some deaf people. The language makes use of space and involves movement of the hands, body, face, and head.
Bulgarian is a South Slavic language spoken in Southeastern Europe, primarily in Bulgaria. It is the country’s only official language and Bulgarian is written with Cyrillic.
Burmese is a Sino-Tibetan language spoken in Myanmar where it is an official language and the language of the Bamar people, the country’s principal ethnic group.
Khmer is the language of the Khmer people and the official language of Cambodia. With over 16 million speakers, it is the second most widely spoken Austroasiatic language.
Catalan is a Western Romance language derived from Vulgar Latin and named after the medieval Principality of Catalonia, in northeastern of modern Spain. It is the only official language of Andorra, and a co-official language of the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands of Spain, and Valencia.
Cebuano, also known as Bisaya or Binisaya, is an Austronesian language spoken in the southern Philippines region in Central Visayas, western parts of Eastern Visayas, and the majority of Mindanao.
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Chamorro is an Austronesian language, the native and spoken language of the Chamorro people, who are the indigenous people of the Mariana Islands.
Cheyenne is the Native American language spoken by the Cheyenne people of the United States. It is part of the Algonquian language family. The Cheyenne are a Native American tribe that live in the Great Plains of Minnesota, Montana, Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming, and South Dakota.
Chichewa, also known as Nyanja, is a Bantu language spoken in much of Southern, Southeast and East Africa. It is the national language of Malawi and is also spoken in Zambia, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.
Cantonese is a variety of Chinese originating from the city of Guangzhou and its surrounding area in Southeastern China. Belonging to the Sino-Tibetan family of languages, it is the traditional prestige variety of the Yue Chinese dialect group, which has about 68 million native speakers.
Mandarin Chinese is the official language of Mainland China and Taiwan, and is one of the official languages of Singapore. Mandarin is often placed first in lists of languages by number of native speakers with almost a billion speakers.
Cimbrian is a language of Germanic origin spoken by more than 2,000 people in Northern Italy. It is related to Bavarian and refers to any of several local Upper German varieties spoken in the region, with the speakers of the language referred to as Zimbern.
Cornish is a Southwestern Brittonic language that forms part of the Celtic language family. It became an extinct language in Cornwall at the end of the 18th century and underwent a revival in the 20th century.
Corsican is a Romance language from the Italo-Dalmatian family that is spoken predominantly on the Mediterranean island of Corsica. Corsican is closely related to Tuscan and to the Florentine-based Italian.
Croatian or Hrvatski is a South Slavic language spoken mainly in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, some parts of Serbia, and the neighbouring countries by about 5.5 million people.
Czech is a Western Slavic language which is mutually intelligible with Slovak. It is mainly spoken in the Czech Republic with over 10,5 million speakers.
Danish is a Scandinavian language and the only official language of the Kingdom of Denmark. Closely related to Swedish and Norwegian, it is spoken in Denmark and in some parts of Greenland and northern Germany.
Dari is the most widely spoken language in Afghanistan and the native language of approximately 40–45% of the population. Along with Pashto, Dari is the national language of Afghanistan and serves as a lingua franca among speakers of the many different languages of the country. Dari is the Afghan dialect of Farsi (Persian). It is written in a modified Arabic alphabet, and has many Arabic and Persian loanwords.
Dhivehi or Maldivian is an Indo-Aryan language spoken on the islands of Maldives where it is an official language.
Dogri is a Northern Indo-Aryan language spoken by around five million people in India, mainly in the Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir.
Dothraki is a constructed fictional language spoken by the Dothraki, a nomadic people in the fictional world of George Martin’s fantasy novel series A Song of Ice and Fire and its television adaptation the Game of Thrones.
Duala, a Bantu language family cluster, is spoken by the Duala and Mungo people of Cameroon. Some linguists split Douala into five further languages namely Douala, Bodiman, Oli, Pongo, and Mongo.
Dutch is a West Germanic language spoken by about 27 million people world-wide mostly in the Netherlands and northern Belgium.
Dzonkha or Bhutanese is the sole official and national language of the Kingdom of Bhutan. This Sino-Tibetan language is spoken by over half a million people in Bhutan and is written with the Tibetan alphabet.
Elfdalian also called Övdalian is a North Germanic Indo-European language spoken by up to 3,000 people in the Älvdalen region of Sweden.
