Language Descriptions




Native Speakers: 113,000 (1993)
Spoken Natively in: Abkhazia and Abkhaz diaspora
Official Language in: Republic of Abkhazia ; Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia, Georgia

Abkhaz /æpˈhɑːz/ (sometimes spelled Abxaz; Аԥсуа бызшәа) is a Northwest Caucasian language spoken mostly by the Abkhaz people. It is the official language of Abkhazia where around 100,000 people speak it. Furthermore, it is spoken by thousands of members of the Abkhazian diaspora in Turkey, Georgia’s autonomous republic of Adjara,Syria, Jordan and several Western countries. The Russian census of 2010 reported 6,786 speakers of Abkhaz in Russia.

Reference: Abkhaz Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:  3.5 million (2000 census)
Spoken Natively in:   Indonesia
Official Language in:

Acehnese language (Achinese) is a Malayo-Polynesian language spoken by Acehnese people natively in Aceh,Sumatra, Indonesia. This language is also spoken in some parts in Malaysia by Acehnese descendents there, such as in Yan, Kedah. As of 1988, “Acehnese” is the modern English name spelling and the bibliographical standard, and Acehnese peopleuse the spelling “Acehnese” when writing in English. “Achinese” is an antiquated spelling of the English language tradition. “Atjehnese” is the Dutch-language spelling and an outdated Indonesian one. The spelling “Achehnese” originates from a 1906 English translation of the Dutch language Studien over atjesche klank- en schriftleer. Tijdschrift voor Indische Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 35.346-442 by Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje, 1892. In Acehnese the language is called Basa/Bahsa Acèh. In Indonesian it is called Bahasa Aceh. Acehnese belongs to the Malayo-Polynesian branch of Austronesian. Acehnese’s closest relatives are the other Chamic languages, which are principally spoken inVietnam. The closest relative of the Chamic family is the Malay language family, which includes languages also spoken in Sumatra such as Gayo, the Batak languages and Minangkabau as well as the national language, Indonesian.

Paul Sidwell notes that Acehnese likely has an Austroasiatic substratum

Reference: Achinese Language (Wikipedia)

Acholi (Acoli)

Native Speakers: 1.2 million (2002 census)
Spoken Natively in: Uganda, South Sudan
Official Language in: Ethiopia

Acholi (also Acoli, Akoli, Acooli, Atscholi, Shuli, Gang, Lwoo, Lwo, Lok Acoli, Dok Acoli) is a Southern Luo dialect spoken by the Acholi people in the districts of Gulu, Kitgum and Pader (a region known as Acholiland) in northernUganda. It is also spoken in the southern part of the Opari District of South Sudan. Song of Lawino, well known in African literature, was written in Acholi by Okot p’Bitek, although its sequel, Song of Ocol, was written in English. Acholi, Alur, and Lango have between 84 and 90 per cent of their vocabulary in common and are mutually intelligible. However, they are often counted as separate languages because their speakers are ethnically distinct. Labwor (Thur), once considered a dialect of Acholi, may not be intelligible with it.

Reference: Acholi Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 4.2 million (2012)
Spoken Natively in: Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti
Official Language in: Ethiopia

The Afar language  (Afar: ‘Qafaraf’) (also known as ’Afar Af, Afaraf, Qafar af) is an Afroasiatic language, belonging to the family’s Cushitic branch. It is spoken by the Afar people in Djibouti, Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Reference: Afar Language (Wikipedia) 


Native Speakers: 6.86 million
Spoken Natively in: South Africa, Namibia
Official Language in: South Africa

Afrikaans is a West Germanic language, spoken natively in South Africa, Namibia and to a lesser extent in Botswana and Zimbabwe. It originates from 17th century Dutch dialects spoken by the mainly-Dutch settlers of what is now South Africa, where it began to develop independently. Hence, historically, it is a daughter language of Dutch, and was previously referred to as “Cape Dutch” (a term also used to refer collectively to the early Cape settlers) or ‘kitchen Dutch’ (a crude or derogatory term Afrikaans was called in its earlier days). Although Afrikaans adopted words from languages such as Malay, Portuguese, the Bantu languages, and the Khoisan languages, an estimated 90 to 95 percent of Afrikaans vocabulary is ultimately of Dutch origin. Therefore, differences with Dutch often lie in a more regular morphology, grammar, and spelling of Afrikaans. There is a large degree of mutual intelligibility between the two languages—especially in written form. With about 7 million native speakers in South Africa, or 13.5 percent of the population, it is the third most spoken mother tongue in the country. It has the widest geographical and racial distribution of all the official languages of South Africa, and is widely spoken and understood as a second or third language. It is the majority language of the western half of South Africa—the provinces of the Northern Cape and Western Cape—and the primary language of the coloured and white communities. In neighbouring Namibia, Afrikaans is widely spoken as a second language and used as lingua franca, while as a native language it is spoken in 11 percent of households, mainly concentrated in the capital Windhoek and the southern regions of Hardap and Karas. Estimates of the total number of Afrikaans-speakers range between 15 and 23 million.

Reference: Afrikaans Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 11 million (2007) 1 million  in Ghana (no date)
Spoken Natively in: Ghana, Ivory Coast (Abron), Benin (Tchumbuli)
Official Language in: Government-sponsored language of Ghana

Akan /əˈkæn/ is a Central Tano language that is the principal native language of the Akan people of Ghana, spoken over much of the southern half of that country, by about 58% of the population, and among 30% of the population ofIvory Coast. Three dialects have been developed as literary standards with distinct orthographies: Asante, Akuapem (together called Twi), and Fante, which despite being mutually intelligible were inaccessible in written form to speakers of the other standards. In 1978 the Akan Orthography Committee (AOC) established a common orthography for all of Akan, which is used as the medium of instruction in primary school by speakers of several other Akan languages such asAnyi, Sehwi, Ahanta, and the Guang languages.The Akan Orthography Committee has compiled a unified orthography of 20,000 words. The adinkra symbols are oldideograms.The language came to the Caribbean and South America, notably in Suriname spoken by the Ndyuka and in Jamaicaby the Jamaican Maroons known as Coromantee, with enslaved people from the region. The descendants of escaped slaves in the interior of Suriname and the Maroons in Jamaica still use a form of this language, including Akan naming convention, in which children are named after the day of the week on which they are born, e.g. Akwasi/Kwasi (for a boy) or Akosua (girl) born on a Sunday. In Jamaica and Suriname the Anansi spider stories are well known.

Reference: Akan Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in: Assur an Babylon
Official Language in: initially Akkad (central Mesopotamia); lingua francia of the Middle East and Egypt in the late Bronze an early Iron Ages.

Akkadian Akkadian (/əˈkeɪdiən/ akkadû, ak-ka-du-ú; logogram: URIKI ) is an extinct East Semitic language(part of the greater Afroasiatic language family) that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system, which was originally used to write ancient Sumerian, an unrelatedlanguage isolate. The language was named after the city of Akkad by linguists, a major center of SemiticMesopotamian civilization during the Akkadian Empire (ca. 2334–2154 BC), although the language itself predates the founding of Akkad by many centuries. The mutual influence between Sumerian and Akkadian had led scholars to describe the languages as a sprachbund. Akkadian proper names were first attested in Sumerian texts from ca. the late 29th century BC. From the second half of the third millennium BC (ca. 2500 BC), texts fully written in Akkadian begin to appear. Hundreds of thousands of texts and text fragments have been excavated to date, covering a vast textual tradition of mythological narrative, legal texts, scientific works, correspondence, political and military events, and many other examples. By the second millennium BC, two variant forms of the language were in use in Assyria and Babylonia, known as Assyrian and Babylonian respectively. Akkadian had been for centuries the native language in Mesopotamian nations such as Assyria and Babylonia, and indeed became the lingua franca of much of the Ancient Near East due to the might of various Mesopotamian empires such as the Akkadian Empire, Old Assyrian Empire, Babylonian Empire and Middle Assyrian Empire. However, it began to decline during the Neo Assyrian Empire around the 8th century BC, being marginalized by Aramaic during the reign of Tiglath-pileser III. By the Hellenistic period, the language was largely confined to scholars and priests working in temples in Assyria and Babylonia. The last known Akkadian cuneiform document dates to the 1st century AD. A fair number of Akkadian loan words, together with the Akkadian grammatical structure, survive in the Mesopotamian Neo Aramaic dialects spoken in and around modern Iraq by the indigenous Assyrian (also called Chaldo-Assyrian)Christians of the region.

Reference: Akkadian Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: ca. 7.3 million (1989–2007)
Spoken Natively in: Primarily in Southeastern Europe and by the Albanian diaspora worldwide
Official Language in: Albania Kosovo and recognised as a minority language in: Macedonia, Italy, Montenegro, Serbia,Romania,Turkey

Albanian (gjuha shqipe, pronounced [ˈɟuha ˈʃcipɛ], or shqip Albanian pronunciation: [ʃcip]) is an Indo-European language spoken by approximately 7.3 million people all over the world, primarily in Albania and Kosovo but also in other areas of the Balkans in which there is an Albanian population, including western Republic of Macedonia, southern Montenegro, southern Serbia and Greece. Albanian is also spoken in centuries-old Albanian-based dialect speaking communities scattered in southern Greece, southern Italy, Sicily, and Ukraine. Additionally, speakers of Albanian can be found elsewhere throughout the latter two countries resulting from a modern diaspora, originating from the Balkans, that also includes Scandinavia, Switzerland, Germany, United Kingdom, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Singapore, Brazil, Canada, and the United States.

Reference: Albanian Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 160 (2007)
Spoken Natively in:Alaska (Aleutin and Pribiliof Islands), Kamachatka Krai (Commander Islands)
Official Language in:

Aleut (Unangam Tunuu), also known as Unangan, is a language of the Eskimo–Aleut language family. It is the heritage language of the Aleut (Unangax̂) people living in the Aleutian Islands, Pribilof Islands, and Commander Islands. Various sources estimate there are only between 100 and 300 speakers of Aleut remaining (Krauss 2007, p. 408)

Reference: Aleut Language (Wikipedia)

American Sign Language

Native Speakers: 250,000–500,000 in the United States (1972) users: Used as L2 by many hearing people and by Hawaii Sign Language speakers.
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in:

American Sign Language (ASL) is the predominant sign language of Deaf communities in the United States and most of anglophone Canada. Besides North America, dialects of ASL and ASL-based creoles are used in many countries around the world, including much of West Africa and parts of Southeast Asia. ASL is also widely learned as a second language, serving as a lingua franca. ASL is most closely related to French Sign Language (LSF). It has been proposed that ASL is a creole language, although ASL shows features atypical of creole languages, such asagglutinative morphology. ASL originated in the early 19th century in the American School for the Deaf (ASD) in Hartford, Connecticut, from a situation of language contact. Since then, ASL use has propagated widely via schools for the deaf and Deaf community organizations. Despite its wide use, no accurate count of ASL users has been taken, though reliable estimates for American ASL users range from 250,000 to 500,000 persons, including a number of children of deaf adults. ASL users face stigma due to beliefs in the superiority of oral language to sign language, compounded by the fact that ASL is often glossed in English due to the lack of a standard writing system. ASL signs have a number of phonemic components, including movement of the face and torso as well as the hands. ASL is not a form of pantomime, but iconicity does play a larger role in ASL than in spoken languages. English loan words are often borrowed through fingerspelling, although ASL grammar is unrelated to that of English. ASL has verbalagreement and aspectual marking, and has a productive system of forming agglutinative classifiers. Many linguists believe ASL to be a subject-verb-object (SVO) language, but there are several alternative proposals to account for ASL word order.

Reference: American Sign Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 25 million
Spoken Natively in: Ethiopia
Official Language in: Ethiopia and the following specific regions: Addis Ababa City Council, Amhara Region, Benishangul-Gumuz Region, Dire Dawa Administrative council, Gambela Region, SNNPR

Amharic (Amharic: አማርኛ?, Amarəñña, IPA: [amarɨɲːa] is a Semitic language spoken in Ethiopia. It is the second most-spoken Semitic language in the world, after Arabic, and the official working language of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Thus, it has official status and is used nationwide. Amharic is also the official or working language of several of the states within the federal system. It has been the working language of government, the military, and of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church throughout medieval and modern times. Outside Ethiopia, Amharic is the language of some 2.7 million emigrants. It is written using Amharic Fidel, ፊደል, which grew out of the Ge’ez abugida—called, in Ethiopian Semitic languages, ፊደል fidel (“alphabet”, “letter”, or “character”) and አቡጊዳ abugida (from the first four Ethiopic letters, which gave rise to the modern linguistic termabugida).

Reference: Amharic Language (Wikipedia)

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Ancient Hebrew

Native Speakers: NA
Spoken Natively in: NA
Official Language in: NA

Ancient Hebrew (ISO 639-3 code hbo) is a blanket term for varieties of the Hebrew language used in ancient times. It can be divided into:Paleo-Hebrew (such as the Siloam inscription)Biblical Hebrew (including the use of Tiberian vocalization))

Reference: Ancient Hebrew Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: NA
Spoken Natively in: North America
Official Language in: NA

Southern Athabaskan (also Apachean) is a subfamily of Athabaskan languages spoken primarily in the Southwestern United States (including Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Sonora) with two outliers in Oklahoma and Texas. Those languages are spoken by various groups of Apache and Navajo peoples. Self-designations for Western Apache and Navajo are Nnee biyáti’ or Ndee biyáti’ and Diné bizaad or Naabeehó bizaad, respectively. There are several well-known historical people whose first language was Southern Athabaskan. Geronimo (Goyaałé) who spoke Chiricahua was a famous raider and war leader. Manuelito spoke Navajo and is famous for his leadership during and after the Long Walk of the Navajo. The Plains Apache language (or Kiowa Apache) is a Southern Athabaskan language spoken by the Plains Apache peoples living primarily in central Oklahoma. Plains Apache is most closely related to other Southern Athabaskan languages like Navajo, Chiricahua Apache, Mescalero Apache, Lipan Apache, Western Apache, and Jicarilla Apache. Plains Apache is the most divergent member of the subfamily. The language is extremely endangered with perhaps only one or two native speaking elders. Alfred Chalepah, Jr., who might have been the last native speaker, died in 2008.

Reference: Apache Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 295 million
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Western Sahara, Yemen, African Union, Arab League, OIC, United Nations

Arabic (العربية al-ʻarabīyah or عربي/عربى ʻarabī ) (About this sound [al ʕarabijja] (help•info) or (About this sound [ʕarabi] (help•info)) is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD. This includes both the literary language and the spoken Arabic varieties.

The literary language is called Modern Standard Arabic or Literary Arabic. It is currently the only official form of Arabic, used in most written documents as well as in formal spoken occasions, such as lectures and news broadcasts.

This however, varies from one country to the other. In 1912, Moroccan Arabic was official in Morocco for some time, before Morocco joined the Arab League.

The spoken Arabic varieties are spoken in a wide arc of territory stretching across the Middle East and North Africa.

Arabic languages are Central Semitic languages, most closely related to Hebrew, Aramaic, Ugaritic and Phoenician. The standardized written Arabic is distinct from and more conservative than all of the spoken varieties, and the two exist in a state known as diglossia, used side-by-side for different societal functions.

Some of the spoken varieties are mutually unintelligible, both written and orally, and the varieties as a whole constitute a sociolinguistic language. This means that on purely linguistic grounds they would likely be considered to constitute more than one language, but are commonly grouped together as a single language for political and/or ethnic reasons, (look below). If considered multiple languages, it is unclear how many languages there would be, as the spoken varieties form a dialect chain with no clear boundaries. If Arabic is considered a single language, it may be spoken by as many as 280 million[citation needed] first language speakers, making it one of the half dozen most populous languages in the world. If considered separate languages, the most-spoken variety would most likely be Egyptian Arabic, with 54 million native speakers—still greater than any other Semitic language.

The modern written language (Modern Standard Arabic) is derived from the language of the Quran (known as Classical Arabic or Quranic Arabic). It is widely taught in schools, universities, and used to varying degrees in workplaces, government and the media. The two formal varieties are grouped together as Literary Arabic, which is the official language of 26 states and the liturgical language of Islam. Modern Standard Arabic largely follows the grammatical standards of Quranic Arabic and uses much of the same vocabulary. However, it has discarded some grammatical constructions and vocabulary that no longer have any counterpoint in the spoken varieties, and adopted certain new constructions and vocabulary from the spoken varieties. Much of the new vocabulary is used to denote concepts that have arisen in the post-Quranic era, especially in modern times.

Arabic is the only surviving member of the Old North Arabian dialect group[which?] attested in Pre-Islamic Arabic inscriptions dating back to the 4th century. Arabic is written with the Arabic alphabet, which is an abjad script, and is written from right-to-left. Although, the spoken varieties are sometimes written in ASCII Latin with no standardized forms.

Arabic has lent many words to other languages of the Islamic world, like Persian, Turkish, Bosnian, Kazakh, Bengali, Urdu, Hindi, Malay and Hausa. During the Middle Ages, Literary Arabic was a major vehicle of culture in Europe, especially in science, mathematics and philosophy. As a result, many European languages have also borrowed many words from it. Arabic influence, both in vocabulary and grammar, is seen in Romance languages, particularly Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan and Sicilian, owing to both the proximity of European and Arab civilizations and 700 years of Muslim (Moorish) rule in some parts of the Iberian Peninsula referred to as Al-Andalus.

Arabic has also borrowed words from many languages, including Hebrew, Greek, Persian and Syriac in early centuries, Turkish in medieval times and contemporary European languages in modern times, mostly from English and French.

Reference: Arabic Language (Wikipedia)

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Aramaic (Official & Imperial)

Native Speakers: NA
Spoken Natively in: NA
Official Language in: NA

Aramaic (Arāmāyā, Syriac: ܐܪܡܝܐ‎) is a family of languages or dialects belonging to the Semitic subfamily of the Afroasiatic language family. More specifically, it is part of the Northwest Semitic group, which also includes the Canaanite languages such as Hebrew and Phoenician. The Aramaic alphabet was widely adopted for other languages and is ancestral to the Hebrew, Syriac and Arabic alphabets.

During its approximately 3000 years of written history, Aramaic has served variously as a language of administration of empires and as a language of divine worship. It became the lingua franca of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911–605 BC), Neo-Babylonian Empire (605–539 BC), the Achaemenid Empire (539–323 BC), the Parthian Empire (247 BC–224 AD), and the Sasanian Empire (224–651), of the states of Assur, Adiabene, Osroene, Beth Nuhadra, Beth Garmai and Hatra; the state of Palmyra, and the day-to-day language of Yehud Medinata and of Roman Judaea (539 BC – 70 AD). It was the language of Jesus, the central figure of Christianity, who spoke a Western Aramaic language during his public ministry, as well as the language of large sections of the biblical books of Daniel and Ezra, and also the main language of the Talmud.

Reference: Aramaic Language (Wikipedia)



Native Speakers: 1,000 (2007)
Spoken Natively in: United States
Official Language in:

The Arapaho (Arapahoe) language (in Arapaho: Hinónoʼeitíít) is one of the Plains Algonquian languages, closely related to Gros Ventre and other Arapahoan languages. It is spoken by the Arapaho people of Wyoming and Oklahoma. Speakers of Arapaho primarily live on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, though some have affiliation with the Cheyenne people living in western Oklahoma.

Reference: Arapaho Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 6,700,000
Spoken Natively in: Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh (not recognized internationally), Georgia
Official Language in: Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh (not recognized internationally) Minority language: Iran, Cyprus, Poland, Romania, Russia, Georgia, Bulgaria

Armenian language (հայերէն in TAO or հայերեն in RAO, Armenian pronunciation: [hɑjɛˈɾɛn]—hayeren) is an Indo-European language spoken by the Armenian people. It is the official language of the Republic of Armenia as well as in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The language is also widely spoken by Armenian communities in the Armenian diaspora. It has its own script, the Armenian alphabet, and is of interest to linguists for its distinctive phonological developments within Indo-European. Linguists classify Armenian as an independent branch of the Indo-European language family. Armenian shares a number of major innovations with Greek, and some linguists group these two languages together with Phrygian and the Indo-Iranian family into a higher-level subgroup of Indo-European which is defined by such shared innovations as the augment. More recently, others have proposed a Balkan grouping including Greek, Armenian, Phrygian and Albanian. Armenian has a long literary history, with a fifth-century Bible translation as its oldest surviving text. Its vocabulary has been heavily influenced by Western Middle Iranian languages, particularly Parthian, and to a lesser extent by Greek, Latin, Old French, Persian, Arabic, Turkish, and other languages throughout its history. There are two standardized modern literary forms, Eastern Armenian and Western Armenian, with which most contemporary dialects are mutually intelligible. The divergent and almost extinct Lomavren language is a Romani-influenced dialect with an Armenian grammar and a largely Romani-derived vocabulary, including Romani numbers.

Reference: Armenian Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 15 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: India, Bhutan and Bangladesh
Official Language in: India (Assam)

Assamese or Asamiya (অসমীয়া Ôxômiya) (IPA: [ɔxɔmija]) is an Eastern Indo-Aryan language used mainly in the state of Assam in North-East India. It is the official language of Assam. It is also spoken in parts of Arunachal Pradesh and other northeast Indian states. Nagamese, an Assamese-based Creole language is widely used in Nagaland and parts of Assam. Small pockets of Assamese speakers can be found in Bhutan and Bangladesh. The easternmost of Indo-European languages; it is spoken by over 13 million native speakers.

Along with other Eastern Indo-Aryan languages, Assamese evolved circa 1000–1200 AD from the Magadhi Prakrit, which developed from a dialect or group of dialects that were close to, but different from, Vedic and Classical Sanskrit. Its sister languages include Bengali, Chittagonian, Sylheti (Cilôţi), Oriya, the Bihari languages. It is written with the Assamese script. Assamese is written from left to right and top to bottom, in the same manner as English. A large number of ligatures are possible since potentially all the consonants can combine with one another. Vowels can either be independent or dependent upon a consonant or a consonant cluster.

The English word “Assamese” is built on the same principle as “Sinhalese”, “Japanese” etc. It is based on the name “Assam” by which the tract consisting of the Brahmaputra Valley was known. The people call their state Ôxôm and their language Ôxômiya.

Reference: Assamese Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 760,000 (2010)
Spoken Natively in: Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Georgia and Turkey
Official Language in: Dagestan (Russia)

The Avar language belongs to the Avar-Andi-Tsez subgroup of the Alarodian Northeast Caucasian (or Nakh–Dagestanian) language family. The writing is based on the Cyrillic script, which replaced the Arabic script used before 1927 and the Latin script used between 1927 and 1938. More than 60% of the Avars living in Dagestan speak Russian as their second language.

Reference: Avar Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in: Eastern Iranian Plateau
Official Language in:

Avestan /əˈvɛstən/, formerly also known as “Zend”, is an Iranian language of the Eastern Iranian division, known only from its use as the language of Zoroastrian scripture, i.e. the Avesta, from which it derives its name. Its area of composition comprised ancient Arachosia, Aria, Bactria, and Margiana, corresponding to the entirety of present-dayAfghanistan, and parts of Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The Yaz culture of Bactria-Margiana has been regarded as a likely archaeological reflection of the early Eastern Iranian culture described in the Avesta.

Avestan’s status as a sacred language has ensured its continuing use for new compositions long after the language had ceased to be a living language. It is closely related to Vedic Sanskrit, the oldest preserved Indo-Aryan language.

Reference:  Avestan Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 1.8 million in Bolivia (1987) 660,000 in Peru (2000–2006)
Spoken Natively in: Bolivia, Peru, and Chile.
Official Language in: Bolivia, Peru

Aymara (Aymar aru) is an Aymaran language spoken by the Aymara people of the Andes. It is one of only a handful of Native American languages with over three million speakers. Aymara, along with Quechua and Spanish, is an official language of Bolivia. It is also spoken around the Lake Titicaca region of southern Peru and, to a much lesser extent, by some communities in northern Chile and in Northwest Argentina. Some linguists have claimed that Aymara is related to its more widely spoken neighbour, Quechua. This claim, however, is disputed — although there are indeed similarities such as the nearly identical phonologies, the majority position among linguists today is that these similarities are better explained as areal features resulting from prolonged interaction between the two languages, and that they are not demonstrably related. The Aymara language is an agglutinating and to a certain extent polysynthetic language and has a subject–object–verb word order.

Reference: Aymara Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:23 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Russia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria
Official Language in: Azerbaijan (North Azerbaijani) Russia – One of the official languages of Dagestan.

Azerbaijani or Azeri (Azərbaycanca, Azərbaycan dili) is a language belonging to the Turkic language family, spoken in southwestern Asia by the Azerbaijani people, primarily in Azerbaijan and northwestern Iran. Azerbaijani is member of the Oghuz branch of the Turkic languages and is closely related to Turkish, Qashqai, Turkmen and Crimean Tatar. Turkish and Azerbaijani are known to closely resemble each other, and the native speaker of one language is able to understand the other, though it is easier for a speaker of Azerbaijani to understand Turkish than the other way around.

Reference: Azerbaijani Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 3.3 million (2000 census)
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in:

Balinese or simply Bali is a Malayo-Polynesian language spoken by 3.3 million people (as of 2000) on the Indonesianisland of Bali, as well as northern Nusa Penida, western Lombok and eastern Java. Most Balinese speakers also know Indonesian.

In 2011, the Bali Cultural Agency estimates that the number of people still using Balinese language in their daily lives on the Bali Island does not exceed 1 million, as in urban areas their parents only introduce Indonesian language or even English, while daily conversations in the institutions and the mass media have disappeared. The written form of the Balinese language is increasingly unfamiliar and most Balinese people use the Balinese language only as a spoken tool with mixing of Indonesian language in their daily conversation. But in the transmigration areas outside Bali Island, Balinese language is extensively used and believed to play an important role in the survival of the language. The higher registers of the language borrow extensively from Javanese: an old form of classical Javanese, Kawi, is used in Bali as a religious and ceremonial language.

Reference: Balinese Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 3.3 million (2000 census)
Native Speakers: 7.6 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan,Oman, Turkmenistan
Official Language in: Balochistan; Balochistan Province of Iran (provincial)

Balochi is a Northwestern Iranian language. It is the principal language of the Baloch people. It is also spoken as a second language by most Brahui. Balochi is categorized as one of the Northwestern Iranian languages

Reference:  Balochi Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 4 million (2012)
Spoken Natively in: Mali
Official Language in: Mali

The Bambara (Bamana) language, Bamanankan, is a lingua franca of Mali spoken by perhaps 15 million people, 4 million Bambara people and about 10 million second-language users. It is estimated that about 80 percent of the population of Mali speak Bambara as a first or second language. It has a subject–object–verb clause structure and two lexical tones.

Reference:  Bambara Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in:

Bamileke is a group of languages spoken by the Bamileke in the western grasslands of Cameroon.

The languages, which might constitute two branches of Eastern Grassfields, are:

  • Western Bamileke:Məgaka, Ngombale, Ngomba, and the ‘Bamboutos’ dialect cluster of Yɛmba, Ngyɛmbɔɔŋ, andŊwe
  • Eastern Bamileke:Fe’fe’, Ghɔmálá’, Kwa’, Nda’nda’, Mədʉmba.

Reference:  Bamileke Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 1.2 million (2010 census)
Spoken Natively in: Bashkortostan, Russia, Kazakhstan
Official Language in: Bashkortostan (Russia)

The Bashkir language (Башҡорт теле başqort tele, pronounced [ˈbaʂqʊrt teˈle]) is part of the Kipchak group of the Turkic languages. It is co-official with Russian in the Republic of Bashkortostan and has approximately 1.2 million speakers in Russia. Bashkir has three dialects: Eastern, Southern, and Northwestern.

Reference:  Bashkir Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:715,000 (2012)
Spoken Natively in: Spain, France
Official Language in: Basque Country Navarre

Basque (endonym: Euskara, IPA: [eus̺ˈkaɾa]) is the ancestral language of the Basque people, who inhabit the Basque Country, a region spanning an area in northeastern Spain and southwestern France. It is spoken by 27% of Basques in all territories (714,136 out of 2,648,998). Of these, 663,035 live in the Spanish part of the Basque country and the remaining 51,100 live in the French part. In academic discussions of the distribution of Basque in Spain and France, it is customary to refer to three ancient provinces in France and four Spanish provinces. Native speakers are concentrated in a contiguous area including parts of the Spanish Autonomous Communities of the Basque Country and Navarre and in the western half of the French Département of Pyrénées-Atlantiques. The Basque Autonomous Community is an administrative entity within the binational ethnographic Basque Country incorporating the traditional Spanish provinces of Biscay, Gipuzkoa, and Álava, which retain their existence as politico-administrative divisions.

These provinces and many areas of Navarre are heavily populated by ethnic Basques, but the Euskara language had, at least until the 1990s, all but disappeared from most of Álava, western parts of Biscay and central and southern areas of Navarre. In southwestern France, the ancient Basque-populated provinces were Labourd, Lower Navarre, and Soule. They and other regions were consolidated into a single département in 1790 under the name Basses-Pyrénées, a name which persisted until 1970. A standardized form of the Basque language, called Euskara Batua, was developed by the Basque Language Academy in the late 1960s. Euskara Batua was created so that Basque language could be used—and easily understood by all Basque speakers—in formal situations (education, mass media, literature), and this is its main use nowadays. The role of this standard Basque language depends on the linguistic educational model of each region and each school. In most areas of the Basque Country, the educational Model D, where all subjects are taught in Basque, except “Spanish language and literature” (which is taught in Spanish) is now the predominant model. In France, the Basque language school Seaska and the association for a bilingual (Basque and French) schooling Ikasbi meet a wide range of Basque language educational needs up to the Sixth Form, while often struggling to surmount financial and administrative constraints. Apart from this standardized version, there are five main Basque dialects: Bizkaian, Gipuzkoan, and Upper Navarrese in Spain, and Navarrese-Lapurdian and Zuberoan (in France). Although they take their names from the mentioned historic provinces, the dialect boundaries are not congruent with province boundaries.

Reference: Basque Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:7.6 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Belarus, Poland, in 14 other countries
Official Language in: Belarus, Poland (in Gmina Orla, Gmina Narewka, Gmina Czyże, Gmina Hajnówka and town of Hajnówka)

Belarusian language (беларуская мова, BGN/PCGN: byelaruskaya mova, Scientific: bielaruskaja mova, łac.: biełaruskaja mova), sometimes referred to as White Ruthenian, is the language of the Belarusian people. It is an official language of Belarus, along with Russian, and is spoken abroad, chiefly in Russia, Ukraine, and Poland. Prior to Belarus gaining its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the language was known in English as Byelorussian or Belorussian, transliterating the Russian name, белорусский язык, or alternatively as White Ruthenian or White Russian. Following independence, it became known also as Belarusian. Belarusian is one of the East Slavic languages, and shares many grammatical and lexical features with other members of the group. To some extent, Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian are mutually intelligible. Its predecessor stage is known as Old Belarusian (14th to 17th centuries), in turn descended from Old East Slavic (10th to 13th centuries). According to the 1999 Belarus Census, the Belarusian language is declared as a “language spoken at home” by about 3,686,000 Belarusian citizens (36.7% of the population) as of 1999. About 6,984,000 (85.6%) of Belarusians declared it their “mother tongue”. Other sources put the “population of the language” as 6,715,000 in Belarus and 9,081,102 in all countries. According to a study done by the Belarusian government in 2009, 72% of Belarusians speak Russian at home, while Belarusian is used by only 11.9% of Belarusians. 29.4% of Belarusians can write, speak and read Belarusian, while only 52.5% can read and speak it. According to the research, one out of ten Belarusians does not understand Belarusian.