Elvish Sindarin is one of the fictional languages created by J. R. R. Tolkien for use in his fantasy stories set in Arda, primarily in Middle-earth. Sindarin is one of the many languages spoken by the Elves, called the Eledhrim or Edhellim in Sindarin.
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English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in Anglo-Saxon England in the early Middle Ages. It is spoken in many countries around the world with over 375 million native speakers. English is the second most spoken language, and the most international language in the world.
Esperanto is an artificially constructed language and belongs to no linguistic family, with most of its vocabulary coming from the Romance languages. This phonetic language is the most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language.
Estonian is a Finno-Ugric language spoken as the official language in Estonia. It is closely related to Finnish.
Ewe, part of a cluster of related languages commonly called the Gbe languages, is a language spoken by approximately 20 million people in West Africa, mainly in Ghana, Togo and Benin.
Faroese is a North Germanic language spoken as a first language by Faroe Islanders, residing on the Faroe Islands and in other areas, mainly Denmark.
Farsi / Persian
Persian is an ancient language belonging to the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian subdivision of the Indo-European languages. It is a pluricentric language predominantly spoken and used officially within Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan.
Fijian is an Austronesian language of the Malayo-Polynesian family. It is an official language of Fiji spoken by some 350,000–450,000 ethnic Fijians as a native language.
Finnish is a Finno-Ugric language spoken only in Finland as the official language and by ethnic Finns elsewhere in Scandinavia.
Flemish is a Low Franconian dialect cluster of the Dutch language, native to the historical region of Flanders in northern Belgium. It is sometimes referred to as Flemish Dutch, Belgian Dutch, or Southern Dutch spoken by over 6 million people.
French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family spoken by over 354 million people in France and around the world. It is the third most spoken language in Europe, the official language of 29 countries, spoken in parts of Africa, North America, and South America.
The Frisian languages are a closely related group of Germanic languages, spoken by about 500,000 Frisian people, who live on the southern fringes of the North Sea in the Netherlands and Germany.
Friulian or Friulan is a Romance language of the Rhaeto-Romance family. It is spoken in the Friuli region of northeastern Italy with around 600,000 total speakers.
Fula, also referred to as Fulani or Fulah, is a Senegambian branch of the Niger-Congo language family spoken by more than 40 million people in Central and West Africa.
Galician is a Romance language spoken by around 2.4 million people in Galicia, a region in northwestern Spain, where it is the official language.
Georgian is the official language of Georgia and the country’s most widely spoken language with over 4.1 million people.
German Deutsch is the official language of both Germany and Austria and one of the three official languages of Switzerland. German belongs to the West Germanic group of the Indo-European language family. One of the major languages of the world, German is a native language to almost 100 million people worldwide and the most widely spoken native language in the European Union.
Gilbertese, also called Kiribati, is an Austronesian Oceanic language spoken mainly in Kiribati, but also on the islands of Fiji, the Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu.
Greek (ελληνικά) belongs to the Hellenic branch of the Indo-European language family, mainly spoken in Greece, the islands of Greece, and Cyprus an an official language. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. There are about 13.1 million speakers of Greek worldwide and it is recognised as a minority language in Albania, Armenia, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Turkey, and Ukraine.
Greenlandic falls under the Eskimo–Aleut language family, spoken by around 57,000 Greenlandic Inuit people in Greenland.
Guadeloupean Creole, also known as Patwa, Patois or Kreyol, is spoken by around 400,000 speakers in the Guadeloupean Archipelago of the Caribbean. It is mainly French-Based, but also has some vocabulary from English, Bantu languages. and Amerindian languages.
Guaraní is a South American language that belongs to the Tupi–Guarani family of the Tupian languages with over 6.5 million native speakers in Paraguay, Argentina, and Bolivia.
Gujarati is an Indo-Aryan language native to the Indian state of Gujarat and spoken predominantly by the Gujarati people. Gujarati is part of the greater Indo-European language family.
Guyanese Creole is an English-based creole language spoken by the Guyanese people of Guyana. Based on 19th-century English, it is similar to other English dialects of the Caribbean region with loan words from West African, Arawakan, Indian-South Asian, and older Dutch languages.
Haitian Creole (kreyòl ayisyen)) is a French-based creole language spoken by 10–12 million people worldwide and the only language of most Haitians. Along with French it is one of the official languages of Haiti.