Reference: Belarusian Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 4.1 million (2000–2010 census
Spoken Natively in: Zambia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania
Official Language in: Zambia

The Bemba languageChiBemba (also Cibemba, Ichibemba, Icibemba and Chiwemba), is a major Bantu language spoken primarily in north-eastern Zambia by the Bemba people and as a lingua franca by about 18 related ethnic groups, including the Bisa people of Mpika and Lake Bangweulu, and to a lesser extent in Katanga in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, and Botswana. Including all its dialects, Bemba is the most spoken indigenous language in Zambia. The Lamba language is closely related and some people consider it a dialect of Bemba.

Reference: Bemba Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:205 million (2010)
Spoken Natively in: Bangladesh, India (mainly in West Bengal); significant communities in United Kingdom, United States, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Burma, Canada
Official Language in: Bangladesh, India (West Bengal, Tripura and Barak Valley) (comprising districts of south Assam- Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi)

Bengali (Bengali: বাংলা Bangla [ˈbaŋla]) is an eastern Indo-Aryan language. It is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal, and parts of the Indian states of Tripura and Assam. It is written using the Bengali script. With about 193 million native and about 230 million total speakers, Bengali is one of the most spoken languages (ranked sixth) in the world. The National song and the national anthem of India, and the national anthem of Bangladesh were composed in Bengali. Along with other Eastern Indo-Aryan languages, Bengali evolved circa 1000–1200 AD from the Magadhi Prakrit, which developed from a dialect or group of dialects that were close to, but different from, Vedic and Classical Sanskrit. It is now the primary language spoken in Bangladesh and is the second most commonly spoken language in India. With a rich literary tradition arising from the Bengali Renaissance, Bengali binds together a culturally diverse region and is an important contributor to Bengali nationalism. In former East Bengal (today Bangladesh), the strong linguistic consciousness led to the Bengali Language Movement, during which on 21 February 1952, several people were killed during protests to gain its recognition as a state language of the then Dominion of Pakistan and to maintain its writing in the Bengali script. The day has since been observed as Language Movement Day in Bangladesh, and was proclaimed the International Mother Language Day by UNESCO on 17 November 1999.

Reference: Bengali Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 40 million (2001 census)
Spoken Natively in: India, Nepal, Pakistan, Mauritius, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica, Caribbean, and Fiji
Official Language in: Mauritius

Bhojpuri (Devanagari: भोजपुरी  ) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken in Bhojpuri region of North Indiaand Madhesh of Nepal. It is chiefly spoken in the Purvanchal region of Uttar Pradesh, in the western part of Biharstate, and in the northwestern part of Jharkhand in India. Bhojpuri is also spoken in Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh,Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica, The Caribbean, Fiji, Mauritius, and South Africa. It is one of the national languages of Nepal, Guyana, Fiji, Mauritius, and Suriname. The variant of Bhojpuri of the Indo-Surinameseis also referred to as Sarnami HindustaniSarnami Hindi or just Sarnam .and has experienced considerable Creoleand Dutch lexical influence. More Indians in Suriname know Bhojpuri. . In Mauritius a dialect of Bhojpuri remains in use, and it is locally called Bojpury.

This region is bounded by the Awadhi-speaking region to the west, Madhesh to the north, Magahi- and Maithili-speaking regions to the east, and Magahi- and Bagheli-speaking regions to the south.

Reference: Bhojpuri Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in: India

Bihari is the western group of Eastern Indic languages, spoken in Bihar and neighboring states in India. Angika, Bajjika, Bhojpuri, Magahi, and Maithili are spoken in Nepal as well. The Angika, Bajjika, Bhojpuri, Magahi and Maithili speaking population form more than 21% of Nepalese population. Despite the large number of speakers of these languages, they have not been constitutionally recognised in India, except Maithili, which gained constitutional status via the 92nd amendment to the Constitution of India, of 2003 (gaining assent in 2004). Even in Bihar, Hindi is the language used for educational and official matters. These languages were legally absorbed under the overarching label Hindi in the 1961 Census. Such state and national politics are creating conditions for language endangerments. After independence Hindi was given the sole official status through the Bihar Official Language Act, 1950. Hindi was displaced as the sole official language of Bihar in 1981, when Urdu was accorded the status of the second official language. In this struggle between Hindi and Urdu, the claims of the three large native languages of the region – Angika, Bhojpuri and Magahi, were ignored.

Reference: Bihari Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in: Bicol Region
Official Language in: Bicol Region

The Bikol languages are a group of Central Philippine languages spoken mostly on the Bicol Peninsula of the island of Luzon and also parts of Catanduanes and Burias Islands and Masbate province. There is a dialect continuum between the Visayan languages and the Bikol languages; the two together are called the Bisakol languages.

Reference: Bikol Language (Wikipedia)

Bini (Edo)

Native Speakers: 1 Million (1999)
Spoken Natively in: Nigeria
Official Language in: Nigeria

Edo /ˈɛdoʊ/ (with diacritics, Ẹ̀dó; also called Bini (Benin)) is a Volta–Niger language spoken primarily in Edo State, Nigeria. It was and remains the primary language of the Edo people of Igodomigodo. The Igodomigodo kingdom was renamed Edo by Oba Eweka, after which the Edos refer to themselves as Oviedo ‘child of Edo’. The Edo capital was Ubinu, known as Benin City to the Portuguese who first heard about it from the coastal Itsekiri, who pronounced it this way; from this the kingdom came to be known as the Benin Empire in the West.

Reference: Bini (Edo) Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 6,000 (2001) 200,000 L2
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in: Vanuatu

Bislama is a creole language, one of the official languages of Vanuatu. It is the first language of many of the “Urban ni-Vanuatu” (those who live in Port Vila and Luganville), and the second language of much of the rest of the country’s residents. “Yumi, Yumi, Yumi”, the Vanuatu national anthem, is in Bislama.

More than 95% of Bislama words are of English origin; the remainder combines a few dozen words from French, as well as some vocabulary inherited from various languages of Vanuatu, essentially limited to flora and fauna terminology. While the influence of these vernacular languages is low on the vocabulary side, it is very high in the morphosyntax. Bislama can be basically described as a language with an English vocabulary and an Oceanic grammar.

Reference: Bislama Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:2.5 – 3.5 million (2008)
Spoken Natively in: Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Croatia
Official Language in: Boznia and Herzegovina, Montenegro Recognize minority language: Albania, Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo

Bosnian (bosanski / босански [bɔ̌sanskiː]) is a standardized register of the Serbo-Croatian language, a South Slavic language, spoken by Bosniaks. As a standardized form of the Shtokavian dialect, it is one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The same subdialect of Shtokavian is also the basis of standard Croatian and Serbian, as well as Montenegrin, so all are mutually intelligible. Until the dissolution of SFR Yugoslavia, they were treated as a unitary Serbo-Croatian language, and that term is still used in English to subsume the common base (vocabulary, grammar and syntax) of what are today officially four national standards, although the term is no longer used by native speakers. The Bosnian standard uses both Latin and Cyrillic alphabets. Bosnian is notable amongst the varieties of Serbo-Croatian for having an eclectic assortment of Arabic, Turkish and Persian loanwords, largely due to the language’s interaction with those cultures through Islamic ties. This is historically corroborated by the introduction and use of Arebica as a successor script for the Bosnian language, replacing Bosančica upon the introduction of Islam; first amongst the elite, then amongst the public. The Bosnian language also contains a number of Germanisms not often heard in the Croatian or Serbian languages that have been in use since the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The first official dictionary in the Bosnian language was printed in the early 1630s, while the first dictionary in Serbian was printed only in the mid-19th century. Written evidence and records point to the Bosnian language being the official language of the country since at least the Kingdom of Bosnia, as further corroborated by the declaration of the Charter of Ban Kulin, one of the oldest written state documents in the Balkans and one of the oldest to be written in Bosančica.

Reference: Bosnian Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 210,000 in Brittany (2007
Spoken Natively in: France
Official Language in: No official status due to French law

Breton /ˈbrɛtən/ (Brezhoneg IPA: [bʁe.ˈzõː.nɛk] ( listen)[5] or IPA: [bre.hõ.ˈnɛk] (in Morbihan)) is a Celtic language spoken in Brittany (Breton: Breizh; French: Bretagne), France.

Breton is a Brythonic language brought from Great Britain to Armorica by migrating Britons during the Early Middle Ages; it is thus an Insular Celtic language and not closely related to the Gaulish language, which had been spoken in pre-Roman Gaul. Breton is most closely related to Cornish, both being Southwestern Brittonic languages. Welsh and the extinct Cumbric are the more distantly-related Brittonic languages.

The other regional language of Brittany, Gallo, is a langue d’oïl. It is a Romance language, thus ultimately descended from Latin (unlike the similarly-named ancient Celtic language Gaulish) and consequently close to French, although not mutually intelligible.

Having declined from more than 1 million speakers around 1950 to about 200,000 in the first decade of the 21st century, Breton is classified as “severely endangered” by the UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger. However, the number of children attending bilingual classes has risen 33% between 2006 and 2012 to 14,709.

Reference: Breton Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 5 million (2000 census)
Spoken Natively in: Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Official Language in: Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Buginese (Basa Ugi, elsewhere also Bahasa BugisBugisBugiDe) is a language spoken by about five million people mainly in the southern part of Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Reference: Buginese Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:9.1 million (1986)
Spoken Natively in: Bulgaria, Turkey, Serbia, Greece, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Albania, Kosovo, Republic of Macedonia and among emigrant communities worldwide
Official Language in: Bulgaria European Union Mount Athos

Bulgarian (български език, pronounced: [ˈbɤ̞ɫɡɐrski ɛˈzik]) is an Indo-European language, a member of the Southern branch of the Slavic language family. Bulgarian, along with the closely related Macedonian language (collectively forming the East South Slavic languages), has several characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages: changes include the elimination of case declension, the development of a suffixed definite article (see Balkan language area) and the lack of a verb infinitive; but it retains and has further developed the Proto-Slavic verb system. Various evidential verb forms exist to express unwitnessed, retold, and doubtful action. Estimates of the number of people around the world who speak Bulgarian fluently range from about 9 million to 12 million.

Reference: Bulgarian Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers:33 million (2007) Second language: 10 million
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in: Myanmar

Burmese language (Burmese: မြန်မာဘာသာ; pronounced: [mjəmà bàðà]; MLCTS: myanma bhasa) is the official language of Burma. Burmese is the native language of the Bamar and related sub-ethnic groups of the Bamar, as well as that of some ethnic minorities in Burma like the Mon. Burmese is spoken by 32 million as a first language and as a second language by 10 million, particularly ethnic minorities in Burma and those in neighboring countries. (Although the constitution officially recognizes the English name of the language as the Myanmar language, most English speakers continue to refer to the language as Burmese.)Burmese is a tonal, pitch-register, and syllable-timed language, largely monosyllabic and analytic language, with a subject–object–verb word order. It is a member of the Tibeto-Burman language family, which is a subfamily of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages. The language uses the Burmese script, derived from the Old Mon script and ultimately from the Brāhmī script.

Reference: Burmese Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers:11.5 million (2006)
Spoken Natively in: Andorra, France, Italy, Spain
Official Language in: Andorra Spain: Catalonia, Valencian Community, Balearic Islands. Italy: Alghero (Sardinia) Latin Union

Catalan (kætəˈlæn/, /ˈkætəlæn/, or /ˈkætələn/; autonym: català [kətəˈɫa] or [kataˈɫa]) is a Romance language named for its origins in the historical region of Catalonia in the northeastern part of the Iberian Peninsula and adjoining parts of what is now France. It is the national and only official language of Andorra, a European microstate, and a co-official language of the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, and the Valencian Community, where it is known as Valencian. It also has semi-official status in the city of Alghero (where the Algherese dialect is spoken) on the Italian island of Sardinia. It is also spoken with no official recognition in the autonomous communities of Aragon (in La Franja) and Murcia (in Carche) in Spain, and in the historic Roussillon region of southern France, roughly equivalent to the current French department of Pyrénées-Orientales (Northern Catalonia). Although recognized as a regional language of the Pyrénées-Orientales department since 2007, Catalan has no official recognition in France, as French is the only official language of that country, according to the French Constitution of 1958.

Reference: Catalan Language (Wikipedia)

Catalan (Valencian)

Native Speakers: 2.4 million (2004)
Spoken Natively in:  Spain
Official Language in: In Spain: Valencia

Valencian (/vəˈlɛnsiən/ or /vəˈlɛnʃən/; endonym: valenciàvalencianollengua valenciana, or idioma valencià) is thevariety of Catalan as spoken in the Valencian Community, Spain. In the Valencian Community, Valencian is the traditional language and is co-official with Spanish. It is often considered a distinct language from Catalan by a minority of the people from the Valencian Community; however, linguists consider it a dialect of Catalan. Astandardized form exists, based on the Southern Valencian dialect.

Valencian belongs to the Western group of Catalan dialects. Under the Valencian Statute of Autonomy, the Valencian Academy of the Language (Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua, AVL) has been established as its regulator. The AVL considers Catalan and Valencian to be simply two names for the same language.

Some of the most important works of Valencian literature experienced a golden age during the Late Middle Ages andthe Renaissance. Important works include Joanot Martorell’s chivalric romance Tirant lo Blanch, and Ausiàs March’s poetry. The first book produced with movable type in the Iberian Peninsula was printed in the Valencian variety

Reference: Valencian Language (Wikipedia)

Cebuano Language

Native Speakers: 21 million (2007), 2nd-most-spoken language in the Philippines, after Tagalog
Spoken Natively in: Philippines
Official Language in: Regional language in the Philippines

Cebuano, referred by most of its speakers as Bisaya or Binisaya (English: Visayan), is an Austronesian languagespoken in the Philippines by about 20 million people, mostly in Central Visayas, most of whom belong to the Bisayaethnic group. It is the most widely spoken of the languages within the so-named Bisayan subgroup and is closely related to other Filipino languages.

It has the largest native language-speaking population of the Philippines despite not being taught formally in schools and universities. It is the lingua franca of the Central Visayas, Negros Oriental, some parts of Eastern Visayas region and most parts of Mindanao. The name Cebuano is derived from the island of Cebu, which is the urheimat or origin of the language. Cebuano is the prime language in Western Leyte, noticeably in Ormoc and other municipalities surrounding the city, though most of the residents in the area name the Cebuano language by their own demonymssuch as “Ormocanon” in Ormoc and “Albuerahanon” in Albuera. Cebuano is given the ISO 639-2 three letter code ceb, but has no ISO 639-1 two-letter code.

Reference: Cebuano Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 1.4 million (2010)
Spoken Natively in: Russia
Official Language in: Russia

Chechen (Нохчийн Мотт / Noxčiyn Mott / نَاخچیین موٓتت / ნახჩიე მუოთთ, Nokhchiin mott, [ˈnɔx.t͡ʃiːn mu.ɔt]) is a Northeast Caucasian language. It is spoken by more than 1.4 million people, mostly in Chechnya and by Chechen people elsewhere.

Reference: Chechen Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 11,000 – 13,500 (2006–2008)
Spoken Natively in: United States

Official Language in: Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma

Cherokee (Cherokee: ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ Tsalagi Gawonihisdi) is the Native American Iroquoian language spoken by the Cherokee people. It is the only Southern Iroquoian language and differs significantly from the other Iroquoian languages. Cherokee is a polysynthetic language and uses a unique syllabary writing system.

Today, Cherokee is one of North America’s healthiest indigenous languages because extensive documentation of the language exists; it is the Native American language in which the most literature has been published. Such publications include a Cherokee dictionary and grammar as well as translated portions of the New Testament of theBible from 1850–1951, and the Cherokee Phoenix (ᏣᎳᎩ ᏧᎴᎯᏌᏅᎯ, Tsalagi Tsulehisanvhi), the first newspaper published by Native Americans in the United States and the first published in a Native American language. Significant numbers of Cherokee speakers of all ages still populate the Qualla Boundary in Cherokee, North Carolinaand several counties within the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, significantly Cherokee, Sequoyah, Mayes, Adair, andDelaware. Increasing numbers of Cherokee youth are renewing interest in the traditions, history, and language of their ancestors.

Cherokee is reportedly among the more difficult languages for native English speakers to acquire. This is in part due to the polysynthetic nature of the language, meaning that words consist of many parts. Words are constructed to convey an assertion, its context, and a host of connotations about the speaker, the action, and the object of the action. The complexity of the Cherokee language is best exhibited in verbs, which comprise approximately 75% of the language, as opposed to only 25% of the English language. Verbs must contain at minimum a pronominal prefix, a verb root, an aspect suffix, and a modal suffix.

Reference: Cherokee Language (Wikipedia)

Chin (Hakha Chin)

Native Speakers: 130,000
Spoken Natively in: Burma, India, Bangladesh
Official Language in: NA

Hakha Chin (Baungshe, Pawi), or Lai, is a language spoken in southern Asia by 446,264 people. The total figure includes 2,000 Zokhua, and 60,100 Lai speakers. The speakers are largely concentrated in Mizoram in eastern India and Burma, with a small number of speakers in Bangladesh.

Even though there is no official language in Chin State (Burma), Lai holh is used as a communication language or lingua franca in most parts of Chin State. It is used as a native language in Hakha and Thantlang area. And it is used as a communication language or lingua franca in Matupi. As Hakha and Falam dialects are from the same Lai dialect and 85% of the phonetic and accent are exactly the same, people from Falam can easily communicate with Hakha language. Strictly speaking, as Hakha is the capital of Chin State; Chins people from many parts of Chin State settle down in Hakha, or serve or work temporarily as a government employee or business men and eventually they including their children learn and speak Hakha. In this way, nowadays Hakha (Lai) dialect is used as a communication or lingua franca in the present day Chin State.

Reference: Hakha Chin Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: (1.2 billion cited 1984–2001)
Spoken Natively in: China, Taiwan, Singapore
Official Language in: China

Chinese (汉语/漢語; Hànyǔ or 中文; Zhōngwén) is a group of related but in many cases mutually unintelligible language varieties, forming a branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Chinese is spoken by the Han majority and many other ethnic groups in China. Nearly 1.2 billion people (around 16% of the world’s population) speak some form of Chinese as their first language.

Reference: Chinese Language (Wikipedia)

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Chinese (Simplified)

Native Speakers: NA – Written Characters
Written Natively in: China
Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters prescribed in the Xiandai Hanyu Tongyong Zibiao (List of Commonly Used Characters in Modern Chinese) for use in mainland China. Along with traditional Chinese characters, it is one of the two standard character sets of the contemporary Chinese written language. The government of the People’s Republic of China in mainland China has promoted them for use in printing since the 1950s and 1960s in an attempt to increase literacy. They are officially used in the People’s Republic of China and Singapore.

Traditional Chinese characters are currently used in Hong Kong, Macau, and the Republic of China (Taiwan). While traditional characters can still be read and understood by many mainland Chinese and the Chinese community in Malaysia and Singapore, these groups generally retain their use of Simplified characters. Overseas Chinese communities generally tend to use traditional characters. Interestingly enough, many mainland Chinese (or rather, Chinese who learned how to write simplified characters first) claim that even though they can read traditional characters, they often do not know how to write the said characters out.

Simplified Chinese characters are officially called in Chinese jiǎnhuàzì (简化字 in simplified form, 簡化字 in traditional form). Colloquially, they are called About this sound jiǎntizì (简体字 / 簡體字). Strictly, the latter refers to simplifications of character “structure” or “body”, character forms that have existed for thousands of years alongside regular, more complicated forms. On the other hand, jiǎnhuàzì means the modern systematically simplified character set, that (as stated by Mao Zedong in 1952) includes not only structural simplification but also substantial reduction in the total number of standardized Chinese characters.

Simplified character forms were created by decreasing the number of strokes and simplifying the forms of a sizable proportion of traditional Chinese characters. Some simplifications were based on popular cursive forms embodying graphic or phonetic simplifications of the traditional forms. Some characters were simplified by applying regular rules, for example, by replacing all occurrences of a certain component with a simplified version of the component. Variant characters with the same pronunciation and identical meaning were reduced to a single standardized character, usually the simplest amongst all variants in form. Finally, many characters were left untouched by simplification, and are thus identical between the traditional and simplified Chinese orthographies.

Some simplified characters are very dissimilar to and unpredictably different from traditional characters, especially in those where a component is replaced by an arbitrary simple symbol.  This often leads opponents not well-versed in the method of simplification to conclude that the ‘overall process’ of character simplification is also arbitrary.  In reality, the methods and rules of simplification are few and internally consistent. On the other hand, proponents of simplification often flaunt a few choice simplified characters as ingenious inventions, when in fact these have existed for hundreds of years as ancient variants.

A second round of simplifications 二简字 (Pinyin: èrjiǎnzi) was promulgated in 1977, but was later retracted in 1986 for a variety of reasons, but largely due to the confusion by and the unpopularity of the second round simplifications. However, the Chinese government never officially dropped its goal of further simplification in the future.

In August 2009, the PRC began collecting public comments for a modified list of simplified characters. The new Table of General Standard Chinese Characters consisting of 8105 (simplified and unchanged) characters was promulgated by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China on June 5, 2013

Reference: Chinese (Simplified)  Language (Wikipedia)

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Chinese (Traditional)

Native Speakers: NA – Written Characters
Written Natively in: Hong Kong, Macau, and the Republic of China (Taiwan)

Traditional Chinese characters (traditional Chinese: 正體字/繁體字; simplified Chinese: 正体字/繁体字; Pinyin: Zhèngtǐzì/Fántĭzì) are Chinese characters in any character set that does not contain newly created characters or character substitutions performed after 1946. They are most commonly the characters in the standardized character sets of Taiwan, of Hong Kong and Macau or in the Kangxi Dictionary. The modern shapes of traditional Chinese characters first appeared with the emergence of the clerical script during the Han Dynasty, and have been more or less stable since the 5th century (during the Southern and Northern Dynasties.) The retronym “traditional Chinese” is used to contrast traditional characters with Simplified Chinese characters, a standardized character set introduced by the government of the People’s Republic of China on Mainland China in the 1950s. Traditional Chinese characters are currently used in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau; as well as in Overseas Chinese communities outside of Southeast Asia, although the number of printed materials in simplified characters is growing[citation needed] in Australia, USA and Canada, targeting or created by new arrivals from mainland China. Currently, a large number of overseas Chinese online newspapers allow users to switch between both sets. In contrast, simplified Chinese characters are used in mainland China, Singapore and Malaysia in official publications. The debate on traditional and simplified Chinese characters has been a long-running issue among Chinese communities.

Reference: Chinese (Traditional) Language (Wikipedia)

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Chinese Cantonese

Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in: China, overseas communities
Official Language in: Hong Kong Macau (de facto official spoken form of Chinese in the Hong Kong government)

Chinese Cantonese, or Standard Cantonese, is a language that originated in the vicinity of Canton (i.e., Guangzhou) in southern China, and is often regarded as the prestige dialect of Yue Chinese. Inside mainland China, it is a lingua franca in Guangdong Province and some neighbouring areas, such as the eastern part of Guangxi Province. Outside mainland China, it is spoken by the majority population of Hong Kong and Macau in everyday life. It is also spoken by overseas Chinese communities in Southeast Asia (like Malaysia, Christmas Island), Canada, Brazil, Peru, Cuba, Panama, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and the United States where it is the third most common language in the country. While the term Cantonese refers narrowly to the prestige dialect described in this article, it is often used in a broader sense for the entire Yue branch of Chinese, including related dialects such as Taishanese.

The Cantonese language is also viewed as part of the cultural identity for the native speakers across large swathes of southern China, Hong Kong and Macau. Although Cantonese shares much vocabulary with Mandarin Chinese, the two languages are not mutually intelligible largely because of pronunciation and grammatical differences. Sentence structure, in particular the placement of the verb, sometimes differs between the two languages. The use of vocabulary in Cantonese also tends to have more historic roots. The most notable difference between Cantonese and Mandarin is how the spoken word is written; with Mandarin the spoken word is written as such, where with Cantonese there may not be a direct written word matching what was said. This results in the situation in which a Mandarin and Cantonese text almost look the same, but both are pronounced differently.

Reference: Chinese Cantonese Language

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Chinese Mandarin

Native Speakers: 955 million (2010)
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in:

Chinese Mandarin, In Chinese linguistics, Mandarin (simplified Chinese: 官话; traditional Chinese: 官話; pinyin: Guānhuà; literally “speech of officials”) is a group of related varieties or dialects spoken across most of northern and southwestern China. Because most Mandarin dialects are found in the north, the group is also referred to, particularly among Chinese speakers, as the “northern dialect(s)” (simplified Chinese: 北方话; traditional Chinese: 北方 話; pinyin: Běifānghuà). When the Mandarin group is taken as one language, as is often done in academic literature, it has more native speakers (nearly a billion) than any other language. A northeastern-dialect speaker and a southwestern-dialect speaker can hardly communicate except through the standard language, mainly because of the differences in tone. Nonetheless, the variation within Mandarin is less significant than the much greater variation found within several other varieties of Chinese; this is thought to be due to a relatively recent spread of Mandarin across China, combined with a greater ease of travel and communication compared to the more mountainous south of China. For most of Chinese history, the capital has been within the Mandarin area, making these dialects very influential. Since the 14th century, some form of Mandarin has served as a national lingua franca. In the early 20th century, a standard form based on the Beijing dialect, with elements from other Mandarin dialects, was adopted as the national language. Standard Chinese, which is also referred to as “Mandarin”, Pǔtōnghuà (simplified Chinese: 普通话; traditional Chinese: 普通話; literally “common speech”) or Guóyǔ (Chinese: 國語; literally “national language”), is the official language of the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China, and one of the four official languages of Singapore. It is also one of the most frequently used varieties of Chinese among Chinese diaspora communities internationally.

Reference: Chinese Mandarin Language (Wikipedia)

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Chinook Jargon

Native Speakers: 640 in US (2010 census), unknown number in Canada (83 in 1962)
Spoken Natively in: Canada, United States
Official Language in: De facto in Pacific Northwest until about 1900

Chinook Jargon (also known as chinuk wawa) originated as a pidgin trade language of the Pacific Northwest, and spread during the 19th century from the lower Columbia River, first to other areas in modern Oregon and Washington, then British Columbia and as far as Alaska and Yukon Territory, sometimes taking on characteristics of a creole language. It is related to, but not the same as, the aboriginal language of the Chinook people, upon which much of its vocabulary is based.

Many words from Chinook Jargon remain in common use in the Western United States and British Columbia and theYukon, in indigenous languages as well as regional English usage, to the point where most people are unaware the word was originally from the Jargon. The total number of Jargon words in published lexicons numbered only in the hundreds, and so it was easy to learn. It has its own grammatical system, but a very simple one that, like its word list, was easy to learn. The consonant ‘r’ is rare though existent in Chinook Jargon, and English and French loan words, such as ‘rice’ and ‘merci’, have changed in their adoption to the Jargon, to ‘lice’ and ‘mahsie’, respectively.

Reference: Chinook Jargon Language (Wikipedia)

Church Slavonic

Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in:

Church Slavonic or New Church Slavonic is the conservative Slavic liturgical language used by the Orthodox Churchin Bulgaria, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Macedonia and Ukraine. The language also occasionally appears in the services of the Orthodox Church in America and the Czech and Slovaklands. It was also used by the Orthodox Churches in Romanian lands until the late 17th and early 18th centuries,[2] as well as by Roman Catholic Croatians in the early Middle Ages.

In addition, Church Slavonic is used by some churches which consider themselves Orthodox but are not in communion with the Orthodox Church, such as the Macedonian Orthodox Church, the Montenegrin Orthodox Church, the Russian True Orthodox Church and others. It is also sometimes used by Greek Catholic Churches, which are under Vaticanjurisdiction, in Slavic countries, for example the Croatian and Ruthenian Greek Catholics, as well as by the Roman Catholic Church (Croatian and Czech recensions, see below).

Church Slavonic represents a later stage of Old Church Slavonic, and is the continuation of the liturgical tradition introduced by the Thessalonian brothers Cyril and Methodius in the late 9th century in Nitra, a principal town and religious and scholarly center of Great Moravia (located in present-day Slovakia), who produced the first Slavic translations of the Scripture and liturgy from Ancient Greek. By the early 12th century, individual Slavic languages started to emerge, and the liturgical language was modified in pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and orthography according to the local vernacular usage. These modified varieties or recensions eventually stabilized and their regularized forms were used by the scribes to produce new translations of liturgical material from Ancient Greek, or Latin in case of Croatian Church Slavonic.

Attestation of Church Slavonic traditions appear in Early Cyrillic and Glagolitic script. Glagolitic has nowadays fallen out of use, though both scripts were used from the earliest attested period. The first Church Slavonic printed book was the Missale Romanum Glagolitice (1483) in angular Glagolitic, followed shortly by five Cyrillic liturgical books printed in Kraków in 1491.

Reference: Church Slavonic Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:5.55 million (2001)
Spoken Natively in: Federated States of Micronesia
Official Language in: Federated States of Micronesia

Chuukese /tʃuːˈkiːz/, also rendered Trukese /trʌˈkiːz/, is a Trukic language of the Austronesian language family spoken primarily on the islands of Chuuk in the Caroline Islands in Micronesia. There are communities of speakers on Pohnpei and Guam as well. Estimates show that there are about 45,900 speakers in Micronesia.

Reference: Chuukese Language (Wikipedia)

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Creek (Muscogee)

Native Speakers: 5000
Spoken Natively in: Regional US (East central Oklahoma, Creek and Seminole, south Alabama Creek, Florida, Seminole of Brighton Reservation.)
Official Language in: NA

The Muscogee language (Mvskoke in Muscogee), also known as Creek, Seminole, Maskókî  or Muskogee, is a Muskogean language spoken by Muscogee (Creek) and Seminole people, primarily in the U.S. states of Oklahoma and Florida.

Historically the language was spoken by various constituent groups of the Muscogee or Maskoki in what are now Alabama and Georgia. It is related to, but not mutually intelligible with, the other primary language of the Muscogee confederacy, Hitchiti/Miccosukee spoken by the kindred Miccosukee (Mikasuki), as well as other Muskogean languages.

Muscogee people first brought the Muscogee and Miccosukee languages to Florida in the early 18th century where they would eventually became known as the Seminoles. In the 19th century, however, the US government forced most Muscogees and Seminoles to relocate west of the Mississippi River, with many forced into Indian Territory.

Today, the language is spoken by around 5,000 people, the majority of whom live in Oklahoma and are members of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma. Around 200 speakers are Florida Seminoles. Seminole usage of the language constitutes distinct dialects.

Reference: Creek (Muscogee) Language (Wikipedia)

Creole English-Based

Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in:

An English-based creole language (often shortened to English creole) is a creole language derived from the English language – i.e. for which English is the lexifier. Most English creoles were formed in British colonies, following the great expansion of British naval military power and trade in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The main categories of English-based creoles are Eastern (West African), Asian, Atlantic (The Americas), and Pacific.

It is disputed to what extent the various English-based creoles of the world share a common origin. The monogenesis hypothesis (Hancock 1969, Gilman 1978) posits that a single language, commonly called proto–Pidgin English, spoken along the West African coast in the early sixteenth century, was ancestral to most or all of the Atlantic creoles (the English creoles of both West Africa and the Americas).

Reference: Creole English-Based Language (Wikipedia)

Creole French-Based

Native Speakers: millions of people worldwide
Spoken Natively in: Canada (mostly in Quebec and the Maritime Provinces), the Canadian Prairie provinces, Louisiana, northern New England (Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont), and Saint-Barthélemy (leeward portion of the island)
Official Language in:

French creole, or French-based creole language, is a creole language (contact language with native speakers) for which French is the lexifier. Most often this lexifier is not modern French but rather a 17th-century koiné of French from Paris, the French Atlantic harbours, and the nascent French colonies. French-based creole languages are spoken by millions of people worldwide, primarily in the Americas and in the Indian Ocean. This article also contains information on French pidgin languages, contact languages that lack native speakers.

These contact languages are not to be confused with contemporary (non-creole) French language varieties spoken overseas in, for example, Canada (mostly in Quebec and the Maritime Provinces), the Canadian Prairie provinces, Louisiana, northern New England(Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont), and Saint-Barthélemy (leeward portion of the island).

Reference: Creole French-Based Language (Wikipedia)

Creole Portuguese-Based

Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in: Portuguese colonial empire
Official Language in:

The Portuguese word for “creole” is crioulo, which derives from the verb criar (“to raise”, “to bring up”) and a suffix -oulo of debated origin. Originally the word was used to distinguish the members of any ethnic group who were born and raised in the colonies from those who were born in their homeland. So in Africa it was often applied to locally born people of (wholly or partly) Portuguese descent, as opposed to those born in Portugal; whereas in Brazil it was also used to distinguish locally born black people of African descent from those who had been brought from Africa as slaves.

In time, however, this generic sense was lost, and the word crioulo or its derivatives (like “Creole” and its equivalents in other languages) became the name of several specific Upper Guinean communities and their languages: the Guinean people and their Kriol language, Cape Verdean people and their Kriolu language, all of which still today with very vigorous use suppressing the importance of official standard Portuguese.

Reference: Creoloe Portuguese-Based Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:5.55 million (2001)
Spoken Natively in: Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia (Vojvodina), Montenegro, Romania (Caraş-Severin County), Slovenia, and diaspora
Official Language in: Croatia Bosnia and Herzegovina

Croatian (hrvatski jezik) is the Serbo-Croatian language as spoken by Croats,[6] principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina and other neighbouring countries. Standard Croatian is based on the most widespread dialect, Shtokavian (Štokavian), more specifically on Eastern Herzegovinian, which is also the basis of standard Serbian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin. The other dialects spoken by Croats are Chakavian (Čakavian), Kajkavian, and Torlakian (by the Krashovani). These four dialects, and the four national standards, are usually subsumed under the term “Serbo-Croatian” in English, though this term is controversial for native speakers and paraphrases such as “Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian” are therefore sometimes used instead, especially in diplomatic circles. Vernacular texts in the Chakavian dialect first appeared in the 13th century, and Shtokavian texts appeared a century later. Standardization began in the period sometimes called “Baroque Slavism” in the first half of the 17th century, while some authors date it back to the end of 15th century. The modern Neo-Shtokavian standard that appeared in the mid 18th century was the first unified Croatian literary language. Croatian is written in Gaj’s Latin alphabet.

Reference: Croatian Language Wikipedia

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Native Speakers:10 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Czech Republic Vojvodina, Serbia Banat, Romania
Official Language in: Czech Republic European Union Slovakia (partially)

Czech (ˈtʃɛk/; čeština Czech pronunciation: [ˈt͡ʃɛʃcɪna]) is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century. Czech is similar to and mutually intelligible with Slovak and, to a lesser extent, with Polish and Sorbian.

Reference: Czech Langauge (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 20,000 (2010 & 2011 censuses)
Spoken Natively in: United States, with some speakers in Canada
Official Language in:

Dakota (also Dakhota) is a Siouan language spoken by the Dakota people of the Sioux tribes. Dakota is closely related to and mutually intelligible with the Lakota language. Dakota has two major dialects with two sub-dialects each (and minor variants, too):

  1. Eastern Dakota(aka Santee-Sisseton or Dakhóta)
    • Santee (Isáŋyáthi: Bdewákhaŋthuŋwaŋ, Waȟpékhute)
    • Sisseton (Sisíthuŋwaŋ, Waȟpéthuŋwaŋ)
  2. Western Dakota(aka Yankton-Yanktonai or Dakȟóta/Dakhóta, and erroneously classified, for a very long time, as “Nakota”)
    • Yankton (Iháŋktȟuŋwaŋ)
    • Yanktonai (Iháŋktȟuŋwaŋna)
      • Upper Yanktonai (Wičhíyena)

The two dialects differ phonologically, grammatically, and to a large extent, also lexically. They are mutually intelligible to a high extent, although Western Dakota is lexically closer to the Lakota language with which it has higher mutual intelligibility.

Reference: Dakota Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 5.6 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Denmark, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Schleswig-Holstein (Germany)
Official Language in: Denmark Faroe Islands, European Union, Nordic Council Minority language: Germany Greenland Iceland

Danish (dansk, pronounced [d̥anˀsɡ̊] ( listen); dansk sprog, [ˈd̥anˀsɡ̊ ˈsb̥ʁɔʊ̯ˀ]) is a North Germanic language spoken by around six million people, principally in the country of Denmark. It is also spoken by 50,000 Germans of Danish ethnicity in the northern parts of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, where it holds minority language status. Danish is a mandatory subject in school in the Danish crown territories of the Faroe Islands (where it is also an official language after Faroese) and Greenland (where, however, the only official language since 2009 is Kalaallisut and the language is now spoken as lingua franca), as well as the former crown holding of Iceland. There are also Danish language communities in Argentina, the United States and Canada. Danish is mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Swedish .

Reference: Danish Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 12.5 million (2000–2011)
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in: 


Dari (Persian: دری‎‎ [dæˈɾiː]) or Dari Persian (Persian: فارسی دری‎‎ [fɒːɾsije dæˈɾiː]) is the variety of the Persian language spoken in Afghanistan. Dari is the term officially recognized and promoted since 1964 by the Afghan government for the Persian language. Hence, it is also known as Afghan Persian in many Western sources.

As defined in the Constitution of Afghanistan, it is one of the two official languages of Afghanistan; the other is Pashto. Dari is the most widely spoken language in Afghanistan and the native language of approximately 25–50% of the population, serving as the country’s lingua franca. The Iranian and Afghan types of Persian are mutually intelligible, with differences found primarily in the vocabulary and phonology.

By way of Early New Persian, Dari Persian, like Iranian Persian and Tajik, is a continuation of Middle Persian, the official religious and literary language of the Sassanian Empire (224–651 CE), itself a continuation of Old Persian, the language of the Achaemenids (550–330 BC). In historical usage, Dari refers to the Middle Persian court language of the Sassanids.

Reference: Dari Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 371,000 (2007)
Spoken Natively in: The Maldives, India (Minicoy Island)
Official Language in: Maldives

Dhivehi or Maldivian (Maldivian: ދިވެހި Divehi) is an Indo-Aryan language predominantly spoken by about 350,000 people in the Maldives where it is the national language. It is also the first language of nearly 10,000 people in the island of Minicoy in the Union territory of Lakshadweep, India where the Mahl dialect of the Maldivian language is spoken.The major dialects of Maldivian are Malé, Huvadhu, Mulaku, Addu, Haddhunmathee and Maliku. The standard form of Maldivian is Malé, which is spoken in the Maldivian capital of the same name. The Maliku dialect spoken in Minicoy is officially referred as Mahl by the Lakshadweep administration. This has been adopted by many authors when referring to Maldivian spoken in Minicoy. Maldivian is closely related to the Sinhala language. Many languages have influenced the development of the Maldivian language through the ages, most importantly Arabic. Others include French, Persian, Portuguese, Urdu and English. The English words atoll (a ring of coral islands or reefs) and doni (a vessel for inter-atoll navigation) are anglicized forms of the Maldivian words Atoḷu and Dōni.

Reference: Dhivehi Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 1.4 million cited ca. 1982–1986; some figures undated
Spoken Natively in: South Sudan
Official Language in:

Dinka, or Thuɔŋjäŋ, is a Nilotic dialect cluster spoken by the Dinka people, the major ethnic group of South Sudan. There are five main varieties, NgokRekAgaar, “Dinka Leekrieth and Bor, which are distinct enough to require separate literary standards and thus to be considered separate languages. Jaang, Jieng or Moinyjieng is used as a general term to cover all Dinka languages. Rek is the standard and prestige dialect.

The closest non-Dinka language is Nuer, the language of the Dinka’s traditional rivals. The Luo languages are also closely related.

The Dinka are found mainly along the Nile, specifically the west bank of the White Nile, a major tributary flowing north from Uganda, north and south of the Sudd marsh in southwestern and south central Sudan in three provinces: Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile, and Southern Kurdufan.

Reference: Dinka Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 2,100 (2011 census)
Spoken Natively in: Canada
Official Language in: Northwest Territories (Canada)

The Dogrib language, or Tlinchon (/ˈtlɪntʃɒn/; Tłı̨chǫ Yatıì [tɬʰĩtʃʰõ jatʰîː]), is a Northern Athabaskan language spoken by the Tłı̨chǫ (Digrib people) of the Canadian Northwest Territories. According to Statistics Canada in 2006, there were 2,640 people who spoke Tlinchon.

The Tlinchon region covers the northern shore of Great Slave Lake, reaching almost up to Great Bear Lake. Rae-Edzo, now known by its Tlinchon name, Behchokǫ̀, is the largest community in the Tlinchon region.

Reference: Dogrib Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: (90,000 cited 1982), 2 million L1 and L2 speakers in Douala (2013)
Spoken Natively in: mainly the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, also in Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten, as well as Australia, Canada, France (French Flanders), Germany, Indonesia, South Africa, United States.
Official Language in: Aruba, Belgium, Curaçao, Netherlands, Sint Maarten, Suriname, Benelux , European Union, Union of South American Nations

Douala (also spelled Duala, DiwalaDwelaDualla, and Dwala) is a dialect cluster spoken by the Duala and Mungo peoples of Cameroon. The song “Soul Makossa”, as well as pop songs that repeated its lyrics, internationally popularized the Duala word for “(I) dance”, “makossa”. The song Alane by artist Wes Madiko is sung in Duala and reached #1 position in over 9 European countries.
Douala belongs to the Bantu language family, in a subgroup called Sawabantu. Maho (2009) treats Douala as a cluster of five languages: Douala proper, Bodiman, Oli (Ewodi, Wuri), Pongo, and Mongo. He also notes a Douala-based pidgin named Jo.

Reference: Duala Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 23.5 million (2006) Total: 28 million (not including speakers of closely related Afrikaans)
Spoken Natively in: mainly the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, also in Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten, as well as Australia, Canada, France (French Flanders), Germany, Indonesia, South Africa, United States.
Official Language in: Aruba, Belgium, Curaçao, Netherlands, Sint Maarten, Suriname, Benelux , European Union, Union of South American Nations

Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of most of the population of the Netherlands, and about sixty percent of the populations of Belgium and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second language for another 5 million people. It also holds official status in the Caribbean island nations of Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten, while historical minorities remain in parts of France and Germany, and to a lesser extent, in Indonesia, and up to half a million native Dutch speakers may be living in the United States, Canada, and Australia. The Cape Dutch dialects of Southern Africa have been standardised into Afrikaans, a mutually intelligible daughter language of Dutch[n 3] which today is spoken to some degree by an estimated total of 15 to 23 million people in South Africa and Namibia. Dutch is closely related to German and English and is said to be between them. Apart from not having undergone the High German consonant shift, Dutch—like English—has mostly abandoned the grammatical case system, is relatively unaffected by the Germanic umlaut, and has levelled much of its morphology. Dutch historically has three grammatical genders, but this distinction has far fewer grammatical consequences than in German. Dutch shares with German the use of subject–verb–object word order in main clauses and subject–object–verb in subordinate clauses. Dutch vocabulary is mostly Germanic and contains the same Germanic core as German and English, while incorporating more Romance loans than German and fewer than English.

Reference: Dutch Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 170,000 (2006) Second Language: 470,000
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in: Bhutan

Bhutan (རྫོང་ཁ་; Wylie: rdzong-kha, Jong-kă), occasionally Ngalopkha, is the national language of Bhutan. The word “dzongkha” means the language (kha) spoken in the dzong, – dzong being the fortress-like monasteries established throughout Bhutan by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in the 17th century. “Bhutani” is not another name for Dzongkha, but the name of a Balochi language. The two are sometimes confused, even in some published ISO 639 codelists.

Reference: Dzongkha Language (Wikipedia)



Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in: Egypt
Official Language in: Egypt

Egyptian is the oldest known language of Egypt and a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. The earliest known complete sentence in the Egyptian language has been dated to about 2690 BC, making it one of the oldest recorded languages known, along with Sumerian.

Egyptian was spoken until the late 17th century AD in the form of Coptic. The national language of modern-day Egypt is Egyptian Arabic, which gradually replaced Coptic as the language of daily life in the centuries after the Muslim conquest of Egypt.

Coptic is still used as the liturgical language of the Coptic Church. It has several hundred fluent speakers today.

Reference: Egyptian Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 63,000 (2008)
Spoken Natively in: Nigeria
Official Language in:

The Kajuk languageEkajuk (also spelled Akajo and Akajuk), is an Ekoid language (of the Niger–Congo family) spoken in the Cross River State and some surrounding regions of Nigeria.

The Ekajuk are one of several peoples who use the nsibidi ideographs.

Reference: Ekajuk Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in: Elamite Empire
Official Language in:

Elamite is an extinct language spoken by the ancient Elamites. Elamite was the primary language in present-day Iran from 2800 to 550 BC. The last written records in Elamite appear about the time of the conquest of the Persian Empire by Alexander the Great. Elamite has no demonstrable relatives and is usually considered a language isolate. The lack of established relatives is one reason that interpretation of the language is difficult.

Reference: Elamite Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 360 million (2010) L2: 375 million and 750 million EFL
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in:54 countries 27 non-sovereign entities United Nations, European Union Commonwealth of Nations Council of Europe, IOC NATO, NAFTA, OAS, OECD, OIC, PIF, UKUSA Agreement

English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and is now the most widely used language in the world. It is spoken as a first language by the majority populations of several sovereign states, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and a number of Caribbean nations. It is the third-most-common native language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. It is widely learned as a second language and is an official language of the European Union, many Commonwealth countries and the United Nations, as well as in many world organisations. English arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and what is now southeast Scotland. Following the extensive influence of Great Britain and the United Kingdom from the 17th century to the mid-20th century, through the British Empire, and also of the United States since the mid-20th century, it has been widely propagated around the world, becoming the leading language of international discourse and the lingua franca in many regions. Historically, English originated from the fusion of closely related dialects, now collectively termed Old English, which were brought to the eastern coast of Great Britain by Germanic settlers (Anglo-Saxons) by the 5th century – with the word English being derived from the name of the Angles, and ultimately from their ancestral region of Angeln (in what is now Schleswig-Holstein). A significant number of English words are constructed based on roots from Latin, because Latin in some form was the lingua franca of the Christian Church and of European intellectual life. The language was further influenced by the Old Norse language because of Viking invasions in the 8th and 9th centuries. The Norman conquest of England in the 11th century gave rise to heavy borrowings from Norman-French, and vocabulary and spelling conventions began to give the appearance of a close relationship with Romance languages to what had then become Middle English. The Great Vowel Shift that began in the south of England in the 15th century is one of the historical events that mark the emergence of Modern English from Middle English. Owing to the assimilation of words from many other languages throughout history, modern English contains a very large vocabulary, with complex and irregular spelling, particularly of vowels. Modern English has not only assimilated words from other European languages, but from all over the world. The Oxford English Dictionary lists over 250,000 distinct words, not including many technical, scientific, and slang terms.

Reference: English Language (Wikipedia)

English (UK)

Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in: Great Britain
Official Language in: Great Britain, London

British English is the English language as spoken and written in Great Britain or, more broadly, throughout the British Isles. Slight regional variations exist in formal, written English in the United Kingdom. For example, the adjective wee is almost exclusively used in parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland, whereas little is predominant elsewhere. Nevertheless, there is a meaningful degree of uniformity in written English within the United Kingdom, and this could be described by the term British English. The forms of spoken English, however, vary considerably more than in most other areas of the world where English is spoken, so a uniform concept of British English is more difficult to apply to the spoken language. According to Tom McArthur in the Oxford Guide to World English, British English shares “all the ambiguities and tensions in the word British and as a result can be used and interpreted in two ways, more broadly or more narrowly, within a range of blurring and ambiguity.”

When distinguished from American English, the term “British English” is sometimes used broadly as a synonym for “Commonwealth English”, the general dialect of English spoken amongst the former British colonies exclusive of the particular regionalisms of, for example, Australian or Canadian English.

Reference: British English Language (Wikipedia)

English (US)

Native Speakers: 225 million, all varieties of English in the United States (2010 census)
Spoken Natively in: United States
Official Language in: United States

American English, or United States (U.S.English, is the set of dialects of the English language native to the United States. English is the most widely spoken language in the United States and is the common language used by the federal government, considered the de facto language of the country because of its widespread use. English has been given official status by 30 of the 50 state governments. As an example, while both Spanish and English have equivalent status in the local courts of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, under federal law, English is the official language for any matters being referred to the United States District Court for the territory.

The use of English in the United States is a result of British colonization. The first wave of English-speaking settlers arrived in North America during the 17th century, followed by further migrations in the 18th and 19th centuries. Since then, American English has been influenced by the languages of West Africa, the Native American population, German,Dutch, Irish, Spanish, and other languages of successive waves of immigrants to the United States.

Any American English accent or sound system perceived as free from recognizably local, ethnic, or cultural characteristics is popularly called “General American.” The term often supposes a mainstream or standard form of American English, which is not justified by either historical or present linguistic evidence. More precisely, American English comprises a wide spectrum of dialects, though several are closely related.

Reference: American English (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: Around 1,000 families involving around 2,000 children (2004)
Spoken Natively in: Europe, East Asia, and South America.
Official Language in: Estonia European Union

Esperanto (/ˌɛspəˈræntoʊ/ or /-ˈrɑː-/; [espeˈranto]  listen (help·info)) is a constructed international auxiliary language. It is the most widely spoken constructed language in the world. The Polish ophthalmologist L. L. Zamenhofpublished the first book detailing Esperanto, the Unua Libro, on 26 July 1887. The name of Esperanto derives fromDoktoro Esperanto (“Esperanto” translates as “one who hopes”), the pseudonym under which Zamenhof published Unua Libro. Zamenhof’s goal was to create an easy-to-learn, politically neutral language that would transcend nationality and foster peace and international understanding between people with different languages.

Up to 2,000,000 people worldwide, to varying degrees, speak Esperanto, including about 1,000 to 2,000 native speakers who learned Esperanto from birth. The World Esperanto Association has members in 120 countries. Its usage is highest in Europe, East Asia, and South America. lernu!, the most popular online learning platform for Esperanto, reported 150,000 registered users in 2013, and sees between 150,000 and 200,000 visitors each month.With about 228,000 articles, Esperanto Wikipedia is the 32nd-largest Wikipedia as measured by the number of articles, and the largest Wikipedia in a constructed language. On 22 February 2012, Google Translate added Esperanto as its 64th language. On 28 May 2015, the language learning platform Duolingo launched an Esperanto course for English speakers. As of 30 March 2016, over 340,000 users had signed up, with around 30 users completing the course every day.

The first World Congress of Esperanto was organized in France in 1905. Since then, congresses have been held in various countries every year, with the exceptions of years during the world wars. Although no country has adopted Esperanto officially, Esperanto was recommended by the French Academy of Sciences in 1921 and recognized by UNESCO in 1954, which recommended in 1985 that international non-governmental organizations use Esperanto. Esperanto was the 32nd language accepted as adhering to the “Common European Framework of Reference for Languages” in 2007.

Esperanto is currently the language of instruction of the International Academy of Sciences in San Marino.

Esperanto is seen by many of its speakers as an alternative or addition to the growing use of English throughout the world, offering a language that is easier to learn than English.

Reference: Esperanto Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 1.05 million (1989)
Spoken Natively in: Estonia
Official Language in: Estonia European Union

Estonian (eesti keel; pronounced [ˈeːsti ˈkeːl]) is the official language of Estonia, spoken natively by about 1.1 million people in Estonia and tens of thousands in various migrant communities. It belongs to the Finnic branch of the Uralic language family. One distinctive feature that has caused a great amount of interest among linguists is what is traditionally seen as three degrees of phoneme length: short, long, and “overlong”, such that /toto/, /toˑto/ and /toːto/ are distinct. In actuality, the distinction is not purely in the phoneme length, and the underlying phonological mechanism is still disputed.

Reference: Estonian Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: (3.6 million cited 1991–2003)
Spoken Natively in: Ghana, Togo
Official Language in: Ghana, Togo

Ewe (Èʋe or Èʋegbe [èβeɡ͡be]) is a Niger–Congo language spoken in southeastern Ghana and southern Togo by over three million people. Ewe is part of a cluster of related languages commonly called Gbe; the other major Gbe language is Fon of Benin. Like most African languages, Ewe is tonal.

The German Africanist Diedrich Hermann Westermann published many dictionaries and grammars of Ewe and several other Gbe languages. Other linguists who have worked on Ewe and closely related languages include Gilbert Ansre(tone, syntax), Herbert Stahlke (morphology, tone), Nick Clements (tone, syntax), Roberto Pazzi (anthropology, lexicography), Felix K. Ameka (semantics, cognitive linguistics), Alan Stewart Duthie (semantics, phonetics), Hounkpati B. Capo (phonology, phonetics), Enoch Aboh (syntax), and Chris Collins (syntax).

Reference: Ewe Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in: Cameroon
Official Language in:

Ewondo or Kolo is the language of the Ewondo people (more precisely Beti be Kolo or simply Kolo-Beti) of Cameroon. The language had 577,700 native speakers in 1982. Ewondo is a trade language. Dialects include Badjia (Bakjo), Bafeuk, Bamvele (Mvele, Yezum, Yesoum), Bane, Beti, Enoah, Evouzok, Fong, Mbida-Bani, Mvete, Mvog-Niengue, Omvang, Yabekolo (Yebekolo), Yabeka, and Yabekanga. Ewondo speakers live primarily in Cameroon’s Centre Regionand the northern part of the Océan division in the South Region.

Ewondo is a Bantu language. It is a dialect of the Beti language (Yaunde-Fang), and is intelligible with Bulu, Eton, and Fang.

In 2011 there was a concern among Cameroonian linguists that the language was being displaced in the country by French

Reference: Ewondo Language (Wikipedia)



Native Speakers: 1 million (2006–2013)
Spoken Natively in: Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, and Cameroon
Official Language in:

Fang /ˈfɒŋ/ is the dominant Bantu language of Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. It is related to the Bulu and Ewondo languages of southern Cameroon. Fang is spoken in northern Gabon, southern Cameroon, and throughout Equatorial Guinea. This language is used in the song Zangalewa which Shakira sampled in her song, “Waka Waka (This Time For Africa)” as a tribute to African music.

There are many different variants of Fang in Gabon and Cameroon. Maho (2009) lists Southwest Fang as a distinct language. The other dialects are Ntumu, Okak, Make, Atsi (Batsi), Nzaman (Zaman), Mveny.

Reference: Fang Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 1.9 million (2004)
Spoken Natively in: Ghana
Official Language in:

Fante (Mfantse, Fanti) is one of the three formal literary dialects of the Akan language. It is the major local dialects in the Central and Western Regions of Ghana as well as in settlements in other regions from mid to southern Ghana. One such community is Fante New Town in Kumasi, in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.

Fante is the common language of communication among the several kingdoms of the Fante people though each has its own (sub)dialect: Agona, Anomabo, Abura, Gomua, Oguaa, Ahanta. Many Fantes are bilingual. Notable speakers include Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, John Atta Mills, Maya Angelou, Roman Catholic Cardinal Peter Turkson, and Kofi Annan.

One striking characteristic of Fante is its tolerance of the English language. This is exemplified by the constant mixing of the two languages even among uneducated folks. Example, in the phrase “Ofi mber tu mber”, literally meaning “from time to time”, the word “tu” is used in the same way an English speaker would use the word “to”.

The Fante language has many more such examples. This has been a particular source of concern to those Ghanaians who believe that the trend may adversely affect the language and thus lead to its extinction. However, proponents of the mix say that over the centuries it has helped to encourage the Fantes to like and learn to speak, read and write the English language well.

Reference: Fante Dialect (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 66,000 (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Faroe Islands, Denmark
Official Language in: Faroe Islands

Faroese[3] /ˌfɛəroʊˈiːz/ (føroyskt, pronounced [ˈføːɹɪst]) is a North Germanic language spoken as a native language by about 66,000 people, 45,000 of whom reside on the Faroe Islands and 21,000 in other areas, mainly Denmark. It is one of five languages descended from Old West Norse spoken in the Middle Ages, the others being Norwegian,Icelandic, and the extinct Norn and Greenlandic Norse. Faroese and Icelandic, its closest extant relative, are not mutually intelligible in speech, but the written languages resemble each other quite closely, largely owing to Faroese’setymological orthography

Reference: Faroese Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 340,000 (1996 census) 320,000 second-language users (1991)
Spoken Natively in: Fiji
Official Language in: Fiji

Fijian is an Austronesian language of the Malayo-Polynesian family spoken in Fiji. It has 450,000 first-language speakers, which is more than half the population of Fiji, but another 200,000 speak it as a second language. The 1997 Constitution established Fijian as an official language of Fiji, along with English and Hindustani, and there is discussion about establishing it as the “national language”, though English and Hindustani would remain official. Fijian is a VOS language. It has prepositions. Standard Fijian is based on the language of Bau, which is an East Fijian language.

Reference: Fijan Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:28 million (2007) 96% of the Philippines can speak Tagalog (2000)
Spoken Natively in: Philippines
Official Language in: Philippines

Filipino is a prestige register of the Tagalog language, and the name under which Tagalog is designated the national language of the Philippines, as well as an official language alongside English. Tagalog is a first language of about one-third of the Philippine population; it is centered around Manila but is spoken to varying degrees nationwide.

Reference: Filipino Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 5 million (2011)
Spoken Natively in: Finland, Estonia, Ingria, Karelia, Norway, Sweden
Official Language in: Finland, European Union, recognised as minority language in: Sweden, Russian Federation: Republic of Karelia

Finnish (or suomen kieli) is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland (92% as of 2006) and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. It is one of the two official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden. In Sweden, both standard Finnish and Meänkieli, a Finnish dialect, are spoken. The Kven language, a Finnish dialect, is spoken in Northern Norway. Finnish is the eponymous member of the Finnic language family and is typologically between fusional and agglutinative languages. It modifies and inflects nouns, adjectives, pronouns, numerals and verbs, depending on their roles in the sentence.

Reference: Finnish Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in:

Flemish (Vlaams), Belgian Dutch (Belgisch-Nederlands [ˈbɛlɣis ˈneːdərlɑnts]), Southern Dutch (Zuid-Nederlands) and Flemish Dutch (Vlaams-Nederlands) refer to the dialects or varieties of the Dutch language spoken in Flanders, the northern part of Belgium, both standard (as used in schools, government and the media) and informal (as used in everyday speech, “tussentaal (nl)” [ˈtɵsə(n)ˌtaːl]).

There are four principal Dutch dialects in the Flemish region (Flanders): Brabantian, East Flemish, West Flemish and Limburgish. Despite its name, Brabantian is the dominant contributor to the Flemish Dutch tussentaal. The combined region, culture, and people of Dutch-speaking Belgium (which consists of the provinces of West Flanders, East Flanders,Flemish Brabant, Antwerp, and Limburg, and historically of Brussels) has come to be known as “Flemish”. “Flemish” is also used to refer to one of the historical languages spoken in the former County of Flanders.

Linguistically and formally, “Flemish” refers to the region, culture and people of (West) Belgium or Flanders. Flemish people speak (Belgian) Dutch in Flanders, the Flemish part of Belgium. “Belgian Dutch” is slightly different from Dutch spoken in The Netherlands, mainly in pronunciation, lexicon and expressions. Similar differences exist within other languages, such as English (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, UK, USA, South Africa, etc.), French (Belgium, Canada, France, Switzerland, etc.), and Portuguese (Brazil, Portugal, etc.). The differences are not significant enough to constitute an individual language (just as American, Australian, Canadian and Brazilian have not diverted enough from the respective European sources to be considered separate languages)

Reference: Flemish Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 2.2 million (2000–2006)
Spoken Natively in: Benin, Togo
Official Language in: Benin

Fon (native name Fon gbè, pronounced [fɔ̃̄ɡ͡bè]) is part of the Gbe language cluster and belongs to the Volta–Nigerbranch of the Niger–Congo languages. Fon is spoken mainly in Benin by approximately 1.7 million speakers, by theFon people. Like the other Gbe languages, Fon is an analytic language with an SVO basic word order.

Reference: Fon Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in: Taiwan
Official Language in:

The Formosan languages are the languages of the indigenous peoples of Taiwan. Taiwanese aborigines (those recognized by the government) currently comprise about 2% of the island’s population. However, far fewer can still speak their ancestral language, after centuries of language shift. Of the approximately 26 languages of the Taiwanese aborigines, at least ten are extinct, another four (perhaps five) are moribund, and several others are to some degree endangered.

The aboriginal languages of Taiwan have significance in historical linguistics, since in all likelihood Taiwan was the place of origin of the entire Austronesian language family. According to linguist Robert Blust, the Formosan languages form nine of the ten principal branches of the Austronesian language family, while the one remaining principal branch contains nearly 1,200 Malayo-Polynesian languages found outside of Taiwan.Although linguists disagree with some details of Blust’s analysis, a broad consensus has coalesced around the conclusion that the Austronesian languages originated in Taiwan. This theory has been strengthened by recent studies in human population genetics, supporting also the matrilineal nature of the migration

Reference: Formosan Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 74 million (2007) 220 million L1 and L2 speakers (2010)
Spoken Natively in:Europe: Legal Status in France, Switzerland, Belgium, Monaco and Andorra, Luxembourg, Italy, The United Kingdom and Channel Islands, North and South America: Canada, Haiti, French overseas departments and territories in the Americas, United States, Brazil, Africa: Algeria, Egypt, French overseas departments and territories in the Africa, Asia: Southeast Asia, Lebanon, Syria and Israel, Indiana, Oceania and Australasia
Official Language in: Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea , France, Gabon, Guinea, Haiti, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Monaco, Niger, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Switzerland, Togo, Vanuatu Administrative/cultural: Algeria, Lebanon, Morocco, Mauritius, Mauritania, Tunisia 14 dependent entities: Aosta Valley, France Clipperton, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, French Polynesia, Guernsey, Jersey, Louisiana USA, Mayotte, New Caledonia, India Pondicherry, Saint-Barthélemy, Saint-Martin, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, Wallis and Futuna

French (le français [lə fʁɑ̃sɛ] ( listen) or la langue française [la lɑ̃ɡ fʁɑ̃sɛz]) is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the province of Quebec, many African countries, and the Acadia region in Canada, the north of the U.S. state of Maine, the Acadiana region of the U.S. state of Louisiana, and by various communities elsewhere. Other speakers of French, who often speak it as a second language, are distributed throughout many parts of the world, the largest numbers of whom reside in Francophone Africa. In Africa, French is most commonly spoken in Gabon (where 80% report fluency) Mauritius (78%), Algeria (75%), Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire (70%). French is estimated as having 110 million native speakers and 190 million more second language speakers. French is a descendant of the spoken Latin language of the Roman Empire, as are languages such as Italian, Portuguese, Spanish; Romanian, Lombard, Catalan, Sicilian and Sardinian. Its closest relatives are the other langues d’oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and Belgium, which French has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Roman Gaul, and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France’s past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian.