Hausa language, the most important indigenous bridge language in West and Central Africa, spoken as a first or second language by about 40–50 million people. It belongs to the Western branch of the Chadic language family within the Afro-Asiatic language phylum. It is spoken mainly in northern Nigeria and Niger, and also in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Congo, Eritrea, Germany, Ghana, Sudan, and Togo.
The Hawaiian language is a Polynesian language that takes its name from Hawaiʻi, the largest island in the tropical North Pacific archipelago where it developed. Hawaiian, along with English, is an official language of the State of Hawaii and here are the best Hawaiian words to know.
Hebrew is a Northwest Semitic language spoken by over nine million people worldwide. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites and their ancestors. It is written using its own script from right to left.
Hindi (हिन्दी) is an Indo-European language spoken in India, Nepal, and throughout the Indian diaspora. Hindi is descended from Sanskrit, sometimes called “the mother of all languages.” While there are 22 official languages and over 1,000 dialects of India, Hindi and English take precedence in government affairs. It is a link-language for over half of India’s population.
Hmong is a Hmong-Mien language spoken by about 2.6 million people in China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, USA, and French Guiana.
Hopi is a Uto-Aztecan language spoken by the Hopi people in northeastern Arizona, USA.
Hungarian is a Uralic language of the Ugric branch spoken in Hungary and parts of several neighbouring countries. It is the official language of Hungary and one of the 24 official languages of the European Union.
Icelandic (íslenska) is a North Germanic language spoken in Iceland as its official language. It’s most closely related to Faroese and Western Norwegian and has around 314,000 speakers. The language is more conservative than most other Western European languages.
Igbo is the principal native language of the Igbo people of southeastern Nigeria with around 45 million speakers and over 20 dialects.
Ilocano, an Austronesian language spoken in the Philippines, is the third most-spoken native language in the country. It is primarily spoken by the Ilocano people and also as a lingua franca by the Igorot people and the native settlers of Cagayan Valley.
Indonesian (bahasa Indonesia) is the official language of Indonesia.With over 230 million speakers, it is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. It is a group of varieties of Malay, an Austronesian language that has been used as the common language in the multilingual Indonesian archipelago for centuries. Indonesia uses the Latin alphabet system and Arabic numerals.
Inuktitut is an Eskimo-Aleut language spoken in Arctic territories and the topmost span of North America including Alaska and Northern Canada.
Irish (Gaeilge) is one of the three Goidelic languages, along with Scottish Gaelic and Manx. This Goidelic branch together with the Brythonic branch (Welsh, Cornish, and Breton) form the Celtic language family.
Italian (Italiano) is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family spoken by over 90 million people, the vast majority of which are in Italy, and the Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia. It is the official language of Italy, San Marino, and the Vatican City.
Japanese (日本語 Nihongo) is an East Asian language of the Japonic language family. It is spoken by about 125 million people, mostly in Japan, where it is the official and national language.
Jamaican Patois, often also referred to as Jamaican Creole, is an English-based creole language with West African influences spoken mainly in Jamaica. Belonging to the English Creole language family, it is spoken by the majority of Jamaicans with over 3 million native speakers.
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Javanese is the language of the Javanese people of the island of Java in Indonesia, where it is the native language of more than 98 million people.
Languages that start with k
Kabyle or Kabylian is a Berber language spoken by the Kabyle people in the north and northeast of Algeria. There are over 3,000,000 speakers Kabylian speakers worldwide, the majority of which are found in Algeria.
Kannada, spoken by nearly 45 million native speakers, is a Dravidian language of the people of Karnataka in southwestern India, and by significant linguistic minorities in the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Kerala, and abroad.
Kanuri is language within the Saharan branch of the Nilo-Saharan language family spoken by approximately four million people in Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon.
Karelian is a Finno-Ugric language of the Uralic language family, spoken in Karelia republic of northwestern Russia.
Kashubian is a member of the West Slavic group of Slavic languages with around 100,000 speakers in Poland.
Kazakh is a Turkic language of the Kipchak branch spoken in Central Asia and the official language of Kazakhstan. The language comprises 21 million native speakers including regions of Bayan-Ulgii in Mongolia and the Dzungarian region of Xinjiang, China.
Kikuyu or Gĩkũyũ is a Bantu language of the Niger-Congo language family that is spoken as a first language by over 6.6 million Agĩkũyũ people in Kenya.