It is an official language in 29 countries, most of which form la francophonie (in French), the community of French-speaking countries. It is an official language of all United Nations agencies and a large number of international organizations. According to the European Union, 129 million, or twenty-six percent of the Union’s total population, can speak French, of whom 72 million are native speakers (65 million in France, 4.5 million in Belgium, plus 2.5 million in Switzerland, which is not part of the EU) and 69 million are second-language or foreign language speakers, thus making French the third language in the European Union that people state they are most able to speak, after English and German. Twenty percent of non-Francophone Europeans know how to speak French, totaling roughly 145.6 million people in Europe alone. As a result of extensive colonial ambitions of France and Belgium (at that time governed by a French-speaking elite), between the 17th and 20th centuries, French was introduced to the Americas, Africa, Polynesia, the Levant, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean. According to a demographic projection led by the Université Laval and the Réseau Démographie de l’Agence universitaire de la francophonie, French speakers will number approximately 500 million people in 2025 and 650 million people, or approximately 7% of the world’s population by 2050.

Reference: French Language (Wikipedia)

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French (Canada)

Native Speakers: 7,300,000 (2011 census)
Spoken Natively in: Canada (primarily Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick, but present throughout the country); smaller numbers in emigrant communities in New England
Official Language in: Canada, Quebec, New Brunswick

Canadian French (French: français canadien) is the various varieties of French spoken in Canada. In 2005, the total number of speakers of French in Canada (including two million non-fluent speakers) was 12,000,000. In 2011, French was reported as the mother tongue of more than seven million Canadians, or around 22% of the national population. At the federal level it has official status alongside English. At the provincial level of government, French is the sole official language of Quebec and is one of two official languages of New Brunswick, and is jointly official (derived from its federal legal status) in Nunavut, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. Government services are offered in French at the provincial level in Manitoba, in certain areas of Ontario (through the French Language Services Act), and to a variable extent elsewhere.

New England French, a variety spoken in parts of New England in the United States, is essentially a variety of Canadian French

Reference: French Canadian Langauge (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 480,000
Spoken Natively in: Netherlands, Germany
Official Language in: Netherlands, Germany

The Frisian /ˈfriːʒən/ 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, Germany, and Denmark. The Frisian languages are the closest living language group to English languages, and are together grouped into the Anglo-Frisian languages. However, modern English and Frisian are unintelligible to each other. Rather, the three Frisian languages have been heavily influenced by and bear similarities to Dutch, Danish, and/or Low German, depending upon their respective locations. Additional shared linguistic characteristics between the Great Yarmouth area, Friesland, and Denmark are likely to have resulted from the close trading relationship these areas maintained during the centuries-long Hanseatic League of the Late Middle Ages.

Reference: Frisian Language (Wikipedia)

Frisian (West)

Native Speakers: 467,000 (2001)
Spoken Natively in: Netherlands
Official Language in: Province of Friesland

Frisian (West) (Frysk, Dutch: Westerlauwers Fries [ˈʋɛstərˌlʌu̯ərs ˈfris]) is a language spoken mostly in the province of Friesland (Fryslân) in the north of the Netherlands. West Frisian is the name by which this language is usually known outside the Netherlands, to distinguish it from the closely related Frisian languages of Saterland Frisian and North Frisian, which are spoken in Germany. Within the Netherlands however, the West Frisian language is the language of the province of Friesland and is almost always called simply “Frisian”: Fries in Dutch, and Frysk in Frisian; Westfries (literally: West Frisian) is the Dutch name of the West Frisian dialect of the Dutch language, spoken in West Friesland, a region in the province of North Holland. The ‘official’ name used by linguists in the Netherlands to indicate the West Frisian language is Westerlauwers Fries (West Lauwers Frisian), the Lauwers being a border stream which separates the Dutch provinces of Friesland and Groningen.

Reference: West Frisian Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 300,000 (2002) total: 600,000, including 420,000 regular speakers (2015)
Spoken Natively in: Italy
Official Language in:

Friulian or Friulan ( furlan) or, affectionately, marilenghe in Friulian, friulano in Italian, Furlanisch in German,furlanščina in Slovene; also Friulian) is a Romance language belonging to the Rhaeto-Romance family, spoken in theFriuli region of northeastern Italy. Friulian has around 600,000 speakers, the vast majority of whom also speak Italian. It is sometimes called Eastern Ladin since it shares the same roots as Ladin, but, over the centuries, it has diverged under the influence of surrounding languages, including German, Italian, Venetian, and Slovene. Documents in Friulian are attested from the 11th century and poetry and literature date as far back as 1300. By the 20th century, there was a revival of interest in the language that has continued to this day.

Reference: Friulian Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 24 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: West Africa
Official Language in:

The Fula /ˈfuːlə/ language, also known as Fulani /fʊˈlɑːniː/ (Fula: Fulfulde, Pulaar, Pular; French: Peul) is a non-tonal language spoken as various closely related dialects, in a continuum that stretches across some 20 countries ofWest and Central Africa. Like other related languages such as Serer and Wolof, it belongs to the Atlantic subfamily of the Niger–Congo languages. It is spoken as a first language by the Fula people (“Fulani”, FulaFulɓe) and related groups such as the Toucouleur people in the Senegal River Valley from the Senegambia region and Guinea toCameroon and Sudan. It is also spoken as a second language by various peoples in the region, such as the Kirdi of Northern Cameroon and Northeastern Nigeria.

Reference: Fula Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 600,000 (2004)
Spoken Natively in: South-eastern Ghana, around Accra
Official Language in: Ghana

Ga is a Kwa language spoken in Ghana, in and around the capital Accra. It has a phonemic distinction between 3 vowel lengths.

Reference: Ga Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 160,000 (2000)
Spoken Natively in: Ireland, Scotland, Mann
Official Language in:

The Goidelic or Gaelic languages (Irish: teangacha Gaelacha, Scottish Gaelic: cànanan Goidhealach, Manx:çhengaghyn Gaelgagh) form one of the two groups of Insular Celtic languages, the other being the Brittonic languages. In the older classification, the Goidelic languages are part of the Q-Celtic group.

Goidelic languages historically formed a dialect continuum stretching from Ireland through the Isle of Man to Scotland. There are three modern Goidelic languages: Irish (Gaeilge), Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) and Manx (Gaelg), the last of which died out in the 20th century but has since been revived to some degree.

Reference: Gaelic Language  (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 160,000 (2000)
Spoken Natively in: Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey
Official Language in: Gagauzia

Gagauz language (Gagauz dili) is a Turkic language, spoken mainly by the Gagauz people and the official language of the autonomous Moldovan region of Gagauzia. Gagauz has two dialects: Bulgar Gagauzi and Maritime Gagauzi. Gagauz is classified as a distinct language from Balkan Gagauz Turkish.

Reference: Gagauz Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:3.2 million (1986)
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in: Galicia

Galician /ɡəˈlɪʃən/ (galego IPA: [ɡaˈleɣo]) is a language of the Western Ibero-Romance branch. It is spoken by some 3 million people, mainly in Galicia, an autonomous community located in northwestern Spain, where it is official along with Spanish language. The language is also spoken in some border zones of the neighbouring Spanish regions of Asturias and Castile and León, as well as by Galician migrant communities in the rest of Spain, in Latin America, the United States, and elsewhere in Europe.Galician is part of the same family of languages as the Portuguese language, and both share the common origins. Galician-Portuguese lyric (13th-14th centuries) was among the most remarkable universal literature produced in the Middle Ages. Galician language was the first iberian tonge to be consolidated from latin in the Medieval Ages in Galicia. The language spread southwards with the conquests of the Galician warlords since the VIII century, who became counts and later kings of Portugal. The standards of portuguese and galician dialects started to slowly slip away since the independence of Portugal in the 12th century. The lexicon of the language is predominantly of Latin extraction, although it also contains an important number of words of Germanic and Celtic origin, among other substrates and adstrates, having also received, mainly through Spanish and Portuguese, a sizeable number of nouns from the Arabs who in the Middle Ages governed southern Iberia. It is unofficially regulated in Galicia by the Royal Galician Academy, yet independent organisations such as the Galician Association of Language and the Galician Academy of the Portuguese Language include galician as part of the Galician-Portuguese language.

Reference: Galician Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 4.1 million (2002 census), Second language: 1 million (1999)
Spoken Natively in: Uganda
Official Language in: Uganda

The Ganda languageLuganda (/luːˈɡændə/, Oluganda [oluɡâːndá]), is the major language of Uganda, spoken by five million Ganda and other people principally in Southern Uganda, including the capital Kampala. It belongs to theBantu branch of the Niger–Congo language family. Typologically, it is a highly agglutinating language with subject–verb–object word order and nominative–accusative morphosyntactic alignment.

With about four million first-language-speakers in the Buganda region and a million others who are fluent, it is the most widely spoken Ugandan language. As second language it follows English and precedes Swahili. The language is used in some primary schools in Buganda as pupils begin to learn English, the primary official language of Uganda. Until the 1960s, Ganda was also the official language of instruction in primary schools in Eastern Uganda.

Reference: Ganda Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in: Ethiopia, Eritrea
Official Language in: Liturgical language of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Ethiopian Catholic Church, Eritrean Catholic Church and Beta Israel

Ge’ez (/ˈɡiːɛz/; ግዕዝ, Gəʿəz [ɡɨʕɨz]; also transliterated Giʻiz, also referred to by some as “Ethiopic”) is an ancient South Semitic language that originated in the northern region of Ethiopia and Eritrea in the Horn of Africa. It later became the official language of the Kingdom of Aksum and Ethiopian imperial court.

Today, Ge’ez remains only as the main language used in the liturgy of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Ethiopian Catholic Church, and the Beta Israel Jewish community. However, in Ethiopia Amharic (the main lingua franca of modern Ethiopia) or other local languages, and in Eritrea and Tigray Region in Ethiopia, Tigrigna may be used for sermons. Tigrigna and Tigre are closely related to Ge’ez with at least four different configurations proposed. Some linguists do not believe that Ge’ez constitutes the common ancestor of modern Ethiopian languages, but that Ge’ez became a separate language early on from some hypothetical, completely unattested language, and can thus be seen as an extinct sister language of Tigre and Tigrinya. The foremost Ethiopian experts such as Amsalu Aklilu point to the vast proportion of inherited nouns that are unchanged, and even spelled identically in both Ge’ez and Amharic (and to a lesser degree, Tigrinya).

Reference: Ge’ez Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:6–7 million (1998)
Spoken Natively in: Georgia (Including Abkhazia and South Ossetia)Russia, United States, Israel, Ukraine, Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan
Official Language in: Georgia

Georgian (ქართული ენა, pronounced [kʰartʰuli ɛna]) is the native language of the Georgians and the official language of Georgia, a country in the Caucasus. Georgian is the primary language of about 4 million people in Georgia itself, and of another 500,000 abroad. It is the literary language for all regional subgroups of the Georgian ethnos, including those who speak other Kartvelian (South Caucasian) languages: Svans, Mingrelians, and the Laz. Judaeo-Georgian is spoken by an additional 20,000 in Georgia and 65,000 elsewhere (primarily 60,000 in Israel).

Reference: Georgian Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: Standard German: 90 million (2010) all German: 120 million (1990–2005) L2 speakers: 80 million (2006)
Spoken Natively in: Primarily in German-speaking Europe, as a minority language and amongst the German diaspora worldwide
Official Language in: European Union (official and working language) Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Belgium (German-speaking Community of Belgium)

German (Deutsch [ˈdɔʏtʃ]) is a West Germanic language related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world’s major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union. Most German vocabulary is derived from the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. A number of words are derived from Latin and Greek, and fewer from French and English. German is written using the Latin alphabet. In addition to the 26 standard letters, German has three vowels with umlauts (Ä/ä, Ö/ö, and Ü/ü) and the letter ß.

Reference: German Language (Wikipedia)

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German Middle High (ca. 1050-1500)

Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in: Germany
Official Language in: Germany

Middle High German (German: Mittelhochdeutsch), abbreviated MHG (Mhd.), is the term used for the period in the history of the German language between 1050 and 1350. It is preceded by Old High German and followed by Early New High German. In some uses, the term covers a longer period, going up to 1500.

Reference: Middle High German Language (Wikipedia)

German Old High

Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in: Germany
Official Language in: Germany

Old High German (OHG, German: Althochdeutsch, German abbr. Ahd.) is the earliest stage of the German language, conventionally covering the period from around 700 to 1050 AD. Coherent written texts do not appear until the second half of the 8th century, and some treat the period before 750 as “prehistoric” and date the start of Old High German proper to 750 for this reason. There are, however, a number of Elder Futhark inscriptions dating to the 6th century (notably the Pforzen buckle), as well as single words and many names found in Latin texts predating the 8th century.

Reference: Old High German Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:12 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Turkey, Abkhazia, Albania, Egypt, Romania, France, Ukraine and in the Greek diaspora
Official Language in: Greece, Cyprus European Union

Greek (ελληνικά IPA [eliniˈka] ellīnika or ελληνική γλώσσα IPA [eliniˈci ˈɣlosa]) ellīnikī glōssa is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, Western Asia Minor and the Aegean, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were previously used. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script, and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Coptic, and many other writing systems. The Greek language holds an important place in the histories of Europe, the more loosely defined Western world, and Christianity; the canon of ancient Greek literature includes works of monumental importance and influence for the future Western canon, such as the epic poems Iliad and Odyssey. Greek was also the language in which many of the foundational texts of Western philosophy, such as the Platonic dialogues and the works of Aristotle, were composed; the New Testament of the Christian Bible was written in Koiné Greek. Together with the Latin texts and traditions of the Roman world, the study of the Greek texts and society of antiquity constitutes the discipline of classics. Greek was a widely spoken lingua franca in the Mediterranean world and beyond during classical antiquity, and would eventually become the official parlance of the Byzantine Empire. In its modern form, it is the official language of Greece and Cyprus and one of the 23 official languages of the European Union. The language is spoken by at least 13 million people today in Greece, Cyprus, and diaspora communities in numerous parts of the world. Greek roots are often used to coin new words for other languages, especially in the sciences and medicine; Greek and Latin are the predominant sources of the international scientific vocabulary. Over fifty thousand English words are derived from the Greek language.

Reference: Greek Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 4.85 million (1995)
Spoken Natively in: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia
Official Language in: Paraguay, Corrientes (Argentina), Mercosur Bolivia

Guaraní, specifically the primary variety known as Paraguayan Guaraní (/ɡwɑrəˈniː/; endonym avañe’ẽ [aʋãɲẽˈʔẽ] ‘Ava language’), is an indigenous language of South America that belongs to the Tupí–Guaraní subfamily of the Tupian languages. It is one of the official languages of Paraguay (along with Spanish), where it is spoken by the majority of the population, and where half of the rural population is monolingual. It is spoken by communities in neighbouring countries, including parts of northeastern Argentina, southeastern Bolivia and southwestern Brazil, and is a second official language of the Argentine province of Corrientes since 2004; it is also an official language of Mercosur. Guaraní is the only indigenous language of the Americas whose speakers include a large proportion of non-indigenous people. This is an anomaly in the Americas where language shift towards European colonial languages (in this case, the other official language of Spanish) has otherwise been a nearly universal cultural and identity marker of mestizos (people of mixed Spanish and Amerindian ancestry), and also of culturally assimilated, upwardly mobile Amerindian people. Jesuit priest Antonio Ruiz de Montoya, who in 1639 published a book called Tesoro de la lengua guaraní (“The Treasure of the Guaraní Language”), described it as a language “so copious and elegant that it can compete with the most famous [of languages].” The name “Guarani” is generally used for the official language of Paraguay. However, this is part of a dialect chain, most of whose components are also often called Guaraní. See Guaraní dialects.

Reference: Guarani Language (Wikipedia)

Guarani Languages

Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in: Paraguay
Official Language in: Paraguay, Corrientes (Argentina), Mercosur Bolivia

The Guarani languages are a group of half a dozen or so languages in the Tupi–Guarani language family. The best known language in this family is Guarani, one of the national languages of Paraguay, alongside Spanish.

The Guarani languages are:

  • Guaranidialect chain: Western Bolivian Guarani (Simba), Eastern Bolivian Guarani (Chawuncu; Ava, Tapieté dialects), Paraguayan Guaraní (Guarani), Chiripá Guaraní (Nhandéva, Avá), Mbyá Guaraní (Mbya)[2]
  • Kaiwá(Paí Tavyterá dialect)
  • Aché(Guayaki) (several dialects)
  • ?Xetá

The varieties of Guarani proper and Kaiwá have limited mutual intelligibility. Aché and Guarani are not mutually intelligible.[3] The position of Xetá is unclear.

Reference: Guarani Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 49 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: India
Official Language in: Gujarat (India) Daman and Diu (India) Dadra and Nagar Haveli (India)

Gujarati (Gujarati: ગુજરાતી Gujarātī) is an Indo-Aryan language, and part of the greater Indo-European language family. It is derived from a language called Old Gujarati (1100–1500 AD) which is the ancestor language of the modern Gujarati and Rajasthani languages. It is native to the Indian state of Gujarat, where it is the chief language, and to the adjacent union territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. There are about 65.5 million speakers of Gujarati worldwide, making it the 26th most spoken native language in the world. Along with Romany and Sindhi, it is among the most western of Indo-Aryan languages. Gujarati was the first language of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the “Father of the Nation of India”, and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the “Iron Man of India.” Other prominent personalities whose first language is or was Gujarati include Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Morarji Desai, Narsinh Mehta, Dhirubhai Ambani, and J. R. D. Tata. & Muhammad Ali Jinnah the “Father of the Nation of Pakistan”

Reference: Gujarati Language (Wikipedia)

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Haitian Creole

Native Speakers:9.6 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Haiti and Dominican Republic
Official Language in: Haiti

Haitian Creole (Kreyòl ayisyen; pronounced: [kɣejɔl ajisjɛ̃]), often called simply Creole or Kreyòl, is a language spoken in Haiti by about twelve million people, which includes all Haitians in Haiti and via emigration, by about two to three million speakers residing in the Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Dominican Republic, France, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Ivory Coast, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, and Venezuela. Haitian Creole is one of Haiti’s two official languages, along with French. It is a creole based largely on 18th Century French, some African languages, as well as Arabic, Arawak, English, Spanish, and Taíno. Partly due to efforts of Félix Morisseau-Leroy, since 1961 Haitian Creole has been recognized as an official language along with French, which had been the sole literary language of the country since its independence in 1804. Its orthography was standardized in 1979. The official status was maintained under the country’s 1987 constitution. The use of Haitian Creole in literature has been small but is increasing. Morisseau was one of the first and most influential authors to write in Haitian Creole. Since the 1980s, many educators, writers and activists have written literature in Haitian Creole. Today numerous newspapers, as well as radio and television programs, are produced in Haitian Creole. As required by the Joseph C. Bernard (Secrétaire d’État de l’éducation nationale) law of 18 September 1979, the Institut Pédagogique National established an official orthography for Kreyòl, and slight modifications were made over the next two decades. For example, the hyphen (-) is no longer used, nor is the apostrophe. The only accent accepted is the grave accent (à, è, or ò).

Reference: Haitian Creole Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 34 million (2007),15 million as a second language in Nigeria (no date); millions more elsewhere
Spoken Natively in: Niger, Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Sudan, Togo
Official Language in:

Hausa (/ˈhaʊsə/) (Yaren Hausa or Harshen Hausa) is the Chadic language (a branch of the Afroasiatic language family) with the largest number of speakers, spoken as a first language by about 35 million people, and as a second language by millions more in Nigeria, and millions more in other countries, for a total of at least 41 million speakers. Originally the language of the Hausa people stretching across southern Niger and northern Nigeria, it has developed into a lingua franca across much of western Africa for purposes of trade. In the 20th and 21st centuries, it has become more commonly published in print and online.

There are a few traditional dialects, differing mostly due to tonality. The language was commonly written with a variant of the Arabic script known as ajami but is more often written with the Latin alphabet known as boko.

Reference: Hausa Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 2,000 (1997), 24,000+ (2006–2008)[3
Spoken Natively in: Native Hawaiians
Official Language in: Hawaiʻi

The Hawaiian language (Hawaiian: ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, pronounced [ʔoːˈlɛlo həˈvɐjʔi]) 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. King Kamehameha III established the first Hawaiian-language constitution in 1839 and 1840.

For various reasons, including territorial legislation establishing English as the official language in schools, the number of native speakers of Hawaiian gradually decreased during the period from the 1830s to the 1950s. Hawaiian was essentially displaced by English on six of seven inhabited islands. In 2001, native speakers of Hawaiian amounted to under 0.1% of the statewide population. Linguists are worried about the fate of this and other endangered languages.

Nevertheless, from around 1949 to the present day, there has been a gradual increase in attention to and promotion of the language. Public Hawaiian-language immersion preschools called Pūnana Leo were started in 1984; other immersion schools followed soon after that. The first students to start in immersion preschool have now graduated from college and many are fluent Hawaiian speakers. The federal government has acknowledged this development. For example, the Hawaiian National Park Language Correction Act of 2000 changed the names of several national parks in Hawaiʻi, observing the Hawaiian spelling.

A pidgin or creole language spoken in Hawaiʻi is Hawaiian Pidgin (or Hawaii Creole English, HCE). It should not be mistaken for the Hawaiian language nor for a dialect of English.

The Hawaiian alphabet has 13 letters: five vowels (long and short) and eight consonants, one of them being a glottal stop (called ʻokina in Hawaiian).

The Hawaiian language takes its name from the largest island, Hawaii (Hawaiʻi in the Hawaiian language), in the tropical North Pacific archipelago where it developed, originally from a Polynesian language of the South Pacific, most likely Marquesan or Tahitian. The island name was first written in English in 1778 by British explorer James Cook and his crew members. They wrote it as “Owhyhee” or “Owhyee”. Explorers Mortimer (1791) and Otto von Kotzebue (1821) used that spelling.

The initial “O” in the name is a reflection of the fact that unique identity is predicated in Hawaiian by using a copulaform, o, immediately before a proper noun.[10] Thus, in Hawaiian, the name of the island is expressed by saying O Hawaiʻi, which means “[This] is Hawaiʻi.” The Cook expedition also wrote “Otaheite” rather than “Tahiti.”

The spelling “why” in the name reflects the [hw] pronunciation of wh in 18th-century English (still in active use in parts of the English-speaking world). Why was pronounced [hwai]. The spelling “hee” or “ee” in the name represents the sounds [hi], or [i].

Putting the parts together, O-why-(h)ee reflects [o-hwai-i], a reasonable approximation of the native pronunciation, [o hɐwɐiʔi].

American missionaries bound for Hawaiʻi used the phrases “Owhihe Language” and “Owhyhee language” in Boston prior to their departure in October 1819 and during their five-month voyage to Hawai’i. They still used such phrases as late as March 1822. However, by July 1823, they had begun using the phrase “Hawaiian Language.”

In Hawaiian, ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi means “Hawaiian language”, as adjectives follow nouns.

Reference: Hawaiian Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:5.3 million (1998)
Spoken Natively in: Israel, Jewish settlements in the West Bank; used globally as a liturgical language for Judaism
Official Language in: Israel

Hebrew (/ˈhiːbruː/) (עִבְרִית ʿIvrit, [ʔivˈʁit] or [ʕivˈɾit]) is a West Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites and their ancestors. Other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews. The Hebrew language was also used by non-Jewish groups, such as the ethnically related Samaritans. Hebrew had ceased to be an everyday spoken language around 200 CE, and survived into the medieval period only as the language of Jewish liturgy and rabbinical literature. Then, in the 19th century it was revived as a spoken and literary language and, according to Ethnologue is now the language of 5.3 million people worldwide, mainly in Israel. Modern Hebrew is one of the two official languages of Israel (the other being Arabic), while Classical Hebrew is used for prayer or study in Jewish communities around the world. The earliest examples of written Hebrew date from the 10th century BCE to the late Second Temple period, after which the language developed into Mishnaic Hebrew. Ancient Hebrew is also the liturgical tongue of the Samaritans, while modern Hebrew or Arabic is their vernacular, though today only about 700 Samaritans remain. As a foreign language it is studied mostly by Jews and students of Judaism and Israel, archaeologists and linguists specializing in the Middle East and its civilizations, by theologians, and in Christian seminaries.

The core of the Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible), and most of the rest of the Hebrew Bible, is written in Classical Hebrew, and much of its present form is specifically the dialect of Biblical Hebrew that scholars believe flourished around the 6th century BCE, around the time of the Babylonian exile. For this reason, Hebrew has been referred to by Jews as Leshon HaKodesh (לשון הקודש), “The Holy Language”, since ancient times.

Reference: Hebrew Language (Wikipedia)

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Hebrew (Modern)

Native Speakers: 9.0 million (2014) including native, fluent, and non-fluent speakers.
Spoken Natively in: Israel
Official Language in: Israel

Modern Hebrew or Israeli Hebrew (Hebrew: עברית חדשה‎ ʿivrít ḥadašá[h] – “Modern Hebrew” or “New Hebrew”), generally referred to by speakers simply as Hebrew(עברית Ivrit), is the standard form of the Hebrew language spoken today. Spoken in ancient times, Hebrew, a Canaanite language, was supplanted as the Jewish vernacular by the western dialect of Aramaic beginning in the third century BCE, though it continued to be used as a liturgical and literary language. It was revived as a spoken language in the 19th and 20th centuries and is one of the two official languages of Israel (along with Arabic).

Modern Hebrew is spoken by about nine million people, counting native, fluent, and non-fluent speakers. Most speakers are citizens of Israel: about five million are Israelis who speak Modern Hebrew as their native language, 1.5 million are immigrants to Israel, 1.5 million are Arab citizens of Israel: about five million are Israelis who speak Modern Hebrew as their native language, 1.5 million are immigrants to Israel, 1.5 million are Arab citizens of Israel, whose first language is usually Arabic, and half a million are expatriate Israelis or diaspora Jews living outside Israel.

The organization that officially directs the development of the Modern Hebrew language, under the law of the State of Israel, is the Academy of the Hebrew Language.

Reference: Hebrew Modern Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 8.2 million (2007), 4th most spoken native language in the Philippines[
Spoken Natively in: Philippines
Official Language in: Philippines

The Hiligaynon language, often referred to as Ilonggo, is an Austronesian language spoken in the Western Visayas and Negros Island Region of thePhilippines.

Hiligaynon is concentrated in the provinces of Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Guimaras, and Capiz, but it is also spoken in the other provinces, such as Antique, Aklan,Negros Oriental, Masbate, Palawan, as well as in many parts of Mindanao such asKoronadal City, most parts of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and in other parts ofNorth Cotabato. It is also spoken as a second language by Kinaray-a speakers in Antique, Aklanon/Malaynon speakers in Aklan, Capiznon speakers in Capiz andCebuano speakers in Negros Oriental.

There are approximately 7,000,000 people in and outside the Philippines native speakers of Hiligaynon and an additional 4,000,000 capable of speaking it with a substantial degree of proficiency.

It is a member of the Visayan language family. The language is also often referred to as Ilonggo (Spanish: ilongo) in Iloilo and in Negros Occidental. Many argue, however, that this is an incorrect usage of the word “Ilonggo.” In precise usage, “Ilonggo” should be used only in relation to the ethnolinguistic group of native inhabitants of Iloilo and the culture associated with native Hiligaynon speakers, they argue. The disagreement over the usage of “Ilonggo” to refer to the language extends to Philippine language specialists and native laymen.

Historical evidence from observations of early Spanish explorers in the Archipelago shows that the nomenclature used to refer to this language had its origin among the people of the coasts or people of the Ilawod (“los [naturales] de la playa“), whom Loarca called Yligueynes (or the more popular term Hiligaynon, also referred to by the Karay-a people as “Siná”). In contrast, the “Kinaray-a” has been used by what the Spanish colonizers called Arayas, which is most probably a Spanish misconception (as they often misinterpreted what they heard from the natives) of the Hiligaynon words Iraya or taga-Iraya, or the current and more popular version Karay-a (highlanders – people of Iraya [highlands])

Reference: Hiligaynon Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 400,000 (2005), Census results conflate some speakers with Hindi.
Spoken Natively in: India
Official Language in: India

Sirmauri, or Himachali, is a pair of Western Pahari languages of northern India, Dharthi (Giriwari) and Giripari. Although considered dialects, intelligibility between them is difficult, and not much better than with neighboring languages. SinceKashmiri, Punjabi, Urdu and Hindi are spoken in a region that has witnessed significant ethnic and identity conflict, all have been exposed to the dialect-versus-language question. Each of these languages possesses a central standard on which its literature is based, and from which there are multiple dialectal variations. At various times, Gujri, Dogri and Himachali have been claimed to be dialects of Punjabi Language. Similarly, some Western Pahari languages (such as Rambani) have been claimed to be dialects of Kashmiri.

Reference: Himachali Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:180 million (1991) Total, including Urdu: 490 million
Spoken Natively in: India Significant communities in South Africa, Nepal
Official Language in: India

Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (also known as Manak Hindi, High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi), is a standardised and sanskritised register of the Hindi-Urdu language. It is the native language of people living in Delhi, Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh, northeastern Madhya Pradesh, and parts of eastern Rajasthan, and is one of the official languages of the Republic of India. But many non-native speakers from other parts of India, too, understand it easily because it is close to their native languages that, just like Hindi, originated from Sanskrit. These languages have common roots and the native speakers of several regional Indian languages find it easier to understand the more Sanskritised form of Hindi. Colloquial Hindi is mutually intelligible with another register of Hindi-Urdu called (Modern Standard) Urdu. Mutual intelligibility decreases in literary and specialized contexts which rely on educated vocabulary. The number of native speakers of Standard Hindi is unclear. According to the 2001 Indian census, 258 million people in India reported their native language to be “Hindi”. However, this includes large numbers of speakers of Hindi languages other than Standard Hindi; as of 2009, the best figure Ethnologue could find for Khariboli dialect (the basis of Hindustani) was a 1991 citation of 180 million. This places Hindi in a three-way tie with Bengali and Portuguese for the fifth-largest language in the world.

Reference: Hindi Language (Wikipedia)

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Hiri Motu

Native Speakers: Very few (1992) 120,000 L2 speakers (1989); use declining since 1965
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in: Papua New Guinea

Hiri Motu, (also known as Police Motu or Pidgin Motu) is an official language of Papua New Guinea. It is a simplified version of Motu and although it is strictly neither a pidgin nor a creole it possesses some features of both language types. Phonological and grammatical differences mean not only that Hiri Motu speakers cannot understand Motu, but also that Motu speakers not exposed to Hiri Motu have similar difficulties, though the languages are lexically very similar, and retain a common Austronesian syntactical basis. Unlike Tok Pisin its use has been in decline for many years.

Reference: Hiri Motu Language (Wikipedia)

Hmong; Mong

Native Speakers: 3.7 million (1995–2009) not counting Vietnam
Spoken Natively in: China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, USA, and French Guiana.
Official Language in:

Hmong (RPA: Hmoob) or Mong (RPA: Moob), known as First Vernacular Chuanqiandian Miao in China (Chinese: 川黔滇苗语第一土语; pinyin: Chuānqiándiān miáo yǔ dì yī tǔyǔ), is a dialect continuum of the West Hmongic branch of theHmongic languages spoken by the Hmong people of Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou,Guangxi, northern Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos. There are some 2.7 million speakers of varieties that are largely mutually intelligible, including 260,000 Hmong Americans. Over half of all Hmong speakers speak the various dialects in China, where the Dananshan (大南山) dialect forms the basis of the standard language. However, Hmong Daw (White Miao) and Mong Njua (Green Miao) are widely known only in Laos and the United States; Dananshan is more widely known in the native region of Hmong.