Kinyarwanda, an official language of Rwanda, is a Bantu language of the Niger-Congo language family that is spoken by at least 10 million people in Rwanda, DR Congo, and Uganda.
Kirundi, or Rundi, is a Bantu language of the Niger-Congo language family, spoken by over 9 million people in Burundi where it is the official language. It is also spoken in parts of Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and in Uganda.
Klingon is a language that was made for the Klingons in the Star Trek movie. It is a constructed language, and not one that developed naturally. Only a few people can speak the Klingon language well enough to talk in it.
Konkani is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by over 3 million Konkani people who live in the Konkan region along the western coast of India. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages mentioned in the Indian Constitution, and the official language of the Indian state of Goa.
Korean, an East Asian language, is the official language of South Korea (Republic of Korea) and North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) spoken by more than 75 million people.
Krio or Sierra Leonean Creole is an English-based creole language that is lingua franca and de facto national language of the West African nation of Sierra Leone. It is the most widely spoken language in Sierra Leone with over 7 million speakers.
Kurdish is spoken by about 30 million Kurds in western Asia including parts of Kurdistan, Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and Syria. It is one of the Indo-Iranian languages, ranks as the third largest Iranian language, after Persian and Pashto. The two main written Kurdish dialects are Kurmanji (Northern Kurdish) and Sorani (Central Kurdish), whereby the former is the most widely spoken form of Kurdish. Kurmanji uses a Latin-based script (Kurmancî) and Sorani uses Arabic-based script (ینارۆس).
Kyrgyz is a member of the Kipchak branch of the Turkic language family spoken by over 4 million speakers mainly in Kyrgyzstan, and also in China, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Turkey.
Lao is the main language of Laos. It is a Kra–Dai language serving as a common language among all citizens of Laos, who speak approximately 90 other languages, many of which are unrelated to Lao. Modern Lao is heavily influenced by the Thai language and comprises over 30 million native speakers.
Latin was the dominant language of the Roman Empire from 6th century BC to 600 AD. When the Roman Empire collapsed, Latin evolved into the various languages that we know today. Italian, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Romanian all consider Latin as their parent tongue.
Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages.
Latvian (latviešu valoda) is an Indo-European Eastern Baltic language spoken in the Baltic region. It is the official language of Latvia and one of the official languages of the European Union.
Lebanese is a variety of North Levantine Arabic, indigenous to and spoken primarily in Lebanon. With significant linguistic influences borrowed from other Middle Eastern and European languages it is spoken by over 5,7 million native speakers.
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Limburgish is a member of the East Low Franconian group of the Germanic languages considered a variety of German or Dutch by many people. It is spoken by around 1.6 million people in the Netherlands and Belgium.
Lingala is a Bantu language spoken throughout the northwestern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and a large part of the Republic of the Congo by over 70 million people.
Lithuanian (lietuvių kalba) is an Eastern Baltic language spoken in the Baltic region as the official language of Lithuania. It is also one of the official languages of the European Union spoken by just under 3 million native speakers. The language is one of the oldest in the world.
Lojban is a carefully constructed spoken language created by the Logical Language Group in 1987. Lojban is proposed as a speakable language for communication between people of different language backgrounds. With its 1350 root words that can be easily combined to form a vocabulary of millions of words, it is considered as easy to learn.
Luganda, a Bantu language, is an official language of Uganda along with English and Swahili. It is spoken primarily in Kampala, but may be understood in much of the country and in the African Great Lakes region.
Luxembourgish is a West Germanic language that is spoken mainly in Luxembourg. About 390,000 people speak Luxembourgish worldwide.
Languages that start with m
Macedonian, the official language of the Republic of North Macedonia, is a south Slavic language spoken as a first language by 2 million people.
Maithili is an Indo-Aryan language spoken in parts of India and Nepal. It is written in the Devanagari script with over 50 million native speakers.
Malagasy is the national language of Madagascar belonging to the Austronesian Malayo-Polynesia family of languages spoken by 25 million people.
Malay (Bahasa Melayu) is an Austronesian language spoken as the sole official language of Malaysia and Brunei. It is also heard in Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand at a total of 250 – 300 million speakers.
Malayalam (മലയാളം) belongs to the Dravidian language family, spoken mostly in the Southern Indian states of Kerala and Lakshadweep. Around 36 million people use this language, which is one of the 22 official languages of India.