Hmong, in the narrow sense, is sometimes known ambiguously as the Chuanqiandian Cluster. That term is also used for Chuanqiandian Miao as a whole, or it may be restricted to the varieties of Hmong spoken in China.

Reference: Hmong; Mong Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers:14–15 million (2005)
Spoken Natively in: Hungary and areas of Austria, Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine
Official Language in: Hungary, European Union, Slovakia (regional language), Slovenia (regional language), Serbia (regional language), Austria (regional language), some official rights in Romania, Ukraine and Croatia

Hungarian (Hungarian: magyar nyelv) is a Uralic language, one of the Ugric branch, spoken by the Hungarians. It is the most widely spoken non-Indo-European language in Europe, based on the number of native speakers. Hungarian is the official language of Hungary and is also spoken by Hungarian communities in the seven neighboring countries and by diaspora communities worldwide. The Hungarian name for the language is magyar [ˈmɒɟɒr], which is also occasionally used as an English word to refer to the Hungarian people as an ethnic group.

Reference: Hungarian Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 320,000 (2011)
Spoken Natively in: Iceland, Denmark
Official Language in: Iceland

Icelandic ( íslenska ) is a North Germanic language, the main language of Iceland. Its closest relative is Faroese. Icelandic is an Indo-European language belonging to the North Germanic or Nordic branch of the Germanic languages. Historically, it was the westernmost of the Indo-European languages prior to the colonisation of the Americas. Icelandic, Faroese, Norn, and Norwegian formerly comprised West Nordic; Danish and Swedish comprised East Nordic. The Nordic languages are now divided into Insular Nordic and mainland Scandinavian languages. Norwegian is now grouped with Danish and Swedish because of its mutual intelligibility with those languages due to its heavy influence from them over the last millennium, particularly from Danish. Most Western European languages have greatly reduced levels of inflection, particularly noun declension. In contrast, Icelandic retains a four-case synthetic grammar comparable to, but considerably more conservative and synthetic than, German. It is inappropriate to compare the grammar of Icelandic to that of the more conservative Baltic, Slavic, and Indic languages of the Indo-European family, many of which retain six or more cases, except to note that Icelandic utilises a wide assortment of irregular declensions. Icelandic also possesses many instances of oblique cases without any governing word, as does Latin. For example, many of the various Latin ablatives have a corresponding Icelandic dative. However, despite its arguable baggage, the remarkable conservatism of the Icelandic language and its resultant near-isomorphism to Old Norse (which is equivalently termed Old Icelandic by linguists) means that, to their delight, modern Icelanders can easily read the Eddas, sagas, and other classic Old Norse literary works created in the tenth through thirteenth centuries. The vast majority of Icelandic speakers—about 320,000—live in Iceland. There are about 8,165 speakers of Icelandic living in Denmark, of whom approximately 3,000 are students. The language is also spoken by 5,112 people in the USA[4] and by 2,170 in Canada (Notably in Gimli, Manitoba), indeed, the word ‘Gimli’ is itself the Icelandic for ‘heaven’. 97% of the population of Iceland consider Icelandic their mother tongue, but in some communities outside Iceland the use of the language is declining. Icelandic speakers outside Iceland represent recent emigration in almost all cases except Gimli, which was settled from the 1880s onwards. The Icelandic constitution does not mention the language as the official language of the country. Though Iceland is a member of the Nordic Council, the Council uses only Danish, Norwegian and Swedish as its working languages. The council does, though, publish material in Icelandic. Under the Nordic Language Convention, since 1987, citizens of Iceland have the opportunity to use Icelandic when interacting with official bodies in other Nordic countries without being liable for any interpretation or translation costs. The Convention covers visits to hospitals, job centres, the police and social security offices;[8][9] however, the Convention is not very well known and is mostly irrelevant as many Icelanders born after the 1940s have an excellent command of English. The countries have committed themselves to providing services in various languages, but citizens have no absolute rights except for criminal and court matters.

The state-funded Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies serves as a centre for preserving the medieval Icelandic manuscripts and studying the language and its literature. The Icelandic Language Council, comprising representatives of universities, the arts, journalists, teachers, and the Ministry of Culture, Science and Education, advises the authorities on language policy. The Icelandic Language Fund supports activities intended to promote the Icelandic language. Since 1995, on November 16 each year, the birthday of 19th century poet Jónas Hallgrímsson is celebrated as Icelandic Language Day.

Reference: Icelandic Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 25 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Nigeria
Official Language in: Nigeria

Igbo (Igbo [iɡ͡boː]; English /ˈɪɡboʊ/; archaically Ibo /ˈiːboʊ/) (Igbo: Asụsụ Igbo), is the principal native language of the Igbo people, an ethnic group of southeastern Nigeria. There are approximately 24 million speakers, who live mostly in Nigeria and are primarily of Igbo descent. Igbo is written in the Latin script, which was introduced by British colonialists. There are over 20 Igbo dialects. There is apparently a degree of dialect levelling occurring. A standard literary language was developed in 1972 based on the Owerri (Isuama) and Umuahia (such as Ohuhu) dialects, though it omits the nasalization and aspiration of those varieties. There are related Igboid languages as well that are sometimes considered dialects of Igbo, the most divergent being Ekpeye. Some of these, such as Ika, have separate standard forms. Igbo is also a recognised minority language of Equatorial Guinea.

Reference: Igbo Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 9.1 million (2007), 3rd most spoken native language in the Philippines
Spoken Natively in: Philippines
Official Language in: Philippines

Ilocano (also Ilokano; /iːloʊˈkɑːnoʊ/; Ilocano: Pagsasao nga Ilokano) is the third most-spoken native language of the Philippines.

An Austronesian language, it is related to such languages as Indonesian, Malay,Fijian, Maori, Hawaiian, Malagasy, Samoan, Tahitian, Chamorro, Tetum, andPaiwan. It is closely related to some of the other Austronesian languages of Northern Luzon, and has slight mutual intelligibility with the Balangao language and Eastern dialects of the Bontoc language.

In September 2012, the province of La Union passed an ordinance recognizing Ilokano (Iloko) as an official provincial language, alongside Filipino and English, as national and official languages of the Philippines, respectively. It is the first province in the Philippines to pass an ordinance protecting and revitalizing a native language, although there are also other languages spoken in the province of La Union, including Pangasinan and Kankanaey.

Reference: Ilocano Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:23 million (2000) Over 140 million L2 speakers
Spoken Natively in: Indonesia East Timor (as a “working language”)
Official Language in: Indonesia

Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia) is the official language of Indonesia. It is a standardized register of Malay, an Austronesian language which has been used as a lingua franca in the Indonesian archipelago for centuries. Indonesia is the fourth most populous nation in the world. Of its large population, the number of people who speak Indonesian fluently is fast approaching 100%, making Indonesian, and thus Malay, one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.

Most Indonesians, aside from speaking the national language, are often fluent in another regional language (examples include Javanese, Sundanese and Madurese) which are commonly used at home and within the local community. Most formal education, as well as nearly all national media and other forms of communication, are conducted in Indonesian. In East Timor, which was an Indonesian province from 1975 to 1999, Indonesian is recognised by the constitution as one of the two working languages (the other being English), alongside the official languages of Tetum and Portuguese. The Indonesian name for the language is Bahasa Indonesia (literally “the language of Indonesia”). This term is occasionally found in English. Indonesian is sometimes called “Bahasa” by English speakers, though this literally just means “language”.

Reference: Indonesian Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers:575 (2006)
Spoken Natively in: Canada (Nunavut and Northwest Territories)
Official Language in: Nunavut and Northwest Territories (Canada)

Inuinnaqtun (meaning Like the real human beings/peoples), is an indigenous Inuit language of Canada and a dialect of Inuvialuktun. It is related very closely to Inuktitut, and some scholars, such as Richard Condon, believe that Inuinnaqtun is more appropriately classified as a dialect of Inuktitut. The governments of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut recognise Inuinnaqtun as an official language in addition to Inuktitut. The Nunavut Official Languages Act, passed by the Senate of Canada on June 11, 2009, recognized Inuinnaqtun as one of the official languages of Nunavut. Inuinnaqtun is used primarily in the communities of Cambridge Bay and Kugluktuk in the western Kitikmeot Region of Nunavut. Outside of Nunavut, it is spoken in the hamlet of Ulukhaktok, where it is called Kangiryuarmiutun. It is written using the Latin script.

Reference: Inuinnaqtun Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 14,000 (1991) 36,000 together with Inuvialuk (2006)
Spoken Natively in: Canada (Nunavut, Quebec (Nunavik), Northwest Territories, Newfoundland and Labrador (Nunatsiavut)
Official Language in: Nunavut, Nunavik, Northwest Territories, Nunatsiavut (Canada)

Inuktitut (Inuktitut syllabics: ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ) [i.nuk.ti.’tut] or Eastern Canadian Inuktitut, Eastern Canadian Inuit language is the name of some of the Inuit languages spoken in Canada. It is spoken in all areas north of the tree line, including parts of the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, to some extent in northeastern Manitoba as well as the territories of Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and traditionally on the Arctic Ocean coast of Yukon. It is recognised as an official language in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. It also has legal recognition in Nunavik—a part of Québec—thanks in part to the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement, and is recognised in the Charter of the French Language as the official language of instruction for Inuit school districts there. It also has some recognition in Nunatsiavut—the Inuit area in Labrador—following the ratification of its agreement with the government of Canada and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Canadian census reports that there are roughly 35,000 Inuktitut speakers in Canada, including roughly 200 who live regularly outside of traditionally Inuit lands.

Reference: Inuktitut Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: approx. 133,000 native (2011) L2 1.77 million (Native & L2) in the Republic. 200,000 in Northern Ireland. 30,000 in the United States of America. 7,500 in Canada. 1,895 in Australia.
Spoken Natively in: Ireland, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, Argentina
Official Language in: Ireland, EU

Irish (Gaeilge), also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of the population. Irish enjoys constitutional status as the national and first official language of the Republic of Ireland. It is an official language of the European Union and an officially recognised minority language in Northern Ireland. Irish was the predominant language of the Irish people for most of their recorded history, and they brought their Gaelic speech with them to other countries, notably Scotland and the Isle of Man, where it gave rise to Scottish Gaelic and Manx. It has the oldest vernacular literature in Western Europe. In the Elizabethan era the Gaelic language was viewed as something barbarian and as a threat to all things English in Ireland. There was then enacted a systematic campaign to destroy all things Irish, including the Irish language. Irish forms of dress were banned and no form of Irish names was recognised (something which still exists to this day in Northern Ireland). Those English who had married Irish women were forbidden from speaking Irish or maintaining Irish customs. Consequently, it began to decline under English and British rule after the seventeenth century. The nineteenth century saw a dramatic decrease in the number of speakers especially after the Great Famine of 1845–1852 (where Ireland lost 20–25% of its population either to emigration or death). Irish-speaking areas were especially hit hard. By the end of “British” rule, the language was spoken by less than 15% of the national population. Since then, Irish speakers have been in the minority except in areas collectively known as the Gaeltacht. Ongoing efforts have been made to preserve, promote and revive the language, particularly the Gaelic Revival. Significantly the language hung on in at least one area on the east coast of Ireland – far away from the usual west coast Gaeltacht areas – this was in the area of ‘Oirghialla’ – the remnant of a vast Gaelic territory that once encompassed Down, Armagh, Tyrone, Meath and Louth – but now just the few parishes of Mullaghbane (An Mullach Bán), Dromintee (Droim an Tí) and Killeavy (Cill Shléibhe) in South Armagh, and the contiguous area of Omeath (Ó Méith) in County Louth. The language was spoken in this area up to the 1920s and the last native speakers died in the 1950s. A vibrant revival has seen the language take off in the area with pre-school playgroups and primary schools and the language is probably more widely spoken now in the area than at any time in the last 50 years. Around the turn of the 20th century, estimates of native speakers ranged from 20,000 to 80,000 people. In the 2006 census for the Republic, 85,000 people reported using Irish as a daily language outside of the education system, and 1.2 million reported using it at least occasionally in or out of school. In the 2011 Census, these numbers had increased to 94,000 and 1.3 million, respectively. There are also thousands of Irish speakers in Northern Ireland, and viable communities of native speakers in the United States and Canada. Historically the island of Newfoundland had a dialect of Irish Gaelic, called Newfoundland Irish.

Reference: Irish Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:59 million Italian proper, native and native bilingual (2007) 85 million all varieties
Spoken Natively in: Italy, San Marino, Malta, Switzerland, Vatican City, Slovenia (Slovenian Istria), Croatia (Istria County), Argentina, Brazil
Official Language in: European Union, Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, Croatia (Istria County), Slovenia (Slovenian Istria)

Italian (italiano or lingua italiana) is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia. Many speakers are native bilinguals of both standardised Italian and other regional languages. According to the Bologna statistics of the European Union, Italian is spoken as a mother tongue by 65 million people in the EU (13% of the EU population), mainly in Italy, and as a second language by 14 million (3%). Including the Italian speakers in non-EU European countries (such as Switzerland and Albania) and on other continents, the total number of speakers is more than 85 million. In Switzerland, Italian is one of the four official languages; it is studied and learned in all the confederation schools and spoken, as mother tongue, in the Swiss cantons of Ticino and Grigioni and by the Italian immigrants that are present in large numbers in German- and French-speaking cantons. It is also the official language of San Marino, as well as the primary language of Vatican City. It is co-official in Slovenian Istria and in Istria County in Croatia. The Italian language adopted by the state after the unification of Italy is based on the Tuscan, which beforehand was a language spoken mostly by the upper class of Florentine society. Its development was also influenced by other Italian languages and by the Germanic languages of the post-Roman invaders. Italian derives from Latin. Unlike most other Romance languages, Italian retains Latin’s contrast between short and long consonants. As in most Romance languages, stress is distinctive. In particular, among the Romance languages, Italian is the closest to Latin in terms of vocabulary.

Reference: Italian Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers:125 million (2010)
Spoken Natively in: Japan
Official Language in: Japan

Japanese (日本語 Nihongo?, /ni.ho.ɴ.go/, [nihõ̞ŋgo̞], [nihõ̞ŋŋo̞]) is an East Asian language spoken by about 125 million speakers, primarily in Japan, where it is the national language. It is a member of the Japonic (or Japanese-Ryukyuan) language family, whose relation to other language groups is debated, particularly to Korean and the Altaic language family. Little is known of the language’s prehistory, or when it first appeared in Japan. 3rd century Chinese documents recorded a few Japanese words, but substantial texts did not appear until the 8th century. During the Heian period (794–1185), Chinese had a considerable influence on the vocabulary and phonology of Old Japanese. Late Middle Japanese (1185–1600) saw changes in features that brought it closer to the modern language, as well the first appearance of European loanwords. The standard dialect moved from the Kansai region to the Edo (modern Tokyo) region in the Early Modern Japanese period (early 17th century–mid-19th century). Following the end in 1853 of Japan’s self-imposed isolation, the flow of loanwords from European languages has increased significantly. English loanwords in particular have become frequent, and Japanese words from English roots have proliferated. Japanese is an agglutinative, mora-timed language with simple phonotactics, a pure vowel system, phonemic vowel and consonant length, and a lexically significant pitch-accent. Word order is normally subject–object–verb with particles marking the grammatical function of words, and sentence structure is topic–comment. Sentence-final particles are used to add emotional or emphatic impact, or make questions. Nouns have no grammatical number, gender or article aspect. Verbs are conjugated, primarily tense and voice, but not person. Japanese equivalents of adjectives are also conjugated. Japanese has a complex system of honorifics with verb forms and vocabulary to indicate the relative status of the speaker, the listener, and persons mentioned.

Japanese has no genealogical relationship with Chinese, but makes extensive use of Chinese characters, or kanji (漢字?), in its writing system and a large portion of its vocabulary is borrowed from Chinese. Along with kanji, the Japanese writing system primarily uses two syllabic (or moraic) scripts, hiragana (ひらがな or 平仮名?) and katakana (カタカナ or 片仮名?). Latin script is used in a limited way, often in the form of rōmaji, and the numeral system uses mostly Arabic alongside traditional Chinese numerals. Japanese was little studied by non-Japanese before the Japanese economic bubble of the 1980s. Since then, along with the spread of Japanese popular culture, the number of students of Japanese has reached the millions.

Reference: Japanese Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 82 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Java (Indonesia)
Official Language in: Central Java, Special Region of Yogyakarta, East Java

Javanese /dʒɑːvəˈniːz/[3] (ꦧꦱꦗꦮ, basa jawa; IPA: [bɔsɔ dʒɔwɔ]) (colloquially known as ꦕꦫꦗꦮ, cara jawa; IPA: [tjɔrɔ dʒɔwɔ]) is the language of the Javanese people from the central and eastern parts of the island of Java, in Indonesia. There are also pockets of Javanese speakers in the northern coast of western Java. It is the native language of more than 98 million people[4] (more than 42% of the total population of Indonesia). Javanese is one of the Austronesian languages, but it is not particularly close to other languages and is difficult to classify. Its closest relatives are the neighbouring languages such as Sundanese, Madurese and Balinese. Most speakers of Javanese also speak Indonesian, the standardized form of Malay spoken in Indonesia, for official and commercial purposes as well as a means to communicate with non-Javanese speaking Indonesians.There are speakers of Javanese in Malaysia (concentrated in the states of Selangor and Johor) and Singapore. Some people of Javanese descent in Suriname (the Dutch colony of Surinam until 1975) speak a creole descendant of the language.

Reference: Javanese Language (Wikipedia)



Native Speakers: 5 million in Algeria (2012)[1], 500,000 elsewhere
Spoken Natively in: Algeria; immigrant communities in France, Belgium, Canada and elsewhere
Official Language in:

Kabyle /kəˈbaɪl/ or Kabylian /kəˈbaɪliən/ (native names: Taqbaylit, [ˈθɐqβæjlɪθ] ( listen), Tamaziɣt Taqbaylit, or Tazwawt) is a Berber language spoken by the Kabyle people in the north and northeast of Algeria. It is spoken primarily in Kabylie, east of Algiers, and in the capital Algiers, but also by various groups near Blida, such as the Beni Salah and Beni Bou Yaqob(extinct?). Estimates about the number of speakers range from 5 million to about 7 million speakers (INALCO) worldwide, the majority in Algeria.

Reference: Kabyle Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 60,000 Kadazan people (1986)
Spoken Natively in: Malaysia
Official Language in: Malaysia

Coastal Kadazan, also known as Kadazan Tangaa’, is dialect of the Kadazan Dusun language primarily spoken in Sabah, Malaysia. It is the primary language spoken by the Kadazan people. The dialect has adopted many loanwords, particularly from other North Borneo indigenous languages and also Malay.The use of the dialect has been declining due to the use of Malay by the Malaysian federal government and by the use of English by British missionaries. The state of Sabah has introduced policies to prevent this decline, which is also happening to other native Sabahan languages. This included the policy of using Kadazan and other indigenous languages in public schools. Efforts have also been done to allow the language to become official in the state. Dusun, including Kadazan, is one of two Austronesian languages which extensively employ the voiced alveolar sibilant fricative /z/ in their native (i.e. non-borrowed) lexicons. The other is Malagasy, spoken on the island of Madagascar thousands of miles away off the coast of Africa.

Reference: Kadazan Dialect (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 3.9 million (2009 census), 600,000 L2 speakers
Spoken Natively in: Kenya, Tanzania
Official Language in:

The Kamba /ˈkæmbə/ language, or Kikamba, is a Bantu language spoken by the Kamba people of Kenya. It is also spoken by 5,000 people in Tanzania (Thaisu). The Kamba language has lexical similarities to other Bantu languages such as Kikuyu, Meru, and Embu. In Kenya, Kamba is generally spoken in 4 out of the forty-seven Counties of Kenya. These counties are Machakos, Kitui, Makueni, and Kwale. The Machakos variety is considered the standard variety of the three dialects and has been used in the translation of the Bible.

Reference: Kamba Language  (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:38 million (2007) 11.4 million as a second language
Spoken Natively in: India – Karnataka, Kasaragod, Kerala, Maharashtra, Andhra pradesh, Goa, Tamil nadu and significant communities in USA, Australia, Singapore, UK, Mauritius, United Arab Emirates.
Official Language in: Karnataka

Kannada (ಕನ್ನಡ) (/’kʌnnəɖɑː/), or Kanarese /kænəˈriːz/, is a language spoken in India predominantly in the state of Karnataka. Kannada, whose native speakers are called Kannadigas (Kannaḍigaru) and number roughly 70 million, is one of the 40 most spoken languages in the world. It is one of the scheduled languages of India and the official and administrative language of the state of Karnataka. The Kannada language is written using the Kannada script, which evolved from the 5th century Kadamba script. Kannada is attested epigraphically from about one and a half millennia, and literary Old Kannada flourished in the 6th century Ganga dynasty and during 9th century Rashtrakuta Dynasty. With an unbroken literary history of over a thousand years, the excellence of Kannada literature continues into the present day. Works of Kannada literature have received eight Jnanpith awards and fifty-six Sahitya Akademi awards. Based on the recommendations of the Committee of Linguistic Experts, appointed by the Ministry of Culture, the Government of India officially recognised Kannada as a classical language. In July 2011, a centre for the study of classical Kannada was established under the aegis of Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL) at Mysore to facilitate research related to the language.

Reference: Kannada Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: (4.2 million cited 1985–2006)
Spoken Natively in: Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon
Official Language in:

Kanuri /kəˈnuːri/ is a dialect continuum spoken by some four million people, as of 1987, in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon, as well as small minorities in southern Libya and by a diaspora in Sudan. It belongs to the Western Saharan subphylum of Nilo-Saharan. Kanuri is the language associated with the Kanem and Bornu empires which dominated the Lake Chad region for a thousand years.

The basic word order of Kanuri sentences is subject–object–verb. It is typologically unusual in simultaneously having postpositions and post-nominal modifiers – for example, “Bintu’s pot” would be expressed as nje Bintu-be, “pot Bintu-of”.

Kanuri has three tones: high, low, and falling. It has an extensive system of consonant weakening (for example, sa- “they” + -buma “have eaten” → za-wuna “they have eaten”. Traditionally a local lingua franca, its usage has declined in recent decades. Most first-language speakers speak Hausa or Arabic as a second language.

Reference: Kanuri Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 583,410 (2010)
Spoken Natively in: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan
Official Language in: Uzbekistan

Karakalpak is a Turkic language spoken by Karakalpaks in Karakalpakstan. It is divided into two dialects: Northeastern Karakalpak, Southeastern Karakalpak. The language is closely related to Kazakh.

Reference: Karakalpak Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: Over 7 million
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in:

The Karen /kəˈrɛn/ or Karenic languages are tonal languages spoken by some seven million Karen people. They are of unclear affiliation within the Sino-Tibetan languages. The Karen languages are written using the Burmese script. The three main branches are Sgaw, Pwo, and Pa’o. Karenni (also known Kayah or Red Karen) and Kayan (also known as Padaung) are related to the Sgaw branch. They are almost unique among the Sino-Tibetan languages in having a subject–verb–object word order; other than Karen, Bai, and the Chinese languages, Sino-Tibetan languages have a subject–object–verb order. This is likely due to influence from neighboring Mon and Tai languages. The Karen languages are also considered unusual for not having any Chinese influence.

Reference: Karen Langauge (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: Over 5.5 million (2001)
Spoken Natively in: Jammu and Kashmir (India) Azad Jammu and Kashmir (Pakistan)
Official Language in: India

Kashmiri (कॉशुर, کأشُر Koshur) is an Indo-Aryan language and it is spoken primarily in the Kashmir Valley, in Jammu and Kashmir. There are approximately 5,527,698 speakers throughout India, according to the Census of 2001. Most of the 105,000[citation needed] speakers or so in Pakistan are émigrés from the Kashmir Valley after the partition of India. They include a few speakers residing in border villages in Neelum District. The Kashmiri language is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India, and is a part of the Sixth Schedule in the constitution of the Jammu and Kashmir. Along with other regional languages mentioned in the Sixth Schedule, as well as Hindi and Urdu, the Kashmiri language is to be developed in the state. Some Kashmiri speakers frequently use Hindi as a second language, though the most frequently used second language is Urdu. Since November 2008, the Kashmiri language has been made a compulsory subject in all schools in the Valley up to the secondary level.

Reference: Kashmiri Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 11.0 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Russia, Iran
Official Language in: Kazakhstan Russia: Altai Republic

Kazakh (also Qazaq and variants, natively Қазақ тілі, Qazaq tili, قازاق ٴتىلى‎; pronounced [qɑˈzɑq tɘˈlɘ]) is a Turkic language which belongs to the Kipchak (or Western Turkic) branch of the Turkic languages, closely related to Nogai and Karakalpak . Kazakh is an agglutinative language, and it employs vowel harmony.

Reference: Kazakh Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers:16 million (2007) 1 million L2 speakers
Spoken Natively in: Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, USA, France, Australia
Official Language in: Cambodia

Khmer (ភាសាខ្មែរ, IPA: [pʰiːəsaː kʰmaːe]; or more formally, ខេមរភាសា, IPA: [kʰeɛmaʔraʔ pʰiːəsaː]), or Cambodian, is the language of the Khmer people and the official language of Cambodia. It is the second most widely spoken Austroasiatic language (after Vietnamese), with speakers in the tens of millions. Khmer has been considerably influenced by Sanskrit and Pali, especially in the royal and religious registers, through the vehicles of Hinduism and Buddhism. It is also the earliest recorded and earliest written language of the Mon–Khmer family, predating Mon and by a significant margin Vietnamese. The Khmer language has influenced, and also been influenced by, Thai, Lao, Vietnamese and Cham, all of which, due to geographical proximity and long-term cultural contact, form a sprachbund in peninsular Southeast Asia. Khmer is primarily an isolating language. There are no inflections, conjugations or case endings. Instead, particles and auxiliary words are used to indicate grammatical relationships. General word order is subject–verb–object. Most words conform to the typical Mon-Khmer pattern, having a “main” syllable preceded by a minor syllable. The Khmer language is written with an abugida known in Khmer as អក្សរខ្មែរ (IPA: [aʔksɑː kʰmaːe]). Khmer differs from neighboring languages such as Thai, Lao and Vietnamese in that it is not a tonal language.

Reference: Khmer Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 6.6 million (2009 census)
Spoken Natively in: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda
Official Language in: Kenya

Kikuyu or Gikuyu (Kikuyu: Gĩkũyũ [ɣēkōjó]) is a language of the Bantu family spoken primarily by the Kikuyu people (Agĩkũyũ) of Kenya. Numbering about 6 million (22% of Kenya’s population), they are the largest ethnic group in Kenya. Kikuyu is spoken in the area between Nyeri and Nairobi. Kikuyu is one of the five languages of the Thagichu subgroup of the Bantu languages, which stretches from Kenya to Tanzania. The Kikuyu people usually identify their lands by the surrounding mountain ranges in Central Kenya which they call Kĩrĩnyaga.

Reference: Kikuyu Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 9.8 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Rwanda, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Official Language in: Rwanda

Kinyarwanda (Kinyarwanda: Ikinyarwanda, IPA: [iciɲɑɾɡwɑːndɑ]), also known as Rwanda (Ruanda) or Rwandan, or in Uganda as Fumbira, is the official language of Rwanda and a dialect of the Rwanda-Rundi language spoken by 12 million people in Burundi and adjacent parts of southern Uganda. (The Kirundi dialect is the official language of neighboring Burundi.) Kinyarwanda is one of the three official languages of Rwanda (along with English and French), and is spoken by almost all of the native population. This contrasts with most modern African states, whose borders were drawn by colonial powers and did not correspond to ethnic boundaries or pre-colonial kingdoms.

Reference: Kinyarwanda Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: (ca. 6.5 million cited 1982–2012) , 5 million L2 speakers in DRC (perhaps Kituba)
Spoken Natively in: Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo
Official Language in: Republic of the Congo

Kongo or Kikongo, is the Bantu language spoken by the Bakongo and Bandundu people living in the tropical forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo and Angola. It is a tonal language and formed the base for Kituba, a Bantu creole and lingua franca throughout much of west central Africa. It was spoken by many of those who were taken from the region and sold as slaves in the Americas. For this reason, while Kongo still is spoken in the above-mentioned countries, creolized forms of the language are found in ritual speech of Afro-American traditional religions, especially in Brazil, Cuba, and Haiti. It is also one of the sources of the Gullah people’s language and the Palenquero creole in Colombia. The vast majority of present-day speakers live in Africa. There are roughly seven million native speakers of Kongo, with perhaps two million more who use it as a second language. Map of the area where Kongo and Kituba as the lingua franca are spokenIt is also the base for a creole used throughout the region: Kituba, also called Kikongo de L’état or Kikongo ya Leta (“Kongo of the state” in French or Kongo), Kituba and Monokituba (also Munukituba). The constitution of the Republic of the Congo uses the name Kitubà, and the one of the Democratic Republic of the Congo uses the term Kikongo, even if Kituba is used in the administration.

Reference: Kongo Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 7.4 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: India
Official Language in: India

Konkani (Kōṅkaṇī) is an Indo-Aryan language belonging to the Indo-European family of languages and is spoken along the western coast of India. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages mentioned in the 8th schedule of the Indian Constitution and the official language of the Indian state of Goa. The first Konkani inscription is dated 1187 A.D. It is a minority language in Karnataka, Maharashtra and northern Kerala (Kasaragod district), Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu.

Konkani is a member of the southern Indo-Aryan language group. It retains elements of Old Indo-Aryan structures and shows similarities with both western and eastern Indo-Aryan languages.

Reference: Konkani Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:76 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: South Korea, North Korea, People’s Republic of China
Official Language in: South Korea, North Korea, China Yanbian, People’s Republic of China

Korean is the official language of South Korea and North Korea as well as one of the two official languages in China’s Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture. Approximately 78 million people speak Korean worldwide. For over a millennium, Korean was written with adapted Chinese characters called hanja, complemented by phonetic systems like hyangchal, gugyeol, and idu. In the 15th century, a national writing system called hangul was commissioned by Sejong the Great, but it only came into widespread use in the 20th century, because of the yangban aristocracy’s preference for hanja. Most historical linguists classify Korean as a language isolate while a few consider it to be in the controversial Altaic language family. The Korean language is agglutinative in its morphology and SOV in its syntax.

Reference: Korean Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 500,000 (1993) 4 million L2 speakers in Sierra Leone (1987)
Spoken Natively in: Sierra Leone
Official Language in:

Sierra Leonean Creole or Krio is the lingua franca and the de facto national language spoken throughout the West African nation of Sierra Leone. Krio is spoken by 97% of Sierra Leone’s population and unites the different ethnic groups in the country, especially in their trade and social interaction with each other. Krio is the primary language of communication among Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad. The language is native to the Sierra Leone Creole people or Krios, (a community of about 300,000 descendants of freed slaves from the West Indies, United States and United Kingdom), and is spoken as a second language by millions of other Sierra Leoneans belonging to the country’s indigenous tribes. English is Sierra Leone’s official language, while Krio, despite its common use throughout the country, has no official status. Due to its similarity to English, it is often mistaken for English slang.

Reference: Krio Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 450,000 (2010 census)
Spoken Natively in: Russia
Official Language in: Russia

Kumyk (къумукъ тил, qumuq til) is a Turkic language, spoken by about 426,212 speakers (the Kumyks) in the Dagestan republic of Russian Federation. Irchi Kazak (Yırçı Qazaq; born 1839) is usually considered to be a founder of Kumyk literature. Kumyk was written using Arabic script until 1928, Latin script from 1928–1938, and Cyrillic script since then. The first regular newspapers and magazines appeared in 1917–18. Currently, the newspaper Ёлдаш (Yoldash, “Companion”), the successor of the Soviet-era Ленин ёлу (Lenin yolu, “Lenin’s Path”), prints around 5,000 copies 3 times a week. It was composed sequentially of several Turkic dialects—those of the Oghur, Oghuz and Kypchak types—, which, in addition, have been interacting with Caucasian languages, namely Avar, Dargwa, Chechen, as well as with Ossetic. The language has also been influenced by Russian during the last century.