Maltese, a language of central Semitic origin written in the Latin script, is the national language of Malta. It is spoken by around 420,000 people on the Mediterranean islands of Malta, Gozo, and Comino. The Maltese language developed from Sicilian Arabic. Over the centuries, it has incorporated many words derived from English, Italian, and French.
Mandink, also called Mandingo, is a member of the Manding branch of the Niger-Congo language family. It is the official language of Senegal and is also spoken by the Mandinka people of Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Mali, Gambia, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Liberia, and Chad.
Manipuri or Meiteilon is a Tibeto-Burman language of northeast India. It is the official language and the lingua franca of Manipur as well as one of the 22 official languages of the Indian Republic, included in the 8th Schedule to the Indian Constitution.
Māori is an Eastern Polynesian language spoken by the Māori people, the indigenous population of New Zealand. it has also gained recognition as one of New Zealand’s official languages.
Marathi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by around 83.1 million Marathi people of Maharashtra, India. It is the official language and co-official language in the Maharashtra and Goa states of Western India, respectively, and is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India.
Marshallese, also known as Ebon, is a Micronesian language spoken in the Marshall Islands by about 44,000 people. It is an official language of the Marshall Islands, along with English, and is used as the language of instruction in most primary schools.
Martinican Creole is a French based creole spoken on the Caribbean island of Martinique, with a unique blend of African, European and Native American influences.
Mauritian Creole or Morisien, the de facto language of Mauritius, is a French-based creole language that is closely related to the Rodriguan, Seychellois, and Chagossian Creoles.
Minionese spoken by the minions of the Despicable Me movie series appears to be a polyglot language which borrows words and grammatical rules from many different languages.
Mizo is a Kuki-Chin language belonging to the Tibeto-Burman language family. It is the native language of about 700,000 people mainly in Mizoram state of India, Chin State, and Sagaing Region of Myanmar.
Mongolian is the official language of Mongolia and both the most widely-spoken and best-known member of the Mongolic language family. It is an Altaic language spoken by approximately 5 million people in Mongolia, China, Afghanistan, and Russia.
Montenegrin, the official language of Montenegro, is a South Slavic language spoken by almost 250,000 people in the country.
Moroccan Arabic, also known as Darija, is a form of vernacular Arabic spoken in Morocco. It is part of the Maghrebi Arabic dialect continuum, with over 30 million native speakers.
Nahuatl is a group of languages of the Uto-Aztecan language family. It was the language of the Aztecs and the Toltecs. Variations of Nahuatl are spoken by around 1.7 million Nahua people of Central Mexico and the USA and Nahuatl remains the most widely-spoken group of Native American languages in North America.
Nauruan is an Austronesian language, spoken natively on the island country of Nauru by around 6,000 people.
Navajo is an American Indian language of the Athabascan family, spoken by around 170, 000 Navajo people in the Southwestern United States regions of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado.
Na’vi is a constructed language, created for the fictional Na’vi, the humanoid inhabitants of the moon Pandora in the 2009 film Avatar.
Ndebele, an African language of the Nguni group of Bantu languages, is spoken by around 5 million Northern Ndebele people of Zimbabwe.
Nepali (नेपाली), is an Indo-Aryan language of the sub-branch of Eastern Pahari written in Devanagari script It is the sole official language of Nepal and one of the 22 scheduled languages of India. While most Nepalese people speak at least some Nepali, there are more than 100 different languages and dialects spoken in Nepal.
Neapolitan is a Romance language of the Italo-Dalmatian group spoken across much of southern Italy by 6 million people. It is related to but generally not mutually intelligible with Italian.
Nkore or Runyankore is a Bantu language of the Niger-Congo language family spoken by approximately 2.3 million Nkore people of south-western Uganda.
Northern Sotho / Sepedi
Northern Sotho is a Bantu language spoken primarily in South Africa, where it is one of the 11 official languages. It is spoken by about 4.2 million people in the South African provinces of Gauteng, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga.
Norwegian (norsk) is a Germanic language derived from Old Norse spoken primarily in Norway by over 5 million people where it is the official language.
Languages that start with o
Occitan, also known as lenga d’òc, is a Romance language that evolved from Latin. It is spoken across the Occitània region of Southern France, Monaco, the Occitan Valleys of Italy, and Val d’Aran in Catalonia.
Odia, also referred to as Oriya, is an Indo-Aryan language spoken in the Indian state of Odisha by 33 million native speakers where it is the official language.