Reference: Kumyk Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:21 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Lebanon, Georgia, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Greece, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Finland, USA, Canada, Australia
Official Language in: Iraq: status as official language alongside Arabic. Iran: constitutional status as a regional language Armenia: minority language

Kurdish (Kurdish: Kurdî or کوردی) is a dialect continuum spoken by the Kurds in western Asia. It is part of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian group of Indo-European languages. The Kurdish language is spoken by some 20 million people.[2] According to the CIA World Factbook, 10% of the total population of Iran speaks Kurdish. The CIA factbook estimates the number to be between 25–30 million. Kurdish is not a unified standard language but a discursive construct of languages spoken by ethnic Kurds, referring to a group of speech varieties that are not necessarily mutually intelligible unless there has been considerable prior contact between their speakers. The second official language of Iraq, referred to only as ‘Kurdish’ in political documents, is in fact an academic and standardized version of the Sorani dialect of a branch of languages spoken by Kurds.

The written literary output in Kurdic languages was confined mostly to poetry until the early 20th century, when a general written literature began to be developed. In its written form today “Kurdish” has two regional standards, namely Kurmanji in the northern parts of the geographical region of Kurdistan, and Sorani further east and south. Another distinct language group called Zaza–Gorani is also spoken by several million ethnic Kurds today and is generally also described and referred to as Kurdish, or as Kurdic languages, because of the ethnic association of the communities speaking the languages and dialects. Hewrami, a variation of Gorani, was an important literary language used by the Kurds but was steadily replaced by Sorani in the twentieth century.

Reference: Kurdish Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 2.0 million (2001 census)
Spoken Natively in: India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan
Official Language in:

Kurukh /ˈkʊrʊx/ (also Kurux and Oraon or Uranw; Devanagari: कुड़ुख़) is a Dravidian language spoken by nearly two million Oraon and Kisan tribal peoples of Odisha and surrounding areas of India (Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and West Bengal), as well as by 50,000 in northern Bangladesh, 28,600 a dialect called Dhangar in Nepal, and about 5,000 in Bhutan. It is most closely related to Brahui and Malto (Paharia). The language is marked as being in a “vulnerable” state in UNESCO’s list of endangered languages.

Reference: Kurukh Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:2.9 million (1993)
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in: Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyz or Kirgiz, also Kirghiz, Kyrghiz, Qyrghiz (Кыргызча or Кыргыз тили, قىرعىز تىلى, Kırgızça or Kırgız tili) is a language of the Turkic language family and one of the two official languages of Kyrgyzstan, the other being Russian. It is a member of the Kazakh-Nogai subgroup of the Kypchak languages, and modern day language convergence has resulted in an increasing degree of mutual intelligibility between Kyrgyz and Kazakh. Kyrgyz is spoken by about 4 million people in Kyrgyzstan, China, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and Russia. Kyrgyz was originally written in the Turkic runes, gradually replaced by an Arabic alphabet (in use until 1928 in USSR, still in use in China). Between 1928 and 1940, the Latin-based Uniform Turkic Alphabet was used. In 1940 due to general Soviet policy, a Cyrillic alphabet eventually became common and has remained so to this day, though some Kyrgyz still use the Arabic alphabet. When Kyrgyzstan became independent following the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, there was a popular idea among some Kyrgyz people to make transition to the Latin alphabet (taking in mind a version closer to the Turkish alphabet, not the original alphabet of 1928–1940), but the plan was never implemented.

Reference: Kyrgyz Langauge (Wikipedia)



Native Speakers: 5.22 million (2006) (20 million if Isan speakers are included)
Spoken Natively in: Laos, Thailand, U.S., France, Canada, China, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina (Misiones Province).
Official Language in: Laos

Lao or Laotian (ພາສາລາວ, BGN/PCGN: phasa lao, IPA: [pʰáːsǎː láːw]) is a tonal language of the Tai–Kadai language family. It is the official language of Laos, and also spoken in the northeast of Thailand, where it is usually referred to as the Isan language. Being the primary language of the Lao people, Lao is also an important second language for the multitude of ethnic groups in Laos and in Isan. Lao, like many languages in Laos, is written in the Lao script, which is an abugida script. Although there is no official standard, the Vientiane dialect has become the de facto standard.

Reference: Lao Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in: Latium, Roman Monarchy, Roman Republic, Roman Empire, Medieval and Early modern Europe, Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia (as lingua franca), Vatican City
Official Language in: Holy See

Latin (Listeni/ˈlætən/; Latin: lingua latīna; IPA: [ˈlɪŋɡʷa laˈtiːna]) is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. Along with most European languages, it is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. It originated in the Italian peninsula. Although it is considered a dead language, many students, scholars, and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and it is still taught in some primary and secondary and many post-secondary educational institutions around the world. Latin is still used in the creation of new words in modern languages of many different families, including English, and in biological taxonomy. Latin and its daughter Romance languages are the only surviving languages of the Italic language family. Other languages of the Italic branch are attested in the inscriptions of early Italy, but were assimilated to Latin during the Roman Republic. The extensive use of elements from vernacular speech by the earliest authors and inscriptions of the Roman Republic make it clear that the original, unwritten language of the Roman Monarchy was an only partially deducible colloquial form, the predecessor to Vulgar Latin. By the late Roman Republic, a standard, literate form had arisen from the speech of the educated, now referred to as Classical Latin. Vulgar Latin, by contrast, is the name given to the more rapidly changing colloquial language spoken throughout the empire. With the Roman conquest, Latin spread to many Mediterranean regions, and the dialects spoken in these areas, mixed to various degrees with the autochthonous languages, developed into the modern Romance tongues. Classical Latin slowly changed with the Decline of the Roman Empire, as education and wealth became ever scarcer. The consequent Medieval Latin, influenced by various Germanic and proto-Romance languages until expurgated by Renaissance scholars, was used as the language of international communication, scholarship and science until well into the 18th century, when it began to be supplanted by vernacular languages. Latin is a highly inflected language, with three distinct genders, seven noun cases, four verb conjugations, six tenses, three persons, three moods, two voices, two aspects and two numbers. A dual number (“a pair of”) is present in Archaic Latin. One of the rarer of the seven cases is the locative, only marked in proper place names and a few common nouns. Otherwise the locative function (“place where”) has merged with the ablative. The vocative, a case of direct address, is marked by an ending only in words of the second declension. Otherwise the vocative has merged with the nominative, except that the particle O typically precedes any vocative, marked or not. There are only five fully productive cases; that is, in the few instances of the formation of a distinct locative or vocative, the endings are specific to those words, and cannot be placed on other stems of the declension to produce a locative or vocative. In contrast, the plural nominative ending of the first declension may be used to form any first declension plural. As a result of this case ambiguity, different authors list different numbers of cases: 5, 6 or 7, which may be confusing. Adjectives and adverbs are compared, and the former are inflected according to case, gender, and number. In view of the fact that adjectives are often used for nouns, the two are termed substantives. Although Classical Latin has demonstrative pronouns indicating different degrees of proximity (“this one here”, “that one there”), it does not have articles. Later Romance language articles developed from the demonstrative pronouns; e.g., le and la[6] from ille and illa, su and sa from ipse and ipsa.

Reference: Latin Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 1.5 million
Spoken Natively in: Latvia
Official Language in: Latvia, European Union

Latvian (latviešu valoda) is the official state language of Latvia. It is also sometimes referred to as Lettish. There are about 1.39 million native Latvian speakers in Latvia and about 115 thousand abroad. About 1.9 million or 79% of the population of Latvia speak Latvian. Of those about 1,165,000 use it as the primary language at home. The use of the Latvian language in various areas of social life in Latvia is increasing. Latvian is a Baltic language and is most closely related to Lithuanian, although the two are not mutually intelligible. Latvian first appeared in Western print in the mid-16th century with the reproduction of the Lord’s Prayer in Latvian in Sebastian Münster’s Cosmographia Universalis, in Latin script.

Reference: Latvian Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 390,000 (2010)
Spoken Natively in: Luxembourg, Belgium (Arelerland, and region of Saint-Vith), France, Germany
Official Language in: Luxembourg

Luxembourgish, Luxemburgish (/ˈlʌksəmˌbɜːrɡᵻʃ/) or Letzeburgesch (/ˌlɛtsᵊbɜːrˈɡɛʃ/ or /ˈlɛtsᵊˌbɜːrɡᵻʃ/) (Luxembourgish: Lëtzebuergesch) is a West Germanic language that is spoken mainly in Luxembourg. Worldwide, about 390,000 people speak Luxembourgish. While it can be considered a standardized variety (i.e., a dialect with a written form) of German, its official use in the state of Luxembourg and the existence of a separate regulatory body[5] removed Luxembourgish, at least in part, from the domain of the Dachsprache Standard German. Despite the lack of a sharp boundary between Luxembourgish and the neighboring German dialects, this has led several linguists (from Luxembourg as well as Germany) to regard it as a separate, yet closely related language.

Reference: Letzeburgesch Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 5.5 million (2007) 7 million second-language speakers in DRC, including Bangala (1999); unknown number R. Congo
Spoken Natively in: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Angola
Official Language in: None. National language of Democratic Republic of the Congo recognized in Republic of the Congo


Lingala (Ngala) 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, as well as to some degree in Angola and the Central African Republic. It has over 10 million speakers.

Reference: Lingala Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 3.2 million (1998)
Spoken Natively in: Lithuania
Official Language in: Lithuania, European Union

Lithuanian (lietuvių kalba) is the official state language of Lithuania and is recognized as one of the official languages of the European Union. There are about 2.9 million native Lithuanian speakers in Lithuania and about 200,000 abroad. Lithuanian is a Baltic language, closely related to Latvian, although they are not mutually intelligible. It is written in a Latin alphabet. The Lithuanian language is believed to be the most conservative living Indo-European language, retaining many features of Proto-Indo-European now lost in other Indo-European languages.

Reference: Lithuanian Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in: Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Official Language in:

The dozen Luo, Lwo or Lwoian languages are spoken by the Luo peoples in an area ranging from southern Sudan to southern Kenya, with Dholuo extending into northern Tanzania and Alur into the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They form one of the two branches of the Western Nilotic family, the other being Dinka–Nuer. The Southern Luo varieties are mutually intelligible, and apart from ethnic identity they might be considered a single language. The time depth of the division of the Luo languages is moderate, perhaps close to two millennia. The division within the Southern Luo dialect cluster is considerably less deep, perhaps five to eight centuries, reflecting migrations due to the impact of the Islamization of Sudan)

Reference: Luo Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 320,000 (1998)
Spoken Natively in: Luxembourg, Belgium, France, Germany
Official Language in: Luxembourg

Luxembourgish (from Lëtzebuergesch; French: Luxembourgeois, German: Luxemburgisch, Dutch: Luxemburgs, Walloon: Lussimbordjwès) is a High German language that is spoken mainly in Luxembourg. About 390,000 people worldwide speak Luxembourgish.

Reference: Luxembourgish Language (Wikipedia)


Maay Maay

Native Speakers: 1.9 million in Somalia (2006)
Spoken Natively in: Somalia; significant communities in Ethopia, kenya, North Amreica, and Yemen
Official Language in: Somalia

Maay Maay (also known as Af-Maay, Af-Maymay, Rahanween, Rahanweyn, or simply Maay and sometimes spelled Mai Mai) is a member of the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic family and is written using the Latin script. It is spoken mostly in Somalia and adjacent parts of Ethiopia and Kenya. Its speakers are known as Sab Somalis. The center of the language is around Baidoa.

Reference:  Maay Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 1.6– 3.0 million (1985–1998)
Spoken Natively in: Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, Macedonian diaspora
Official Language in: Republic of Macedonia

Macedonian (македонски јазик, makedonski jazik, pronounced [maˈkɛdɔnski ˈjazik]) is a South Slavic language, spoken as a first language by approximately 2–3 million people principally in the region of Macedonia and the Macedonian diaspora. It is the official language of the Republic of Macedonia and an official minority language in parts of Albania, Romania and Serbia. Standard Macedonian was implemented as the official language of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia in 1945 and has since developed a thriving literary tradition. Most of the codification was formalized during the same period. Macedonian dialects form a continuum with Bulgarian dialects; together in turn they form a broader continuum with Serbo-Croatian through the transitional Torlakian dialects. The name of the Macedonian language is a matter of political controversy in Greece as is its distinctiveness in Bulgaria.

Reference: Macedonian Language (Wikipedia).

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Native Speakers: 15 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Island of Madura, Sapudi Islands, northern coastal area of eastern Java, Singapore, Malaysia (as Boyanese)
Official Language in:

Madurese is a language of the Madurese people of Madura Island and eastern Java, Indonesia; it is also spoken on the neighbouring small Kangean Islands and Sapudi Islands, as well as from migrants to other parts of Indonesia, namely the Tapal Kuda (“horseshoe”) area of neighbouring Java (comprising Pasuruan, Surabaya, Malang to Banyuwangi), the Masalembu Islands, and even some on Kalimantan. The Kangean dialect may be a separate language. It was traditionally written in the Javanese script, but the Latin script and the Pegon script (based on Arabic script) is now more commonly used. The number of speakers, though shrinking, is estimated to be 8–13 million, making it one of the most widely spoken language in the country. A variant of Madurese that is Bawean is also spoken by Baweanese (or Boyan) descendants in Malaysia and Singapore. Madurese is a Malayo-Sumbawan language of the Malayo-Polynesian language family, a branch of the larger Austronesian language family. Thus, despite apparent geographic spread, Madurese is more related to Balinese, Malay, Sasak, and Sundanese, than it is to Javanese, the language right next door. Links between Bali–Sasak languages and Madurese are more evident with the “low” form (common form). There are some common words between Madurese and Filipino languages as well as between Madurese and Banjar (a Malayic language).

Reference: Madurese Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 14 million (2001 census) Census results conflate some speakers with Hindi.
Spoken Natively in: India and Nepal
Official Language in:

The Magahi language, also known as Magadhi, is a language spoken in parts of India and Nepal. Magadhi Prakrit was the ancestor of Magahi, from which the latter’s name derives. Magahi has approximately 18 million speakers.

It has a very rich and old tradition of folk songs and stories. It is spoken in eight districts in Bihar, three in Jharkhand, and has some speakers in Malda, West Bengal. Though the number of speakers in Magahi is large, it has not been constitutionally recognised in India. In Bihar Hindi is the language used for educational and official matters. Magadhi was legally absorbed under Hindi in the 1961 Census

Reference: Magahi Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 30 million (2000–2001)
Spoken Natively in: India and Nepal
Official Language in: Nepal

Maithili (/ˈmaɪtᵻli/;[3] Maithilī) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken in Nepal and northern India by 34.7 million people as of 2000, of which 2.8 million were resident in Nepal. It is written in the Devanagari script.[4] In the past, Maithili was written primarily in Mithilakshar.[5] Less commonly, it was written with a Maithili variant of Kaithi, a script used to transcribe other neighboring languages such as Bhojpuri,Magahi, and Awadhi. In 2002, Maithili was included in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, which allows it to be used in education, government, and other official contexts.[6] It is recognized as one of the largest languages in India and is the second most widely used language in Nepal. In 2007, Maithili was included in the Interim Constitution of Nepal 2063, Part 1, Section 5 as a language of Nepal.

Reference: Maithili Lagnauge (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 2.1 million (2000 Census)
Spoken Natively in: Indonesia
Official Language in:

Makassarese (sometimes spelled Makasar, Makassar, or Macassar) is a language used by the Makassarese people in South Sulawesi in Indonesia. It is a member of the South Sulawesi group of the Austronesian language family, and thus closely related to, among others, Buginese. Although Makassarese is now often written in Latin script, it is still widely written in its own distinctive script, also called Lontara, which once was used also to write important documents in Bugis and Mandar, two related languages from Sulawesi. The Makassar symbols are written using mostly straight oblique lines and dots. In spite of its quite distinctive appearance, it is derived from the ancient Brahmi scripts of India. Like other descendants of that script, each consonant has an inherent vowel “a”, which is not marked. Other vowels can be indicated by adding one of five diacritics above, below, or on either side of each consonant.

Reference: Makasar Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 18 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Madagascar, Comoros, Mayotte
Official Language in: Madagascar

Malagasy [ˌmalaˈɡasʲ] is the national language of Madagascar. It is a member of the Austronesian family of languages. Most people in Madagascar speak it as a first language as do some people of Malagasy descent elsewhere.

Reference: Malagasy Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 77 million (2007) Total: more than 215 million
Spoken Natively in: Indonesia (as Indonesian), Malaysia (as Malaysian) Brunei, Singapore, Thailand (as Bahasa Jawi), East Timor (as Indonesian), Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands (de jure)
Official Language in: Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Cocos (Keeling) Islands(de jure)

Malay (məˈleɪ/; Bahasa Melayu; Jawi script: بهاس ملايو ) is a major language of the Austronesian family. It is the national language of Indonesia (as Indonesian), Malaysia (also known as Malaysian), and Brunei, and it is one of four official languages of Singapore. It is spoken natively by 40 million people across the Malacca Strait, including the coasts of the Malay Peninsula of Malaysia and the eastern coast of Sumatra in Indonesia, and has been established as a native language of part of western coastal Sarawak and West Kalimantan in Borneo. The total number of speakers of the language is more than 215 million. As the Bahasa Kebangsaan or Bahasa Nasional (National Language) of several states, Standard Malay has various official names. In Singapore and Brunei it is called Bahasa Melayu (Malay language); in Malaysia, Bahasa Malaysia (Malaysian language); and in Indonesia, Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian language) and is designated the Bahasa Persatuan/Pemersatu (“unifying language/lingua franca”). However, in areas of central to southern Sumatra where the language is indigenous, Indonesians refer to it as Bahasa Melayu and consider it one of their regional languages. Standard Malay, also called Court Malay, was the literary standard of the pre-colonial Malacca and Johor Sultanates, and so the language is sometimes called Malacca, Johor, or Riau Malay (or various combinations of those names) to distinguish it from the various other Malayan languages, though it has no connection to the Malay dialect of the Riau Islands. According to Ethnologue 16, several of the Malayan varieties they currently list as separate languages, including the Orang Asli varieties of Peninsular Malay, are so closely related to standard Malay that they may prove to be dialects. (These are listed with question marks in the table at right.) There are also several Malay-based creole languages which are based on a lingua franca derived from Classical Malay, as well as Makassar Malay, which appears to be a mixed language.

Reference: Malay Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 38 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Primarily in the Indian state of Kerala
Official Language in: Indian states: Kerala (State), Lakshadweep (Territory), Pondicherry (Territory)

Malayalam (English pronunciation: /mæləˈjɑːləm/;മലയാളം, malayāḷam ?, IPA: [mɐləjaːɭəm]), is a language spoken in India predominantly in the state of Kerala. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India with official language status in the state of Kerala and the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry. It belongs to the Dravidian family of languages, and was spoken approximately by 33 million people according to the 2001 census. Malayalam is also spoken in the neighboring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka; the Nilgiris, Kanyakumari and Coimbatore districts of Tamil Nadu, and the Dakshina Kannada, Mangalore and Kodagu districts of Karnataka. Malayalam most likely originated from Middle Tamil (Sen-Tamil-Malayalam) in the 6th century. An alternative theory proposes a split in even more ancient times. Malayalam incorporated many elements from Sanskrit through the ages and today over eighty percent of the vocabulary of Malayalam in scholarly usage is from Sanskrit. Before Malayalam came into being, Old Tamil was used in literature and courts of a region called Tamilakam, including present day Kerala state, a famous example being Silappatikaram. Silappatikaram was written by Chera prince Ilango Adigal from Cochin, and is considered a classic in Sangam literature. Modern Malayalam still preserves many words from the ancient Tamil vocabulary of Sangam literature. The earliest script used to write Malayalam was the Vatteluttu script, and later the Kolezhuttu, which derived from it. As Malayalam began to freely borrow words as well as the rules of grammar from Sanskrit, Grantha script was adopted for writing and came to be known as Arya Ezhuttu. This developed into the modern Malayalam script. Many medieval liturgical texts were written in an admixture of Sanskrit and early Malayalam, called Manipravalam. The oldest literary work in Malayalam, distinct from the Tamil tradition, is dated from between the 9th and 11th centuries. Due to its lineage deriving from both Sanskrit and Tamil, the Malayalam alphabet has the largest number of letters among the Indian languages. Malayalam script includes letters capable of representing all the sounds of Sanskrit and all Dravidian languages.

Reference: Malayalam Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: (400,000 cited 1975)
Spoken Natively in: Malta
Official Language in: Malta, European Union

Maltese (Malti) is the national language of Malta, and a co-official language of the country alongside English, while also serving as an official language of the European Union, the only Semitic language so distinguished. Maltese is descended from Siculo-Arabic (the Arabic dialect that developed in Sicily, and later in Malta, between the end of the ninth century and the end of the thirteenth century). About half of the vocabulary is borrowed from standard Italian and Sicilian; English words make up between 6% and 20% of the Maltese vocabulary, according to different estimates (see below). It is the only Semitic language written in the Latin script, in its standard form, as well as the only Semitic language written and read from left to right.

Reference: Maltese Langauge 

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Native Speakers: 1.3 million (2006)
Spoken Natively in: Senegal, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau
Official Language in:

The Mandinka language (Mandi’nka kango), or Mandingo, is a Mandé language spoken by the Mandinka people of the Casamance region of Senegal, the Gambia, and northern Guinea-Bissau. It is the principal language of the Gambia. Mandinka belongs to the Manding branch of Mandé, and is thus similar to Bambara and Maninka/Malinké. In a majority of areas, it is tonal language with two tones: low and high, although the particular variety spoken in the Gambia and Senegal borders on a pitch accent due to its proximity with non-tonal neighboring languages like Wolof.

Reference: Mandinka Language (Wikipedia)

Manx Gaelic

Native Speakers: Extinct as a first language in 1974; subsequently revived and now with about a hundred competent speakers, including a small number of children who are new native speakers, and 1,823 people (2.27% de facto population) in the Isle of Man professing some knowledge of the language (2011)
Spoken Natively in: Isle of Man
Official Language in: Isle of Man

Manx Gaelic (native name Gaelg or Gailck, pronounced [ɡilk] or [ɡilɡ]), also known as Manx Gaelic, and as the Manks language, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, historically spoken by the Manx people. Only a small minority of the Isle of Man’s population is fluent in the language, but a larger minority has some knowledge of it. It is widely considered to be an important part of the island’s culture and heritage. The last native speaker, Ned Maddrell, died in 1974. However in recent years the language has been the subject of revival efforts. Mooinjer Veggey [muɲdʒer veɣə], a Manx medium playgroup, was succeeded by the Bunscoill Ghaelgagh [bʊn-skolʲ ɣɪlɡax], a primary school for 4- to 11-year-olds in St John’s. In recent years, despite the small number of speakers, the language has become more visible on the island, with increased signage and radio broadcasts. The revival of Manx has been aided by the fact that the language was well recorded: for example the Bible was translated into Manx, and a number of audio recordings were made of native speakers.

Reference: Manx Gaelic Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 30,000 (2001) 150,000 conversant (2013 census)
Spoken Natively in: New Zealand
Official Language in: New Zealand

Maori or Māori (/ˈmaʊəri/; Māori pronunciation: [ˈmaːɔɾi]) is an Eastern Polynesian language spoken by the Māori people, the indigenous population of New Zealand. Since 1987, it has been one of New Zealand’s official languages. It is closely related to Cook Islands Māori, Tuamotuan, and Tahitian. According to a 2001 survey on the health of the Māori language, the number of very fluent adult speakers was about 9% of the Māori population, or 30,000 adults. A national census undertaken in 2006 says that about 4% of the New Zealand population, or 23.7% of the Maori population could hold a conversation in Maori about everyday things.

Reference: Maori Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 60,000 (1991) 157,000 New Zealand residents claim they can converse in Māori about everyday things (2006 census)
Spoken Natively in: New Zealand
Official Language in: New Zealand

Māori or Te Reo Māori (pronounced [ˈmaːɔɾi, tɛ ˈɾɛɔ ˈmaːɔɾi]), commonly Te Reo (“The language”), is the language of the indigenous population of New Zealand, the Māori. It has the status of an official language in New Zealand. Linguists classify it within the Eastern Polynesian languages as being closely related to Cook Islands Māori, Tuamotuan, Rapanui and Tahitian; somewhat less closely to Hawaiian and Marquesan; and more distantly to the languages of Western Polynesia, including Samoan, Tokelauan, Niuean and Tongan. According to a 2001 survey on the health of the Māori Language, the number of very fluent adult speakers was about 9% of the Māori population, or 29,000 adults.

Reference: Māori Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 73 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: India
Official Language in: India (State Maharashtra, Union territories of Daman-Diu) and Dadra Nagar Haveli

Marathi (मराठी Marāṭhī [məˈɾaʈʰi]) is a southern Indo-Aryan language spoken by the Marathi people. It is the official language of Maharashtra and Goa and is one of the 23 official languages of India. It is the 19th most spoken language in the world. There were 72 million speakers in 2001. Marathi has the fourth largest number of native speakers in India Marathi has some of the oldest literature of all modern Indo-European, Indic languages, dating from about 1000 AD. The major dialects of Marathi are called Standard Marathi and Warhadi Marathi. There are a few other sub-dialects like Ahirani, Dangi, Vadvali, Samavedi, Khandeshi, and Malwani. Standard Marathi is the official language of the State of Maharashtra.

Reference: Marathi Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: (55,000 cited 1979)
Spoken Natively in: Marshall Islands
Official Language in: Marshall Islands

The Marshallese language (Marshallese: new orthography Kajin M̧ajeļ or old orthography Kajin Majōl, [kɑ͡æzʲinʲ(e͡ɤ) mˠɑɑ̯zʲɛ͡ʌɫ]), also known as Ebon, is a Malayo-Polynesian language spoken in the Marshall Islands by about 44,000 people, and the principal language of the country. There are two major dialects: Rālik (western) and Ratak (eastern).

Reference: Marshallese Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 22 million (2001 census – 2007)
Spoken Natively in: India, Migrant communities in Pakistan and Nepal
Official Language in:

Marwari (Mārwāṛī मारवाड़ी; also rendered Marwadi, Marvadi) is a Rajasthani language spoken in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Marwari is also found in the neighboring state of Gujarat and Haryana and in Eastern Pakistan. With some 20 million or so speakers (ca. 2001), it is one of the largest varieties of Rajasthani. Most speakers live in Rajasthan, with a quarter million in Sindh and a tenth that number in Nepal. There are two dozen dialects of Marwari. Marwari is popularly written in Devanagari script, as is Hindi, Marathi, Nepali and Sanskrit; although it was historically written in Mahajani. Marwari currently has no official status as a language of education and government. There has been a push in the recent past for the national government to recognize this language and give it a scheduled status. The state of Rajasthan recognizes Rajasthani as a language. In Pakistan, there are two varieties of Marwari. They may or may not be close enough to Indian Marwari to be considered the same language. Marwari speakers are concentrated in Sindh. In Pakistan, Marwari is generally written using a modified version of the Arabic Alphabet. Marwari is still spoken widely in and around Bikaner. There are ongoing efforts to identify and classify this language cluster and the language differences.

Reference: Marwari Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in:

Mayan languages (alternatively: the languages of the Mayas) form a language family spoken in Mesoamerica and northern Central America. Mayan languages are spoken by at least 6 million indigenous Maya, primarily in Guatemala, Mexico, Belize and Honduras. In 1996, Guatemala formally recognized 21 Mayan languages by name, and Mexico recognizes eight more. The Mayan language family is one of the best documented and most studied in the Americas. Modern Mayan languages descend from Proto-Mayan, a language thought to have been spoken at least 5,000 years ago; it has been partially reconstructed using the comparative method. Mayan languages form part of the Mesoamerican Linguistic Area, an area of linguistic convergence developed throughout millennia of interaction between the peoples of Mesoamerica. All Mayan languages display the basic diagnostic traits of this linguistic area. For example, all use relational nouns instead of prepositions to indicate spatial relationships. They also possess grammatical and typological features that set them apart from other languages of Mesoamerica, such as the use of ergativity in the grammatical treatment of verbs and their subjects and objects, specific inflectional categories on verbs, and a special word class of “positionals” which is typical of all Mayan languages. During the pre-Columbian era of Mesoamerican history, some Mayan languages were written in the Mayan hieroglyphic script. Its use was particularly widespread during the Classic period of Maya civilization (c. 250–900 AD). The surviving corpus of over 10,000 known individual Maya inscriptions on buildings, monuments, pottery and bark-paper codices, combined with the rich postcolonial literature in Mayan languages written in the Latin script, provides a basis for the modern understanding of pre-Columbian history unparalleled in the Americas.

Reference: Mayan Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 1.5 million (2006)
Spoken Natively in: Sierra Leone, Liberia
Official Language in:

Mende /ˈmɛndi/ (Mɛnde yia) is a major language of Sierra Leone, with some speakers in neighboring Liberia. It is spoken by the Mende people and by otherethnic groups as a regional lingua franca in southern Sierra Leone.

Mende is a tonal language belonging to the Mande branch of the Niger–Congo language family. Early systematic descriptions of Mende were by F. W. Migeod and Kenneth Crosby.

 Reference: Mende Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 5.5 million in Indonesia (2007), ethnic population of 500,000 in Malaysia (2004)
Spoken Natively in: Indonesia
Official Language in: Indonesia

Minangkabau (autonym: Baso Minang(kabau); Indonesian: Bahasa Minangkabau) is an Austronesian language spoken by the Minangkabau of West Sumatra, the western part of Riau, South Aceh Regency, the northern part of Bengkulu and Jambi, also in several cities throughout Indonesia by migrated Minangkabau. The language is also a lingua franca along the western coastal region of the province of North Sumatra, and is even used in parts of Aceh, where the language is called Aneuk Jamee. It is also spoken in some parts of Malaysia, especially Negeri Sembilan. Due to great grammatical similarities between the Minangkabau language and Malay, there is some controversy regarding the relationship between the two. Some see Minangkabau as a dialect of Malay, while others think of Minangkabau as a proper (Malay) language.

Reference: Minangkabau Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in:

Moldovan (also Moldavian; limba moldovenească or лимба молдовеняскэ in Moldovan Cyrillic) is one of the names of the Romanian language as spoken in the Republic of Moldova, where it is an official language. The variety of Romanian spoken in Moldova is the Moldavian subdialect, which is also spoken in northeastern Romania. The two countries share the same literary standard. Written in Cyrillic, Moldovan is also the name of one of three official languages of the breakaway Moldovan territory of Transnistria. The Constitution of Moldova (Title I, Article 13) states that the Moldovan language is the official language of the country. In the Declaration of Independence of Moldova, the state language is called Romanian. The 1989 Language Law that proclaimed it the state language of Moldova, speaks in the preamble of a “Moldovan-Romanian linguistic identity”. After political debate over the issue became inflamed again in the early 2000s, a group of Romanian linguists adopted a resolution stating that promotion of the notion of Moldovan language is an anti-scientific campaign. The term Moldavian is also used to refer collectively to the north-eastern varieties of spoken Romanian, spread approximately within the territory of the former Principality of Moldavia (now split between Moldova and Romania). The Moldavian variety is considered one of the five major spoken varieties of Romanian, all five being written identically. There is no particular linguistic break at the Prut River, the border between Romania and Moldova. In Moldova’s schools, the discipline about the state language is called “Romanian language”, though former Moldovan president Vladimir Voronin asked for it to be changed into “Moldovan language”. The standard alphabet is Latin (currently official in the Republic of Moldova). Before 1989, two versions of Cyrillic had been used: the Moldovan Cyrillic alphabet in 1924–1932 and 1938–89, and the historical Romanian Cyrillic alphabet until 1918. As of 2010, the former remains in use only in Transnistria.

Reference: Moldovan Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 5.7 million (2005)
Spoken Natively in: Mongolia, People’s Republic of China
Official Language in: Mongolia China Inner Mongolia, People’s Republic of China

Mongolian language (in Mongolian script: Monggol kele.svg, Mongɣol kele; in Mongolian Cyrillic: Монгол хэл, Mongol khel) is the official language of Mongolia and the best-known member of the Mongolic language family. The number of speakers across all its dialects may be 5.2 million, including the vast majority of the residents of Mongolia and many of the Mongolian residents of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region of China. In Mongolia, the Khalkha dialect, written in Cyrillic, is predominant, while in Inner Mongolia, the language is more dialectally diverse and is written in the traditional Mongolian script. In the discussion of grammar to follow, the variety of Mongolian treated is Standard Khalkha Mongolian (i.e., the standard written language as formalized in the writing conventions and in the school grammar), but much of what is to be said is also valid for vernacular (spoken) Khalkha and other Mongolian dialects, especially Chakhar. Mongolian has vowel harmony and a complex syllabic structure for a Mongolic language that allows clusters of up to three consonants syllable-finally. It is a typical agglutinative language that relies on suffix chains in the verbal and nominal domains. While there is a basic word order, subject–object–predicate, ordering among noun phrases is relatively free, so grammatical roles are indicated by a system of about eight grammatical cases. There are five voices. Verbs are marked for voice, aspect, tense, and epistemic modality/evidentiality. In sentence linking, a special role is played by converbs. Modern Mongolian evolved from “Middle Mongol”, the language spoken in the Mongol Empire of the 13th and 14th centuries. In the transition, a major shift in the vowel harmony paradigm occurred, long vowels developed, the case system was slightly reformed, and the verbal system was restructured.

Reference: Mongolian Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in: Montenegro
Official Language in: Montenegro

Montenegrin (Crnogorski jezik, Црногорски језик) is an incipient standardized register of the Serbo-Croatian language as spoken by Montenegrins used as the official language of Montenegro. The same subdialect of Shtokavian is also the basis of standard Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian, so all are mutually intelligible and are a single language by that criterion despite being distinct national standards.The idea of a Montenegrin standard language separate from Serbian appeared in 1990s and gained traction in 2000s via proponents of Montenegrin independence. Montenegrin became the official language of Montenegro with the ratification of a new constitution on 22 October 2007. The Montenegrin standard is still emerging. Its orthography was established 10 July 2009 with the addition of two letters to the alphabet, though grammar and a school curriculum are yet to be approved.

Reference: Montenegrin Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 7.6 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Burkina Faso, Benin, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Mali, Togo
Official Language in:

Mossi language, is one of two official regional languages of Burkina Faso, closely related to the Frafra language spoken just across the border in the northern half of Ghana and less-closely to Dagbani and Mampruli further south. It is the language of the Mossi people, spoken by approximately 5 million people in Burkina Faso, plus another 60,000+ in Mali and Togo. While Mooré is often referred to as “the Mossi language,” many Burkinabé of other ethnic groups also speak Mooré, as it is the lingua franca in rural regions where knowledge of French is very limited.

Reference: Mossi Language (Wikipedia)



Native Speakers: 1.45 million (2000)
Spoken Natively in: Mexico
Official Language in: Mexico

Nahuatl (Nahuatl pronunciation: [ˈnaːwatɬ], with stress on the first syllable) is a language of the Nahuan branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family. It is spoken by an estimated 1.5 million Nahua people, most of whom live in Central Mexico. All Nahuan languages are indigenous to Mesoamerica. Nahuatl has been spoken in Central Mexico since at least the 7th century AD. It was the language of the Aztecs, who dominated what is now central Mexico during the Late Postclassic period of Mesoamerican history. During the centuries preceding the Spanish conquest of Mexico, the Aztec Empire had expanded to incorporate most of Mexico, and its influence caused the variety of Nahuatl spoken by the residents of Tenochtitlan becoming a prestige language in Mesoamerica. At the conquest, with the introduction of the Latin alphabet, Nahuatl also became a literary language and many chronicles, grammars, works of poetry, administrative documents and codices were written in the 16th and 17th centuries.This early literary language based on the Tenochtitlan variety has been labeled Classical Nahuatl and is among the most studied and best documented languages of the Americas. Today Nahuatl varieties are spoken in scattered communities mostly in rural areas throughout central Mexico. There are considerable differences among varieties, and some are mutually unintelligible. They have all been subject to varying degrees of influence from Spanish. No modern Nahuatl languages are identical to Classical Nahuatl, but those spoken in and around the Valley of Mexico are generally more closely related to it than those on the periphery. Under Mexico’s Ley General de Derechos Lingüísticos de los Pueblos Indígenas (“General Law on the Linguistic Rights of Indigenous Peoples”) promulgated in 2003, Nahuatl and the other 63 indigenous languages of Mexico are recognized as lenguas nacionales (“national languages”) in the regions where they are spoken, enjoying the same status as Spanish within their region. Nahuatl is a language with a complex morphology characterized by polysynthesis and agglutination (agglutinative language), allowing the construction of long words with complex meanings out of several stems and affixes. Through centuries of coexistence with the other indigenous Mesoamerican languages, Nahuatl has absorbed many influences, coming to form part of the Mesoamerican Linguistic Area. Many words from Nahuatl have been borrowed into Spanish, and since diffused into hundreds of other languages. Most of these loanwords denote things indigenous to central Mexico which the Spanish heard mentioned for the first time by their Nahuatl names. English words of Nahuatl origin include “avocado”, “chayote”, “chili”, “chocolate”, “atlatl”, “coyote”, “axolotl” and “tomato”.

Reference: Náhuatl Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: Northern Ndebele: 2-3 million (2001) Southern Ndebele: 640,000 (2006) Total: 2 million
Spoken Natively in: Northern Ndebele: Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa Southern Ndebele: South Africa
Official Language in: South Africa

Ndebele (There are at least two languages commonly called Ndebele) The Northern Ndebele language, isiNdebele, Sindebele, or Ndebele is an African language belonging to the Nguni group of Bantu languages, and spoken by the Ndebele or Matabele people of Zimbabwe.isiNdebele is related to the Zulu language spoken in South Africa. This is because the Ndebele people of Zimbabwe descend from followers of the Zulu leader Mzilikazi, who left KwaZulu in the early nineteenth century during the Mfecane. The Northern and Southern Ndebele languages are not variants of the same language; though they both fall in the Nguni group of Bantu languages, Northern Ndebele is essentially a dialect of Zulu, and the older Southern Ndebele language falls within a different subgroup. The shared name is due to contact between Mzilikazi’s people and the original Ndebele, through whose territory they crossed during the Mfecane. The Southern Ndebele language (isiNdebele or Nrebele in Southern Ndebele) is an African language belonging to the Nguni group of Bantu languages, and spoken by the amaNdebele (the Ndebele people of South Africa). There is also another, separate dialect called Northern Ndebele or Matabele spoken in Zimbabwe and Botswana – see Sindebele language. The Zimbabwean and South African Ndebele dialect is closer to Zulu than other Nguni dialects.

Reference: Ndebele Language (Wikipedia)

Ndebele (North)

Native Speakers: 2,000,000
Spoken Natively in: Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa
Official Language in: Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwean Ndebele language, also called Northern Ndebele, isiNdebele, Sindebele, or Ndebele is an African language belonging to the Nguni group of Bantu languages, and spoken by the Ndebele or Matabele people of Zimbabwe.

isiNdebele is related to the Zulu language spoken in South Africa. This is because the Ndebele people of Zimbabwe descend from followers of the Zulu leader Mzilikazi, who left KwaZulu in the early 19th century during the Mfecane.

Zimbabwean Ndebele and Transvaal language are not variants of the same language. They both fall in the Nguni group of Bantu languages, but Zimbabwean Ndebele is essentially a dialect of Zulu, and Transvaal Ndebele is within a different subgroup. The shared name is by contact between Mzilikazi’s people and the original Ndebele through whose territory they crossed during the Mfecane.

Reference: Ndebele North Language (Wikipedia)

Ndebele (South)

Native Speakers: 1,000,000
Spoken Natively in: South Africa
Official Language in: South Africa

The Transvaal Ndebele language (Southern Ndebele, isiNdebele or Nrebele) is an African language belonging to the Nguni group of Bantu languages, and spoken by the amaNdebele (the Ndebele people of South Africa).

There is also another language called Zimbabwean Ndebele, or Matabele, spoken in Zimbabwe, which is closer to Zulu than other Nguni dialects.

Reference: Southern Ndebele Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 17 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Nepal, India, Bhutan
Official Language in: Nepal India (in Sikkim and Darjeeling district, West Bengal)

Nepali or Nepalese (नेपाली) is a language in the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family. It is the official language and de facto lingua franca of Nepal and is also spoken in Bhutan, parts of India and parts of Myanmar (Burma). In India, it is one of the country’s 23 official languages: Nepali has official language status in the formerly independent state of Sikkim and in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district. The influence of the Nepali language can also be seen in Bhutan and some parts of Burma. Nepali developed in proximity to a number of Tibeto-Burman languages, most notably Kiranti and Gurung, and shows Tibeto-Burman influences. Historically, the language was first called Khaskura (language of the khas ‘rice farmers’), then Gorkhali or Gurkhali (language of the Gurkha) before the term Nepali was taken from Nepal Bhasa. Other names include Parbatiya (“mountain language”, identified with the Parbatiya people of Nepal) and Lhotshammikha (the “southern language” of the Lhotshampa people of Bhutan). The name ‘Nepali’ is ambiguous, as it was originally a pronunciation of Nepal Bhasa, the Tibeto-Burman language of the capital Kathmandu.

Reference: Nepali Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 860,000 (2011 census)
Spoken Natively in: Nepal
Official Language in: Sikkim in India

Newar or Newari also known as Nepal Bhasa (नेपाल भाषा), is spoken as a native language by the Newar people, the indigenous inhabitants of Nepal Mandala, which consists of the Kathmandu Valley and surrounding regions. Outside Nepal, Newar is spoken in India, particularly in Sikkim, where it is one of eleven official languages.

Although “Nepal Bhasa” literally means “Nepalese language”, the language is not the same as Nepali (Nepali: नेपाली), the country’s current official language. The two languages belong to different language families (Sino-Tibetan and Indo-Aryan, respectively), but centuries of contact have resulted in a significant body of shared vocabulary.

Reference: Newar Language (Wikipedia)

Nigerian Pidgin

Native Speakers: undated figure of 30 million L1 speakers
Spoken Natively in: Nigeria
Official Language in: Sikkim in India

Nigerian Pidgin is an English-based pidgin and creole language spoken as a lingua franca across Nigeria. The language is commonly referred to as “Pidgin” or “Brokin”. It is distinguished from other creole languages since most speakers are not true native speakers although many children learn it at an early age. It can be spoken as a pidgin, a creole, or a decreolised acrolect by different speakers, who may switch between these forms depending on the social setting. Variations of Pidgin are also spoken across West Africa, in countries such as Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana and Cameroon. Pidgin English, despite its common use throughout the country, has no official status.

Reference:  Nigerian Pidgin Language (Wikipedia)

Northern Sotho

Native Speakers: 4.1 million (2006)
Spoken Natively in: South Africa
Official Language in: South Africa

Northern Sotho is a designation in English, rendered officially and among indigenous speakers as Sesotho sa Leboa. Also confusingly known by the name of its major variety, “Pedi” or “Sepedi”, Northern Sotho is a designated official language of South Africa, spoken by 4,208,980 people (2001 Census) in the provinces of Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. Urban varieties of Pedi have acquired clicks in an ongoing process of the spread of such sounds from Nguni languages

Reference: Northern Sotho Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 5 million
Spoken Natively in: Norway
Official Language in: Norway Nordic Council

Norwegian (norsk) is a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Norway, where it is the official language. Together with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants. These Scandinavian languages together with the Faroese language and Icelandic language, as well as some extinct languages, constitute the North Germanic languages (also called Scandinavian languages). Faroese and Icelandic are hardly mutually intelligible with Norwegian in their spoken form, because continental Scandinavian has diverged from them. As established by law and governmental policy, there are two official forms of written Norwegian – Bokmål (literally “book tongue”) and Nynorsk (literally “new Norwegian”). The Norwegian Language Council is responsible for regulating the two forms, and recommends the terms “Norwegian Bokmål” and “Norwegian Nynorsk” in English. Two other written forms without official status also exist: Riksmål (“national language”), which is to a large extent the same language as Bokmål, but somewhat closer to the Danish language, is regulated by the Norwegian Academy, which translates it as “Standard Norwegian”. Høgnorsk (“High Norwegian”) is a more purist form of Nynorsk that rejects most of the reforms from the 20th century, but is not widely used. There is no officially sanctioned standard of spoken Norwegian, and most Norwegians speak their own dialect in all circumstances. The sociolect of the urban upper and middle class in East Norway can be regarded as a de facto spoken standard for Bokmål because it adopted many characteristics from Danish when Norway was under Danish rule. This so-called standard østnorsk (“Standard Eastern Norwegian”) is the form generally taught to foreign students.

From the 16th to the 19th centuries, Danish was the standard written language of Norway. As a result, the development of modern written Norwegian has been subject to strong controversy related to nationalism, rural versus urban discourse, and Norway’s literary history. Historically, Bokmål is a Norwegianised variety of Danish, while Nynorsk is a language form based on Norwegian dialects and puristic opposition to Danish. The now abandoned official policy to merge Bokmål and Nynorsk into one common language called Samnorsk through a series of spelling reforms has created a wide spectrum of varieties of both Bokmål and Nynorsk. The unofficial form known as Riksmål is considered more conservative than Bokmål, and the unofficial Høgnorsk more conservative than Nynorsk. Norwegians are educated in both Bokmål and Nynorsk. A 2005 poll indicates that 86.3% use primarily Bokmål as their daily written language, 5.5% use both Bokmål and Nynorsk, and 7.5% use primarily Nynorsk.[citation needed] Thus 13% are frequently writing Nynorsk, though the majority speak dialects that resemble Nynorsk more closely than Bokmål. Broadly speaking, Nynorsk writing is widespread in Western Norway, though not in major urban areas, and also in the upper parts of mountain valleys in the southern and eastern parts of Norway. Examples are Setesdal, the western part of Telemark county (fylke) and several municipalities in Hallingdal, Valdres and Gudbrandsdalen. It is little used elsewhere, but 30–40 years ago it also had strongholds in many rural parts of Trøndelag (Mid-Norway) and the south part of Northern Norway (Nordland county). Today, not only is Nynorsk the official language of 4 of the 19 Norwegian counties (fylker), but also of many municipalities in 5 other counties. The Norwegian broadcasting corporation (NRK) broadcasts in both Bokmål and Nynorsk, and all governmental agencies are required to support both written languages. Bokmål is used in 92% of all written publications, Nynorsk in 8% (2000). Norwegian is one of the working languages of the Nordic Council. Under the Nordic Language Convention, citizens of the Nordic countries who speak Norwegian have the opportunity to use their native language when interacting with official bodies in other Nordic countries without being liable to any interpretation or translation costs.

Reference: Norwegian Language (Wikipedia)

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Norwegian Bokmål

Native Speakers: None
Spoken Natively in: Norway
Official Language in: Norway. Nordic Council

Bokmål ([ˈbuːkmoːl], literally “book tongue”) is an official written standard for the Norwegian language, alongside Nynorsk. Bokmål is the preferred written standard of Norwegian for 85% to 90% of the population in Norway, and is most used by people who speak Standard Østnorsk. Bokmål is regulated by the governmental Norwegian Language Council. A more conservative orthographic standard, commonly known as Riksmål, is regulated by the non-governmental Norwegian Academy for Language and Literature. The written standard is a Norwegianised variety of Danish.

Reference: Norwegian Bokmål Language (Wikipedia)

Norwegian Nynorsk

Native Speakers: None
Spoken Natively in: Norway
Official Language in: Norway. Nordic Council

Nynorsk, Neo-Norwegian, New Norse or New Norwegian is an official written standard for the Norwegian language, alongside Bokmål. The language standard was originally created by Ivar Aasen during the mid-19th century, to provide a Norwegian alternative to the Danish language which was commonly written in Norway at the time. The official standard of Nynorsk has since been significantly altered while a minor purist fraction of the Nynorsk populace have stayed firm with the Aasen norm, which is known as Høgnorsk (English: High Norwegian, analogous to High German). In local communities, 26% (113 of 428) of the Norwegian municipalities have declared Nynorsk as their official language form, and these municipalities account for about 12% of the Norwegian population. Of the remaining 74% of the municipalities, half are neutral and half have adopted Bokmål as their official language form. Four of the 19 counties, Rogaland, Hordaland, Sogn og Fjordane and Møre og Romsdal, have Nynorsk as their official language form. These four together comprise the region of Vestlandet, western Norway. The Norwegian Language Council recommends the name Norwegian Nynorsk when referring to this standard in English.

Reference: Norwegian Nynorsk Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 2.3 million (2002)
Spoken Natively in: Uganda
Official Language in:

Nkore (also called Nyankore, Nyankole, Nkole, Orunyankore, Orunyankole, Runyankore, and Runyankole) is a Bantu language spoken by the Nkore (Banyankore) and Hema peoples of Southwestern Uganda in the former province of Ankole. There are approximately 2,330,000 native speakers, mainly found in the Mbarara, Bushenyi, Ntungamo, Kiruhura, Ibanda, Isingiro, and Rukungiri districts. Runyankole is part of an East and central African language variously spoken by the Nkore, Kiga, Nyoro, and Tooro people in Uganda; the Nyambo, Ha and Haya in Tanzania; as well as some ethnic groups in the Congo region, Burundi and Rwanda. They were part of the Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom of the 14-16th centuries. There is a brief description and teaching guide for this language, written by Charles Taylor in the 1950s, and an adequate dictionary in print. Whilst this language is spoken by almost all the Ugandans in the region, most also speak English, especially in the towns. English is the official language, and the language taught in schools. Nkore is so similar to Kiga (84%–94% lexical similarity) that some argue they are dialects of the same language, a language called Nkore-Kiga by Charles Taylor.

Reference: Nkore Language (Wikipedia)



Native Speakers: 2,000,000 (1999)
Spoken Natively in: France, Spain, Italy, Monaco
Official Language in: Spain (Aran Valley)

Occitan (English pronunciation: /ˈɒksɪˌtæn/; French pronunciation: [ɔ’tɑ̃]; Occitan: [utsiˈta]),[5] known also as Lenga d’òc by its native speakers (Occitan: [ˈleŋɡɔ ˈðɔ(k)]; French: Langue d’oc), is a Romance language spoken in southern France, Italy’s Occitan Valleys, Monaco, and Spain’s Val d’Aran: the regions sometimes known unofficially as Occitania. It is also spoken in the linguistic enclave of Guardia Piemontese (Calabria, Italy). Occitan is a descendant of the spoken Latin language of the Roman Empire, as are languages such as Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Romanian and Sardinian. It is an official language in Catalonia, (known as Aranese in Val d’Aran). Occitan’s closest relative is Catalan. Since September 2010, the Parliament of Catalonia has considered Aranese Occitan to be the officially preferred language for use in the Val d’Aran. The term Provençal (Occitan: provençal, provençau or prouvençau, IPA: [pruβenˈsal, pʀuveⁿˈsaw]) may be used as a traditional synonym for Occitan but, nowadays, “Provençal” is mainly understood as an Occitan dialect spoken in Provence. The long-term survival of Occitan is in question. According to the UNESCO Red Book of Endangered Languages, four of the six major dialects of Occitan (Provençal, Auvergnat, Limousin and Languedocien) are considered “severely endangered”, while the remaining two (Gascon and Vivaro-Alpine) are considered “definitely endangered” (“severely endangered” essentially means that only elderly people still speak the language fluently, while “definitely endangered” means that adults speak the language but are not passing it on to their children). In Bearn, at least, schoolchildren are being taught at least some of the language, as the language is enjoying somewhat of a revival in the province.

Reference: Occitan Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 33 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: India
Official Language in: Orissa, Jharkhand

Oriya (ଓଡ଼ିଆ oṛiā), officially spelled Odia, is an Indian language, belonging to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family. It is mainly spoken in the Indian states of Orissa and in parts of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. Oriya is one of the many official languages in India; it is the official language of Orissa and the second official language of Jharkhand. Oriya is the predominant language of Orissa, where Oriya speakers comprise around 83.33% of the population according to census surveys.

Reference: Oriya Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 45,000,000
Spoken Natively in: Ethiopia, Kenya
Official Language in: NA

Oromo (pron. /ˈɒrəmoʊ/ or /ɔːˈroʊmoʊ/) is an Afroasiatic language. It is the most widely spoken tongue in the family’s Cushitic branch. Forms of Oromo are spoken as a first language by more than 45 million Oromo people and neighboring peoples in Ethiopia, and by an additional half million in parts of northern and eastern Kenya. It is also spoken by smaller numbers of emigrants in other African countries such as South Africa, Libya, Egypt, and Sudan . Oromo is a dialect continuum; not all varieties are mutually intelligible. The native name for the Oromo language is Afaan Oromoo, which translates to “mouth (language) of Oromo.” It was formerly known as “Galla”, a term now considered pejorative but still found in older literature.

Reference: Oromo Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: ca. 640,000
Spoken Natively in: Russia (North Ossetia), South Ossetia (partially recognized), Georgia, Turkey
Official Language in: South Ossetia, North Ossetia

Ossetic or Ossetian (Ossetic: Ирон, tr. Iron), also sometimes called Ossete, is an East Iranian language spoken in Ossetia, a region on the slopes of the Caucasus Mountains. The area in Russia is known as North Ossetia–Alania, while the area south of the border is referred to as South Ossetia, recognized by Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru as an independent state but by the rest of the international community as part of Georgia. Ossetian speakers number about 525,000, sixty percent of whom live in North Ossetia, and ten percent in South Ossetia.

Reference: Ossetian Language (Wikipedia)

Ottoman Turkish

Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in: Cretan State, Khedivate of Egypt, Ottoman Empire, Provisional National Government of the Southwestern Caucasus, Provisional Government of Western Thrace, Turkish Provisional Government

Ottoman Turkish /ˈɒtəmən/, or the Ottoman language (لسان عثمانى‎‎ Lisân-ı Osmânî) (also known as تركچه‎ Türkçe or تركی‎ Türkî, “Turkish”), is the variety of the Turkish language that was used in the Ottoman Empire. It borrows, in all aspects, extensively from Arabic, Persian, Greek and Latin and it was written in the Ottoman Turkish alphabet. During the peak of Ottoman power, Persian and Arabic vocabulary accounted for up to 88% of its vocabulary,[1] while words of Arabic origins heavily outnumbered native Turkish words.[2] Consequently, Ottoman Turkish was largely unintelligible to the less-educated lower-class and rural Turks, who continued to use kaba Türkçe (“raw Turkish”), which used far fewer foreign loanwords and is the basis of the modern Turkish language.[3] The Tanzimât era saw the application of the term “Ottoman” when referring to the language (لسان عثمانی‎ lisân-ı Osmânî or عثمانلوجه‎ Osmanlıca) and the same distinction is made in Modern Turkish (Osmanlıca and Osmanlı Türkçesi)

Reference: Ottoman Turkish Language (Wikipedia)



Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in:

Middle Persian is the Middle Iranian language or ethnolect of southwestern Iran that during the Sasanian Empire (224–654) became a prestige dialect and so came to be spoken in other regions of the empire as well. Middle Persian is classified as a Western Iranian language. It descends from Old Persian and is the linguistic ancestor of Modern Persian. Middle Persian consisted of several dialects and variants. One of these variants was called Pahlavīk (Pahlavi) which stands for Parthian, and refers to the Middle Persian that was the language of the Parthian Empire. Another variant of Middle Persian, known locally as Pārsik, was the official language of the Sasanian Empire. Most scholars refer to the latter variant when using the term “Middle Persian”. The native name for Middle Persian was Pārsīk (later Pārsīg) translating to “language of Pārs”. It consists of Pārs (local name of the Persis province) + adjective suffix -īk (“having to do with”; from Proto-Indo-European -(i)ko and related to Greek –ikos, French –ique, Slavic –isku; e.g. Āsōrik “Assyrian”, etc.). The word is consequently the origin of the native name for the Modern Persian language—Parsi or Fārsī. Traces of Middle Persian, or Parsik, are found in remnants of Sasanian inscriptions and Egyptian papyri, coins and seals, fragments of Manichaean writings, and treatises and Zoroastrian books from the Sasanian era, as well as in the post-Sasanian Zoroastrian variant of the language sometimes known as Pahlavi, which originally referred to the Pahlavi scripts, and that was also the preferred writing system for several other Middle Iranian languages. Aside from the Aramaic alphabet-derived Pahlavi script, Zoroastrian Middle Persian was occasionally also written in Pazend, a system derived from the Avestan alphabet that, unlike Pahlavi, indicated vowels and did not employ logograms. Manichaean Middle Persian texts were written in the Manichaean alphabet, which also derives from Aramaic but in an Eastern Iranian form via the Sogdian alphabet.

Reference: Middle Persian Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 17,000 (2008)
Spoken Natively in: Palau, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands
Official Language in: Palau

Palauan (a tekoi er a Belau) is one of the two official languages of the Republic of Palau, the other being English. It is a member of the Austronesian family of languages, and is one of only two indigenous languages in Micronesia that is not part of the Oceanic branch of that family, the other being Chamorro (see Dempwolff 1934, Blust 1977, Jackson 1986, and Zobel 2002). Most researchers agree that Palauan and Chamorro are instead outliers on the Sunda-Sulawesi branch of the Austronesian language family, though it has been claimed that Palauan constitutes a possibly independent branch of the Malayo-Polynesian languages (Dyen 1965). The Palauan language is widely used in day-to-day life in Palau.

Reference: Palauan Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in: Indian subcontinent
Official Language in:

Pali (Pāli) is a Prakrit language native to the Indian subcontinent. It is widely studied because it is the language of many of the earliest extant literature of Buddhism as collected in the Pāli Canon or Tipiṭaka and is the sacred language of Buddhism.

Reference: Pali Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: (1.9 million cited 1990 census)
Spoken Natively in: Philippines
Official Language in: Regional language in the Philippines

The Pampangan language or Kapampangan /ˌkɑːpəmˈpɑːŋən, ˌkæpəmˈpæŋən/ (Kulitan script: Kapampangan.svg), is one of the major languages of the Philippines. It is the language spoken in the province of Pampanga, most parts of the province of Tarlac, and some parts of Bataan, Bulacan and Nueva Ecija. Kapampangan is also understood in some municipalities of Bulacan and Nueva Ecija and by the Aitas or Aeta of Zambales. The language is also called Pampango, and honorifically in the Kapampangan language: Amánung Sísuan, meaning “breastfed/nurtured language”.

Reference: Kapampangan Dialect (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: (1.2 million cited 1990 census)
Spoken Natively in: Philippines
Official Language in: Regional language in the Philippines

The Pangasinan language (Salitan Pangasinan) is the official language in the province of Pangasinan[citation needed] on the west-central area of the island of Luzon along the Lingayen Gulf. It is one of the most-populous languages of the Philippines. “Pangasinan” is the name of the language, people, and province. The Pangasinan language, which also goes by its Spanish name Pangasinense, is spoken by the Pangasinan people. The language is also spoken in the neighboring provinces of Tarlac, La Union, Zambales, Benguet and Nueva Ecija and by Pangasinan immigrants in the United States.

Reference: Pangasinan Dialect (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 329,002
Spoken Natively in: Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao; also in Caribbean Netherlands
Official Language in: Aruba Bonaire Curaçao Caribbean Netherlands

Papiamento (or Papiamentu) is the most widely spoken language on the Caribbean ABC islands, having the official status on the islands of Aruba and Curaçao. The language is also recognized on Bonaire by the Dutch government. Papiamento is a creole language derived from African languages and either Portuguese or Spanish, with some influences from Amerindian languages, English, and Dutch. Papiamento has two main dialects: Papiamento, spoken primarily on Aruba; and Papiamentu, spoken primarily on Bonaire and Curaçao.

Reference: Papiamento Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 60 million (2009) (110 million total speakers)
Spoken Natively in: Western Asia: Iran, Turkey, Iraq, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Azerbaijan, Georgia Central Asia: Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan South Asia: Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh East Asia: Japan Europe: Russia, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Netherlands, Austria, Norway, Greece, Ukraine, Finland, Belgium, Spain, Italy America: United States, Canada Australasia: Australia, New Zealand
Official Language in: Iran Afghanistan

Persian (local name: فارسی farsi [fɒːɾˈsiː]) is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. “The official language of Iran is sometimes called Farsi in English and other languages. This is a transliteration of the native name of the language, however many, including the ISO and the Academy of Persian Language and Literature, prefer the name Persian for the language. Some speakers use the older local name: Parsi (پارسی parsi [pɒːɾˈsiː]).” “The name Persian derives from the province of Pārs (modern Fārs) in southwestern Iran.” Persian is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan (as Dari since 1958 due to political reasons), Tajikistan (as Tajik due to political reasons by the USSR),[6] and countries which historically came under Persian influence. The Persian language is classified as a continuation of Middle Persian, the official religious and literary language of Sassanid Iran, itself a continuation of Old Persian, the language of the Persian Empire in the Achaemenid era. Persian is a pluricentric language and its grammar is similar to that of many contemporary European languages. Persian has ca. 110 million native speakers, holding official status respectively in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. For centuries Persian has also been a prestigious cultural language in Central Asia, South Asia, and Western Asia. Persian has had a considerable, mainly lexical influence on neighboring languages, particularly the Turkic languages in Central Asia, Caucasus, and Anatolia, neighboring Iranian languages, as well as Armenian, and Indo-Aryan languages, especially Urdu. It also exerted some influence on Arabic, particularly Iraqi Arabic and Khuzestani Arabic, while borrowing much vocabulary from it after the Muslim conquest of Persia. With a long history of literature in the form of Middle Persian before Islam, Persian was the first language in Muslim civilization to break through Arabic’s monopoly on writing, and the writing of poetry in Persian was established as a court tradition in many eastern courts. Some of the famous works of Persian literature are the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi, works of Rumi (Molana), Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Divan of Hafiz and poems of Saadi.

Reference: Pashto Language (Wikipedia)

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Old Persian

Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in: Iran
Official Language in: Iran, Turkey

The Old Persian language is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages (the other being Avestan). Old Persian appears primarily in the inscriptions, clay tablets, and seals of the Achaemenid era (c. 600 BCE to 300 BCE). Examples of Old Persian have been found in what is now present-day Iran, Romania (Gherla) Armenia, Bahrain, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt, the most important attestation by far being the contents of the Behistun Inscription (dated to 525 BCE). Recent research into the vast Persepolis Fortification Archive at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago have unearthed Old Persian tablets (2007). This new text shows that the Old Persian language was a written language in use for practical recording and not only for royal display.