Oromo is a Cushitic language spoken by about 30 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Egypt. It is the third largest language in Africa.
Palauan is a Malayo-Polynesian language spoken by almost 20,000 people in the Republic of Palau, where it is one of the two official languages, alongside English. It is also heard in Guam and Northern Mariana Islands.
Papiamento is a Portuguese-based creole language spoken in the Dutch Caribbean by less than 500,00 native speakers. It is the most-widely spoken language on the Caribbean ABC islands, having official status in Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao.
Pashto is an Eastern Iranian language in the Indo-European family spoken in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran. It is an official language of Afghanistan along with Dari.
Piedmontese is a regional Romance language spoken by around 2-3 million people throughout the Piedmont region of northwest Italy.
Polish (polski) is a West Slavic language spoken by about 45 million people. Said to be one of the hardest languages to learn, it is the official language of Poland. It is understood and can be used for communication in the western parts of Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania.
Portuguese (português) is a Romance language spoken as the official language of Portugal and Brazil. It is also the official language of Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé e Principe, Angola, Mozambique, and the co-official language of East Timor, and Macau.
There are around 200 million native Portuguese speakers.
Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language with more than 130 million native speakers in the Indian subcontinent and around the world. It is the 10th most spoken language in the world.
Quechua, also called Runasimi, is an indigenous language family spoken by the Quechua people of the Peruvian Andes. It has the status of an official language in both Peru and Bolivia.
Quenya is one of the fictional languages devised by J. R. R. Tolkien and used by the immortal Elves in the Lord of the Rings and as inspiration for countless travel quotes. Tolkien began devising the language around 1910 and restructured the grammar several times until Quenya reached its final state. The vocabulary remained relatively stable throughout the creation process.
Reunion Creole is a French-based Creole spoken on the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean. Spoken by the majority of the inhabitants of Reunion Island, it is derived mainly from French and includes terms from Malagasy, Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil, and Portuguese.
Romani is an Indo-Aryan macrolanguage with vocabulary and grammar that are related to Sanskrit. It is the only Indio-Aryan language that has been spoken exclusively in Europe since the Middle Ages by the Romani communities. The seven varieties of Romani are different enough to be considered languages of their own.
Romanian (limba română) is a Balkan Romance language spoken by approximately 24–26 million people as a native language, primarily in Romania and Moldova, and by another 4 million people as a second language.
Although it descended from Vulgar Latin, Romanian was influenced by Slavic and Greek languages in the Middle Ages. It is an official and national language of both Romania and Moldova.
Romansh is a Romance language spoken predominantly in the Swiss canton of the Grisons and Graubünden. Romansh, recognized as an official language of Switzerland, is considered an endangered language.
Russian is an East Slavic language spoken by 300+ million people worldwide. It is an official language in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, while many other people in Central Asia, the Baltic states, the Caucasus, and Eastern Europe know it as a second language.
Commonly written in Cyrillic, it is the 8th most widely spoken language in the world.
Languages that start with s
Samoan is the official language spoken in the Samoan Islands, which is made up of the Independent State of Samoa and the American Samoa.
The language is the most spoken of the Polynesian language family with a total of 510,000 speakers worldwide.
Sanskrit is a 4,000-year-old classical language that belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages.
Known as ‘the mother of all languages,’ Sanskrit is the root of many, but not all, Indian languages. It is also the liturgical language of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. Sanskrit has less than 15,000 native speakers at present and is mostly used by Hindu priests during religious ceremonies.
Sardinian or Sard is a Romance language spoken by over 1.5 million inhabitants of the Mediterranean island of Sardinia in Italy.
Scots Gaelic is a Goidelic language of the Celtic and Indo-European language family, native to the Gaels of Scotland. As a Goidelic language, Scottish Gaelic, like Modern Irish and Manx, developed out of Middle Irish.
Serbian is a South Slavic language spoken mainly in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, and Macedonia by about 9 million people.
Serbian is the official and main language of Serbia and Montenegro.
Sesotho (Southern Sotho) is a Southern Bantu language of the Sotho-Tswana group, spoken primarily by the Basotho in Lesotho, where it is the national and official language, South Africa, where it is one of the 11 official languages and in Zimbabwe where it is one of 16 official languages.
Seychellois Creole, or Seselwa, is a French-based creole language of the Seychelles where it is one of the official languages.
Shanghainese, part of the Sino-Tibetan language family, is a variety of Wu Chinese spoken in the central districts of the City of Shanghai and its surrounding areas by 10 – 14 million speakers.
Shona, one of the most widely spoken Bantu languages, is the main language in Zimbabwe.
Sicilian is a Romance language spoken by more than 4 million speakers on the island of Sicily in Italy.
Sindhi, an Indo-Aryan language, is the official language of the Pakistani province of Sindh and spoken by over 25 million Sindhi people.
Sinhala is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by approximately 16 million Sinhalese people in Sri Lanka and is one of two official languages of Sri Lanka.
Slovak, the official language of Slovakia, is a West Slavic language where it is spoken by approximately 5.6 million people.
Slovenian, an Indo-European language of the South Slavic language branch is the official and national language of Slovenia spoken by less than 3 million people.
Somali, an Afro-Asiatic language spoken by over 16 million people, is an official language of Somalia, a national language in Djibouti, and a working language in the Somali Region of Ethiopia.
Spanish is the second most widely used language in the world, natively spoken by more than 437 million people including Spain, most of Central and South America, Mexico, the Caribbean, Dominican Republic, and the USA.
It is a Romance language that originated in the Iberian Peninsula. There are over 21 countries in the world that have Spanish as their official language.
Sundanese is a Malayo-Polynesian language spoken by about 39 million people mainly in western Java in Indonesia.
There are also speakers in Banten, Jakarta, parts of western Central Java and southern Lampung. It is the third most-spoken language in Indonesia.
Swabian, a Germanic language closely related to German, Bavarian, and Dutch, is spoken by over 800,000 people, mainly in the Swabia region of southwestern Germany, as well as in parts of Hungary and Romania.
Swahili is a Bantu languages spoken by the Swahili communities in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Swati or Swazi is a Bantu language of the Nguni group spoken in Eswatini and South Africa by the Swazi people.
It is the official language of Swaziland (along with English) and since 1994 one of the nine indigenous languages to enjoy official recognition in South Africa. The number of speakers is estimated to be in the region of 2.4 million.
Swedish is a North Germanic language, closely related to Norwegian and Danish spoken by around 10 million people.
A descendant of Old Norse, it is the national language of Sweden and the official language of the Åland Islands.
Swiss German (Schweizerdeutsch) is the collective name for the great variety of Upper German dialects spoken in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, in the Austrian province of Vorarlberg, in parts of Baden-Württemberg in Germany and Alsace in France.
Languages that start with t
Tagalog is an Austronesian language spoken as a first language by a quarter of the population of the Philippines and as a second language by the majority.
Its standardized form, officially named Filipino, is the national language of the Philippines, and is one of two official languages alongside English.
Tahitian belongs to the Eastern Polynesian language group, spoken mainly on the Society Islands in French Polynesia and Bora Bora.
Taiwanese Hokkien is the Hokkien dialect of Min Nan as spoken by about 70 percent of the population of Taiwan.
Tajik is the main language of Tajikistan, closely related to Farsi and Kurdish. Since the late 1930s, it is written using a variant of the Cyrillic script.
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken in southern India, Sri Lanka, and Singapore by about 67.5 million people. It can also be heard in Mauritius and Malaysia.
Tarifit or Tarifit Berber is spoken by around 4 million speakers in Arrif (Northern Africa) and Europe.
Tatar (татарча), the national language of the Tatars, is a Turkic language spoken mainly in the Russian republic of Tatarstan as well as Siberia by about 7 million people in Central Asia. It refers to the Volga-Kipchak Kipchak subgroup of the Turkic group of languages.
Telugu is a Dravidian language spoken in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and the union territories of Puducherry by 75 million Telugu people.
Tetum is an official language of Timor-Leste belonging to the Austronesian language family and spoken by just under 400,000 people.
Thai ภาษาไทย, the sole official and national language of Thailand, spoken by 50 million people, belongs to the Tai group of the Kra–Dai language family of Southeast Asia.
Tibetan is an official language of the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China.
The Tibetic languages are a cluster of Tibeto-Burman languages descended from Old Tibetan, spoken across a wide area of eastern Central Asia bordering the Indian subcontinent, including the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalayas.
Tigrinya is a Semitic language commonly spoken by around 9.85 million people in Eritrea and in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia.
Tok Pisin, more commonly known as New Guinea Pidgin, is a creole language spoken throughout Papua New Guinea, where it is an official language. It is the most widely used language in the country, spoken by around 120,000 people.
Tongan is an Austronesian language of the Polynesian branch mainly spoken in Tonga, where it is the official language.
Cherokee (Tsalagi) belongs to the Iroquoian language family. The Cherokee language is unique among Native American languages in that it is both a written and spoken language.
Tshivenda or Venda is a Bantu language spoken by the Venda people of South Africa where it is an official language.
Tsonga is a Bantu language spoken by the Tsonga people totalling 12 million people mainly in South Africa, but also Mozambique and Eswatini.
Tswana, also known by its native name Setswana, is a Bantu language spoken by about 4.4 million people in Bostwana, where it is the national and majority language, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.
The majority of speakers, about 3.6 million, live in South Africa, where the language is officially recognised.
Turkish is a Turkic language believed to be of the Altaic language family spoken mainly in Turkey, Northern Cyprus, Cyprus, and other countries of the former Ottoman Empire by about 88 million people.
Turkmen belongs to the Turkic language family and is spoken by around 11 million Turkmen people of Central Asia, mainly in Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Iran.
Tuvaluan is a Polynesian language that is native to Tuvalu, Fiji, Kiribati, and Nauru.
Twi, or Akan kasa, is a dialect of the Akan Niger-Congo language family spoken by the Akan people in southern and central Ghana.
Ukrainian is an Eastern Slavic language spoken mainly in Ukraine by about 51 million people.
Urdu is the official national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. It is a member of the Indo-Aryan group within the Indo-European family of languages and is mutually intelligible with Hindi.
Uyghur is a Turkic language of the Karluk branch written in a Uyghur Perso-Arabic script. It is spoken primarily by 10 million Uyghur people in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China.
Uzbek is a Turkic language that is the official national language of Uzbekistan spoken by around 27 million people.
Vietnamese is an Austroasiatic language spoken mainly in Vietnam, where it is the national and official language, by about 82 million people.
Wallisian, or ʻUvean, is the Polynesian language spoken on Wallis Island. It belongs to the Austronesian language family and is spoken by just over 10,000 native speakers.
Walloon is a Romance language that belongs to the langues d’oïl language family. It is spoken in the region of Wallonia, as well as in some part of Belgium, northern France, and northeastern Wisconsin, U.S.
Welsh is a Brittonic language of the Celtic language family spoken natively in Wales, and by some in England.
Woiwurrung or Woiworung is an Australian Aboriginal language of the Kulin Nation of Central Victoria.
Wolof is a national language of Senegal, where it is spoken by approximately 5.4 million people as a first language.
It belongs to the Atlantic group of the Niger-Congo language family and is the native language of the Wolof people.
Xhosa is a Nguni Bantu language with click consonants and is one of the official languages of South Africa.
It is spoken as a first language by approximately 8.2 million people and by another 11 million as a second language in South Africa, mostly in Eastern Cape Province.
Yiddish is the historical language of the Ashkenazi Jews originating during the 9th century in Central Europe. Belonging to the Indo-European language family, it is spoken by 1.5 million people.
Yoruba is a pluricentric language spoken in West Africa with the number of speakers estimated between 30 and 40 million.
It is a language spoken principally in Nigeria and Benin, with communities in Sierra Leone, Liberia, other parts of Africa.
And last up on this list of languages of the world is…
Zulu is a member of the Bantu/Nguni family of languages.
It is one of the official languages of South Africa spoken by about 10 million people mainly in Zululand and northern Natal in South Africa and also in Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, and Eswatini.
LEARN THESE OTHER WORDS TOO!
HELLO: Read this guide to say hi in every language of the world.
MORNING: good morning in different languages
MY LOVE: my love in different languages
GOOD BYE: Bye in different languages
GOOD NIGHT: night in different languages
THANK YOU: Read this guide to say thanks in every language of the world
BEAUTIFUL: Beautiful in different languages
LIGHT: light in different languages
FAMILY: Family in different languages
CHEERS: Cheers in all languages
BIRTHDAY: Happy birthday in every language
LOVER: lover in many languages
Aaaaaaaand now you a bit more about all languages in the world!
OVER TO YOU GUYS…
How many world languages can you speak? What is your home language? Extra points if you can speak several languages… Let me know in the comments.
If you see an error here or if yours is missing from this list of languages in the world, please comment and let me know!
Until next time <3