Reference: Old Persian Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in: Canaan; later spoken in coastal outposts and islands throughout the Mediterranean
Official Language in:

Phoenician, sometimes identified with Canaanite Hebrew, was a language originally spoken in the coastal (Mediterranean) region then called “Canaan” in Phoenician, Arabic, Greek, and Aramaic, “Phoenicia” in Greek and Latin, and “Pūt” in the Egyptian language. It is a part of the Canaanite subgroup of the Northwest Semitic languages. Other members of the family are Hebrew, Ammonite, Moabite and Edomite.

Reference: Phoenician Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 31,000 (2001)
Spoken Natively in: Micronesia
Official Language in:

Pohnpeian or Ponapean is a Micronesian language spoken as the indigenous language of the island of Pohnpei in the Caroline Islands. Pohnpeian has about 29,000 speakers, the vast majority of whom live in Pohnpei and its outlying atolls and islands. It is a major language of the Federated States of Micronesia. Pohnpeian features a “high language” including some specialized vocabulary, used in speaking about people of high rank.

Reference: Pohnpeian Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 40 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Poland; bordering regions of Ukraine, Slovakia, Czech Republic; along the Belarusian–Lithuanian and Belarusian–Latvian border; Germany, Romania, Israel.
Official Language in: European Union, Poland

Polish (język polski, polszczyzna) is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland (being that country’s official language) and by Polish minorities in other countries. Its written standard is the Polish alphabet, which has several additions to the letters of the basic Latin script. Despite the pressure of non-Polish administrations in Poland, who have often attempted to suppress the Polish language, a rich literature has developed over the centuries, and the language is currently the largest, in terms of speakers, of the West Slavic group. It is also the second most widely spoken Slavic language, after Russian and ahead of Ukrainian.

Reference: Polish Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 215 million (2010)
Spoken Natively in: Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Portugal, Guinea-Bissau, East Timor, Macau, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe
Official Language in: Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Portugal, Guinea-Bissau, East Timor, Macau, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe

Portuguese (português or língua portuguesa) is a Romance language. It is the official language of Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, and São Tomé and Príncipe. Portuguese has co-official status (alongside the indigenous language) in Macau in East Asia, East Timor in South East Asia and in Equatorial Guinea in Central Africa; Portuguese speakers are also found in Goa, Daman and Diu in India. With approximately 280 million speakers (210 to 215 million native), Portuguese is the 5th or 6th most spoken language in the world, the 3rd most spoken language in the western hemisphere, and the most spoken language in the southern hemisphere. Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes once called Portuguese “the sweet and gracious language” and Spanish playwright Lope de Vega referred to it as “sweet”, while the Brazilian writer Olavo Bilac poetically described it as “a última flor do Lácio, inculta e bela” (the last flower of Latium, rustic and beautiful). Portuguese is also termed “the language of Camões”, after one of Portugal’s greatest literary figures, Luís Vaz de Camões. In March 2006, the Museum of the Portuguese Language, an interactive museum about the Portuguese language, was founded in São Paulo, Brazil, the city with the greatest number of Portuguese language speakers in the world.

Reference: Portuguese Language (Wikipedia)

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Portuguese (Brazil)

Native Speakers: 204 million (2015)
Spoken Natively in: Brazil
Official Language in: Brazil

Brazilian Portuguese (português do Brasil [poʁtuˈɡez du bɾaˈziw] or português brasileiro [poʁtuˈɡez bɾaziˈlejɾu]) is a set of dialects of the Portuguese language used mostly in Brazil. It is spoken by virtually all of the 200 million inhabitants of Brazil and spoken widely across the Brazilian diaspora, today consisting of about two million Brazilians who have emigrated to other countries. This variety of the Portuguese language differs, particularly in phonology and prosody, from varieties and dialects spoken in most Portuguese-speaking majority countries, including native Portugal and African countries – the dialects of which, partly because of the more recent end of Portuguese colonialism in these regions, tend to have a closer connection to contemporary European Portuguese. Despite this, Brazilian and European Portuguese vary little in formal writing (in many ways analogous to the differences encountered between American and British English).

Reference: Brazilian Portuguese Language (Wikipedia)

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Portuguese (Portugal)

Native Speakers: 10 million (2012)
Spoken Natively in: Portugal
Official Language in: Portugal

European Portuguese (Portuguese: Português europeu (pronounced: [puɾtuˈgez ewɾuˈpew])), also known as Lusitanian Portuguese (Portuguese: Português lusitano) and Portuguese of Portugal (Portuguese: Português de Portugal) in Brazil, refers to the Portuguese language spoken in Portugal. Standard Portuguese pronunciation, the prestige norm based on European Portuguese, is the reference for Portugal, the Portuguese-speaking African countries, East Timor and Macau. The word “European” was chosen to avoid the clash of “Portuguese Portuguese” as opposed to Brazilian Portuguese.

Reference: European Portuguese Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in:

A Prakrit (Sanskrit: prākṛta, Shauraseni: pāuda, Magadhi Prakrit: pāua) is any of several Middle Indo-Aryan languages. The Ardhamagadhi (“half-Magadhi”) Prakrit, which was used extensively to write the scriptures of Jainism, is often considered to be the definitive form of Prakrit, while others are considered variants thereof. Prakrit grammarians would give the full grammar of Ardhamagadhi first, and then define the other grammars with relation to it. For this reason, courses teaching “Prakrit” are often regarded as teaching Ardhamagadhi. Pali, the Prakrit used in Theravada Buddhism, tends to be treated as a special exception from the variants of the Ardhamagadhi language, as Classical Sanskrit grammars do not consider it as a Prakrit per se, presumably for sectarian rather than linguistic reasons. Other Prakrits are reported in old historical sources but are not attested, such as Paiśācī.

Reference: Prakrit Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 100 million (2010)
Spoken Natively in: India, Pakistan
Official Language in: India (Indian states of Punjab & Haryana, secondary officially recognised language in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, & West Bengal)

Punjabi (Gurmukhi: ਪੰਜਾਬੀ, Shahmukhi: پنجابی, Devanagari: पंजाबी) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by inhabitants of the historical Punjab region (north western India and eastern Pakistan). In Pakistan, Punjabi is the most widely spoken native tongue. There are some 104 million (2008) native speakers of the Punjabi language; an estimated 76 million in Pakistan (2008) and 28 million in India (2001), and millions in the USA, UK, Canada and Persian Gulf countries Such As UAE, Kuwait And Saudi Arabia making it the 10th most widely spoken language in the world. Native speakers of the Punjabi language and their respective diaspora are referred to as ethnic Punjabis.The Punjabi language has different dialects, spoken in the different sub-regions of greater Punjab. The Majhi dialect is Punjabi’s prestige dialect and shared by both countries. This dialect is considered as textbook Punjabi and is spoken in the historical region of Majha, centralizing in Lahore and Amritsar. Along with the Hindko and Western Pahari languages, Punjabi is unusual among modern Indo-European languages because it is a tonal language.

Reference: Punjabi Language (Wikipedia)

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Spoken Natively in: Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, and Argentina
Official Language in: Peru and Bolivia

Quechua (endonym “Runa Simi” is a Native South American language family spoken primarily in the Andes of South America, derived from a common ancestral language. It is the most widely spoken language family of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, with a total of probably some 8 to 10 million speakers.

Reference: Quechua Languages (Wikipedia)



Native Speakers: 50 – 80 million (2001)
Spoken Natively in: India, Pakistan
Official Language in:

Rajasthani (Devanagari: राजस्थानी) refers to a group of Indo-Aryan languages spoken in the states of Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh in India. It is also spoken in parts of the neighbouring provinces of Sindh and Punjab in Pakistan. The Rajasthani linguistic sphere is usually sectioned into four major language groups: Rajasthani, Marwari, Malvi, and Nimadi. Each of these languages contains numerous dialects. Rajasthani is one of the two major language strains descended from Old Gujarati, aka Maru-Gujar or Maruwani, the other being modern Gujarati.

Reference: Rajasthani Language (Wikipedia


Native Speakers: 50 – 80 million (2001)
Spoken Natively in: Italy, Switzerland
Official Language in:

Rhaeto-Romance, or Rhaetian, is a traditional subfamily of the Romance languages that is spoken in north and north-eastern Italy and in Switzerland. The name “Rhaeto-Romance” refers to the former Roman province of Rhaetia. The linguistic basis of the subfamily is discussed in the so-called Questione Ladina.

Reference: Rhaeto-Romance Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 24 million (2007) Second language: 4 million
Spoken Natively in: Romania, Moldova, Transnistria (Disputed region) Minority in: Israel, Serbia, Ukraine, Hungary
Official Language in: Romania Moldova Vojvodina European Union

Romanian (or Daco-Romanian; obsolete spellings Rumanian, Roumanian; self-designation: română, limba română [ˈlimba roˈmɨnə](“the Romanian language”) or românește (lit. “in Romanian”) is a Romance language spoken by around 24 million people as a native language, primarily in Romania and Moldova, and by another 4 million people as a second language. It has official status in Romania, Republic of Moldova, the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina in Serbia and in the autonomous Mount Athos in Greece. In the Republic of Moldova, besides the term limba română, the language is also often called limba moldovenească (“Moldovan”); to avoid the political overtones both terms have in that country, a compromise solution has been to call it limba de stat (“the state language”). Romanian speakers are scattered across many other countries, notably Italy, Spain, Ukraine, Bulgaria, the United States, Canada, Israel, Russia, Portugal, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.

Reference: Romanian Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 35,000 (language of best command) (2000) 60,000 (regular speakers)
Spoken Natively in: Switzerland
Official Language in: Switzerland

Romansh (also spelled Romansch, Rumants(c)h, or Romanche; Romansh: rumantsch / rumauntsch / romontsch /rumàntsch; German: Rätoromanisch; Italian: Romancio) is a Rhaeto-Romance language descended from the Vulgar Latin spoken by the Roman era occupiers of the region. It is closely related to French, Occitan, and Lombard, as well as the other Romance languages to a lesser extent. Romansh is one of the four national languages of Switzerland, along with German, French and Italian. In the 2000 Swiss census, 35,095 people (of which 27,038 in the canton of Grisons) indicated Romansh as the language of “best command”, and 61,815 also as a “regularly spoken” language. Spoken by around 0.9% of Switzerland’s 7.7 million inhabitants, Romansh is Switzerland’s least-used national language in terms of number of speakers and the tenth most spoken language in Switzerland overall.

Reference: Romansh Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 4 million or perhaps considerably more (no reliable estimate) (2011)
Spoken Natively in: The Balkans, Some of Eastern Europe and Romani diaspora
Official Language in: Albania, Bulgaria, Colombia

Romani (/ˈroʊməni/;[8] also Romany, Gypsy, or Gipsy; Romani: romani ćhib) is any of several languages of the Romani people belonging to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family.[9] According to Ethnologue, seven varieties of Romani are divergent enough to be considered languages of their own. The largest of these are Vlax Romani (about 500,000 speakers),[10] Balkan Romani (600,000),[11] and Sinte Romani (300,000).[12] Some Romani communities speak mixed languages based on the surrounding language with retained Romani-derived vocabulary – these are known by linguists as Para-Romani varieties, rather than dialects of the Romani language itself. The differences between various varieties can be as big as, for example, differences between various Slavic languages.

Reference: Romani Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 8.8 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Burundi, Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa
Official Language in: Burundi

Kirundi, also known as Rundi, is a Bantu language spoken by nine million people in Burundi and adjacent parts of Tanzania and Congo-Kinshasa, as well as in Uganda. It is the official language of Burundi. Kirundi is mutually intelligible with Kinyarwanda, an official language of Rwanda, and the two form part of the wider dialect continuum known as Rwanda-Rundi. The inhabitants of Rwanda and Burundi belong to several different ethnic groups: Hutu icluding Bakiga and other related ethnicities (84%), Tutsi, including Hima (15%), and Twa (1%) (a pygmy people). The language naturally or natively belongs to the hutu, although the other ethnic groups present in the country such as Tutsi, Twa, and hima among others have adopted the language. Neighboring dialects of Kirundi are mutually intelligible with Ha, a language spoken in western Tanzania.

Reference: Rundi Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 155 million (2010) 110 million L2 speakers
Spoken Natively in: Russia, countries of the former Soviet Union, emigrant communities around the world, notably in the United States, UK, Germany, Israel, Canada, Australia, and Latin America, Egypt.
Official Language in: Russia (state) Belarus (state) Kazakhstan (official) Kyrgyzstan (official) Tajikistan (inter-ethnic communication) Abkhazia[8](official) South Ossetia[8](state) Transnistria (official; unrecognized country) Moldova Gagauzia (official) Romania A number of municipalities in Tulcea County and Constanța County Ukraine (regional and minority) Crimea (has some of the official functions Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Donetsk Oblast Kharkiv Oblast Kherson Oblast Luhansk Oblast Mykolaiv Oblast Odessa Oblast Sevastopol Zaporizhia Oblast

Russian (ру́сский язы́к, russkiy yazyk, pronounced [ˈruskʲɪj jɪˈzɨk]) is a Slavic language spoken primarily in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Moldova, Latvia, Estonia, and to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics of the USSR. Russian belongs to the family of Indo-European languages and is one of three living members of the East Slavic languages. Written examples of Old East Slavonic are attested from the 10th century onwards. It is the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia and the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages. It is also the largest native language in Europe, with 144 million native speakers in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Russian is the 8th most spoken language in the world by number of native speakers and the 4th by total number of speakers. The language is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. Russian distinguishes between consonant phonemes with palatal secondary articulation and those without, the so-called soft and hard sounds. This distinction is found between pairs of almost all consonants and is one of the most distinguishing features of the language. Another important aspect is the reduction of unstressed vowels. Stress, which is unpredictable, is not normally indicated orthographically though an optional acute accent (знак ударения, znak udareniya) may be used to mark stress (such as to distinguish between homographic words, for example замо́к (meaning lock) and за́мок (meaning castle), or to indicate the proper pronunciation of uncommon words or names).

Reference: Russian Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in:

The Salishan (also Salish) languages are a group of languages of the Pacific Northwest (the Canadian province of British Columbia and the American states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana).[2] They are characterised by agglutinativity and syllabic consonants—for instance the Nuxalk word xłp̓x̣ʷłtłpłłskʷc̓ (IPA: [xɬpʼχʷɬtʰɬpʰɬːskʷʰt͡sʼ]), meaning “he had had [in his possession] a bunchberry plant”, has thirteen obstruent consonants in a row with no phonetic or phonemic vowels. The Salishan languages are a geographically continuous block, with the exception of the Nuxalk (Bella Coola), in the Central Coast of British Columbia, and the extinct Tillamook language, to the south on the coast of Oregon. The terms Salish and Salishan are used interchangeably by linguists and anthropologists studying Salishan but this is confusing in regular English usage, because the name Salish or Selisch is the endonym of the Flathead Nation. Linguists later applied the name to related languages in the Pacific Northwest. Many of the peoples do not have self-designations (autonyms) in their languages; they frequently have specific names for local dialects, as the local group was more important culturally than larger tribal relations. All Salishan languages are extinct or endangered—some extremely so, with only three or four speakers left. Few Salish languages currently have more than one to two thousand speakers. Fluent, daily speakers of almost all Salishan languages are generally over sixty years of age; many language have only speakers over eighty. Salishan languages are most commonly written using the Americanist phonetic notation to account for the various vowels and consonants that do not exist in most modern alphabets. Many groups have evolved their own distinctive uses of the Latin alphabet, however, such as the St’at’imc.

Reference: Salishan Language (Wikipedia)

Samaritan Aramaic

Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in:

Samaritan Aramaic, or Samaritan, is the dialect of Aramaic used by the Samaritans in their sacred and scholarly literature. This should not be confused with the Samaritan Hebrew language of the Scriptures. Samaritan Aramaic ceased to be a spoken language some time between the 10th and the 12th centuries. In form it resembles the Aramaic of the Targumim, and is written in the Samaritan alphabet. Important works written in Samaritan include the translation of the Samaritan Pentateuch in the form of the targum paraphrased version. There are also legal, exegetical and liturgical texts, though later works of the same kind were often written in Arabic.

Reference: Samaritan Aramaic Language (Wikipedia)

Northern Sami

Native Speakers: ca. 25,000 (1992–2013)
Spoken Natively in: Norway, Sweden, Finland
Official Language in: Finland; Norway; Sweden

Northern or North Sami (davvisámegiella; disapproved exonym Lappish or Lapp), sometimes also simply referred to as Sami, is the most widely spoken of all Sami languages. The area where Northern Sami is spoken covers the northern parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland. The number of Northern Sami speakers is estimated to be somewhere between 15,000 and 25,000. About 2,000 of these live in Finland and between 5,000 and 6,000 in Sweden.

Reference: Northern Sami Language (Wikipedia)

Southern Sami

Native Speakers: 600 (1992)
Spoken Natively in: Norway, Sweden
Official Language in: Snåsa, Norway

Southern Sami (Åarjelsaemien gïele) is the southwestern-most of the Sami languages. It is a seriously endangered language; the strongholds of this language are the municipalities of Snåsa, Røyrvik, Røros and Hattfjelldal in Norway.

Reference: Southern Sami Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 30,000 (1992–2013)
Spoken Natively in: Finland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden
Official Language in: Sweden and some parts of Norway; recognized as a minority language in several municipalities of Finland.

Sami /ˈsɑːmi/ is a group of Uralic languages spoken by the Sami people in Northern Europe (in parts of northern Finland, Norway, Sweden and extreme northwestern Russia). There are, depending on the nature and terms of division, ten or more Sami languages or dialects. Several names are used for the Sami languages: Saami, Sámi, Saame, Samic, Saamic, as well as the exonyms Lappish and Lappic. The last two, along with the term Lapp, are now often considered derogatory (Lapp in Swedish means patch or rag).

Reference: Sami Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 510,000 (2015)
Spoken Natively in: Norway, Sweden
Official Language in: Samoa, American Samoa

Samoan (Gagana fa’a Sāmoa or Gagana Sāmoa — IPA: [ŋaˈŋana ˈsaːmʊa]) is the language of the Samoan Islands, comprising the Independent State of Samoa and the Territory of American Samoa. It is an official language — alongside English — in both jurisdictions. Samoan, a Polynesian language, is the first language for most of the Samoa Islands’ population of about 246,000 people. With many Samoan people living in other countries, the total number of speakers worldwide is estimated at 510,000 in 2015. It is the third most widely-spoken language in New Zealand, where more than 2% of the population – 86,000 people – were able to speak it as of 2013. The language is notable for the phonological differences between formal and informal speech as well as a ceremonial form used in Samoan oratory.

Reference: Samoan Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 14,000 (2001)
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in: India, Uttarakhand one of the 22 scheduled languages of India

Sanskrit (संस्कृतम् saṃskṛtam [sə̃skɹ̩t̪əm], originally संस्कृता वाक् saṃskṛtā vāk, “refined speech”), is a historical Indo-Aryan language, the primary liturgical language of Hinduism and a literary and scholarly language in Buddhism and Jainism. Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand. Sanskrit holds a prominent position in Indo-European studies. The corpus of Sanskrit literature encompasses a rich tradition of poetry and drama as well as scientific, technical, philosophical and dharma texts. Sanskrit continues to be widely used as a ceremonial language in Hindu religious rituals and Buddhist practice in the forms of hymns and mantras. Spoken Sanskrit is still in use in some villages, a few traditional institutions in India and there are many attempts at further popularization.

Reference: Sanskrit Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 1 million (1993-2007)
Spoken Natively in: Italy
Official Language in: Italy, Sardina

Sardinian (sardu, limba sarda, lingua sarda) is the primary indigenous Romance language spoken on the island of Sardinia (Italy). Of the Romance languages it is considered the closest to Latin; but it also incorporates a substratum of Paleo-Sardinian (Nuragic), and has been influenced by Catalan and Spanish due to the past dominion of the Crown of Aragon and later the Spanish Empire over the island.

There are two main varieties: Campidanese and Logudorese. Each has their own literature,[3][4] although the Limba Sarda Comuna (Common Sardinian Language),[5] has been created in an attempt to unify them. Since 1997, Sardinian, along with all other languages spoken by the Sardinians, have been recognized by regional and national laws; and since 1999, Sardinian is also one of the twelve “historical language minorities” of Italy and protected as such by the Law 482.[6] Despite this, UNESCO classifies both main varieties as “definitely endangered”;[7] although an estimated 68 percent of the islanders have a good oral command of Sardinian, language ability among children drops to around 13 percent and the language is slowly receding in all domains of use.

Reference: Sardinian Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 16, 000
Spoken Natively in: People’s Republic of China
Official Language in:

Sarikoli language (also Sariqoli, Selekur, Sarikul, Sariqul, Sariköli) is a member of the Pamir subgroup of the Southeastern Iranian languages spoken by Tajiks in China. It is officially referred to in China as the “Tajik language”, although it is different from the language spoken in Tajikistan.

Reference: Sarikoli Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 110,000–125,000 (1999–2011), 1.5 million L2 speakers (no date) ,In the 2011 census, respondents indicated that 1.54 million (30%) are able to speak Scots
Spoken Natively in: United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland
Official Language in: None — Classified as a “traditional language” by the Scottish Government. — Classified as a “regional or minority language” under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, ratified by the United Kingdom in 2001. — Classified as a “traditional language” by The North/South Language Body.

Scots is the Anglic language variety spoken in Lowland Scotland and parts of Ulster (where the local dialect is known as Ulster Scots). It is sometimes called Lowland Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic, the Celtic language which was historically restricted to most of the Highlands, the Hebrides and Galloway after the Middle Ages.

Because there are no universally accepted criteria for distinguishing languages from dialects, scholars and other interested parties often disagree about the linguistic, historical and social status of Scots and particularly its relationship to English. Although a number of paradigms for distinguishing between languages and dialects do exist, these often render contradictory results. Broad Scots is at one end of a bipolar linguistic continuum, with Scottish Standard English at the other. Scots is often regarded as one of the ancient varieties of English, yet it has its own distinct dialects. Alternatively, Scots is sometimes treated as a distinct Germanic language, in the way Norwegian is closely linked to, yet distinct from, Danish.

A 2010 Scottish Government study of “public attitudes towards the Scots language” found that 64% of respondents (around 1,000 individuals being a representative sample of Scotland’s adult population) “don’t really think of Scots as a language”, but it also found that “the most frequent speakers are least likely to agree that it is not a language (58%) and those never speaking Scots most likely to do so (72%)”. In the 2011 Scottish census, a question on Scots language ability was featured.

Reference: Scots Language (Wikipedia)

Scottish Gaelic

Native Speakers: 58,552 in Scotland. 92,400 people aged three and over in Scotland had some Gaelic language ability in 2001 with estimates of additional 500 – 2000[4] in Nova Scotia. 1,610 speakers in the United States in 2000. 822 in Australia in 2001. 669 in New Zealand in 2006.
Spoken Natively in: United Kingdom, Canada, United States, Australia, New Zealand
Official Language in: Scotland

Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig; [ˈkaːlikʲ]) is a Celtic language native to Scotland. A member of the Goidelic branch of the Celtic languages, Scottish Gaelic, like Modern Irish and Manx, developed out of Middle Irish, and thus descends ultimately from Old Irish. The 2001 UK Census showed that a total of 58,652 (1.2% of the Scottish population aged over three years old) in Scotland could speak Gaelic at that time, with the Outer Hebrides being the main stronghold of the language. The census results indicate a decline of 7,300 Gaelic speakers from 1991. Despite this decline, revival efforts exist and the number of younger speakers of the language has increased. Scottish Gaelic is not an official language of the European Union, nor of the United Kingdom. (The only language that is de jure official in any part of the UK is Welsh.) However, it is classed as an autochthonous language under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, which the British government has ratified. In addition, the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 gave official recognition to the language and established an official language development body, Bòrd na Gàidhlig. Outside of Scotland, dialects of the language known as Canadian Gaelic exist in Canada on Cape Breton Island, Glengarry County in present-day Eastern Ontario and other isolated areas of the Nova Scotia mainland. The number of present day speakers in Cape Breton is around 2,000, amounting to 1.3% of the population of Cape Breton Island.

Reference: Scottish Gaelic Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 5.6 million (2001–2011), 7.9 million L2 speakers in South Africa (2002)
Spoken Natively in: Lesotho, South Africa
Official Language in: Lesotho, South Africa, Zimbabwe

The Sotho language, Sesotho (/ˈsuːtuː/;,also known as Southern Sotho, or Southern Sesotho[6]) is a Southern Bantu language of the Sotho-Tswana (S.30) group, spoken primarily in South Africa, where it is one of the 11 official languages, and in Lesotho, where it is the national language.

Like all Bantu languages, Sesotho is an agglutinative language, which uses numerous affixes and derivational and inflexional rules to build complete words.

Reference: Sotho Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 9 million (2006)
Spoken Natively in: Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia, and neighboring regions
Official Language in: Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo

Serbian (Serbian Cyrillic: српски, Latin: srpski, pronounced [sr̩̂pskiː]) is a standardized register of the Serbo-Croatian language spoken by Serbs, mainly in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, and Macedonia. It is official in Serbia and one of the official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and is the principal language of the Serbs. The dialect serving as the basis for the main literary and standard language is Shtokavian, which is also the basis of standard Croatian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin. In particular, Serbian is standardized around Šumadija-Vojvodina and Eastern Herzegovinian subdialects of Shtokavian. The Torlakian dialect of Serbian is spoken in southeast Serbia, and is not standardized, as it represents transitional form to Macedonian and Bulgarian. Serbo-Croatian is the only European language with active digraphia, using both Cyrillic and Latin alphabets. The Bosnian and Serbian varieties use both alphabets while the Croatian variety uses only the Latin alphabet. The Serbian Cyrillic alphabet was devised in 1814 by Serbian linguist Vuk Karadžić, who created the alphabet on phonemic principles. The Latin alphabet was designed by Croatian linguist Ljudevit Gaj in 1830.

Reference: Serbian Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 19 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Kosovo
Official Language in: Serbia (as Serbian) , Croatia (as Croatian) , Bosnia and Herzegovina (as Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian), Montenegro (as Montenegrin), Kosovo[a] (as Serbian), European Union (as Croatian)

Serbo-Croatian also called Serbo-Croat /ˌsɜːrboʊˈkroʊæt, -bə-/, Serbo-Croat-Bosnian (SCB),[9] Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian (BCS),[10] or Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian (BCMS), is a South Slavic language and the primary language of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. It is a pluricentric language with four mutually intelligible standard varieties.

South Slavic dialects historically formed a continuum. The turbulent history of the area, particularly due to expansion of the Ottoman Empire, resulted in a patchwork of dialectal and religious differences. Due to population migrations, Shtokavian became the most widespread in the western Balkans, intruding westwards into the area previously occupied by Chakavian and Kajkavian (which further blend into Slovenian in the northwest). Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs differ in religion and were historically often part of different cultural circles, although a large part of the nations have lived side by side under foreign overlords. During that period, the language was referred to under a variety of names, such as “Slavic”, “Illyrian”, or according to region, “Bosnian”, “Serbian” and “Croatian”, the latter often in combination with “Slavonian” or “Dalmatian”.

Reference: Serbo-Croatian Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 3.3 million (2001)
Spoken Natively in: Burma, Thailand, China
Official Language in:

The Shan language is the native language of Shan people and spoken mostly in Shan State, Burma. It is also spoken in pockets of Kachin State in Burma, in northern Thailand, and decreasingly in Assam. Shan is a member of the Tai–Kadai language family, and is related to Thai. It has five tones, which do not correspond exactly to Thai tones, plus a “sixth tone” used for emphasis. It is called Tai Yai, or Tai Long in the Tai languages.

The number of Shan speakers is not known in part because the Shan population is unknown. Estimates of Shan people range from four million to 30 million, though the true number is somewhere around six million, with about half speaking the Shan language. In 2001 Patrick Johnstone and Jason Mandryk estimated 3.2 million Shan speakers in Myanmar; the Mahidol University Institute for Language and Culture gave the number of Shan speakers in Thailand as 95,000 in 2006. Many Shan speak local dialects as well as the language of their trading partners. Due to the civil war in Burma, few Shan today can read or write in Shan script, which was derived from the Burmese alphabet.

Reference: Shan Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 8.3 million proper (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, Botswana
Official Language in:

Shona (or chiShona) is a Bantu language, native to the Shona people of Zimbabwe and southern Zambia; the term is also used to identify peoples who speak one of the Shona language dialects: Zezuru, Karanga, Manyika, Ndau and Korekore. (Some researchers include Kalanga: others recognise Kalanga as a distinct language in its own right.) Shona is a principal language of Zimbabwe, along with Ndebele and the official business language, English. Shona is spoken by a large percentage of the people in Zimbabwe. Other countries that host Shona language speakers are Zambia and Botswana and Mozambique. Shona is the Bantu language most widely spoken as a native language. According to Ethnologue, Shona comprising the Karanga, Zezuru, and Korekore dialects, is spoken by about 10.8 million people. Manyika and Ndau dialects of Shona, listed separately by Ethnologue, and are spoken by 1,025,000 and 2,380,000 people, respectively. The total figure of Shona speakers is then about 14.2 million people. Zulu is the second most widely spoken Bantu language with 10.3 million speakers according to Ethnologue. Shona is a written standard language with an orthography and grammar that was codified during the early 20th century and fixed in the 1950s. The first novel in Shona, Solomon Mutswairo’s Feso, was published in 1957. Shona is taught in the schools but is not the general medium of instruction in other subjects. It has a literature and is described through monolingual and bilingual dictionaries (chiefly Shona – English). Modern Shona is based on the dialect spoken by the Karanga people of Masvingo Province, the region around Great Zimbabwe, and Zezuru people of central and northern Zimbabwe. However, all Shona dialects are officially considered to be of equal significance and are taught in local schools. Shona is a member of the large family of Bantu languages. In Guthrie’s zonal classification of Bantu languages, zone S10 designates a dialect continuum of closely related varieties, including Shona proper, Manyika, Nambya, and Ndau, spoken in Zimbabwe and central Mozambique; Tawara and Tewe, found in Mozambique; and Ikalanga of Botswana and Western Zimbabwe. Shona speakers most likely moved into present day Zimbabwe from the Mapungubwe and K2 communities in Limpopo South Africa before the invasion of the English settlers. A common misconception is that the speakers of the Karanga dialect were absorbed into the Ndebele culture and language turning them into Kalanga. This misconception is a direct result of the political bias in the national curriculum framework of Zimbabwe. The Kalanga language is widely spoken in Botswana where the Ndebele were never present. The Kalanga language is thought to have been the language used by the Mapungubweans (Department of Archeology Witts University). If this is accurate it follows that the Karanga dialect of Shona is a derivative of Kalanga. Karanga is closer to Kalanga than the rest of the aforementioned dialects. Karanga and Kalanga are both closer to Venda than the other Shona dialects.

Reference: Shona Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 4.7 million (2002)
Spoken Natively in: Italy
Official Language in: Island of Sicily

Sicilian (sicilianu; Italian: lingua siciliana; also known as Siculu or Calabro-Sicilian) is a Romance language spoken on the island of Sicily and its satellite islands. It is also spoken in southern and central Calabria (where it is called Southern Calabro), in the southern parts of Apulia, Salento (where it is known as Salentino), and Campania, on the Italian peninsula, where it is called Cilentano (Gordon, 2005). Ethnologue (see below for more detail) describes Sicilian as being “distinct enough from Standard Italian to be considered a separate language” (Gordon) and is in fact recognized as a “minority language” by UNESCO. Some assert that Sicilian represents the oldest Romance language derived from Vulgar Latin, but this is not a widely held view amongst linguists, and is sometimes strongly criticized

Reference: Sicilian Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 26 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Pakistan. Also India, Hong Kong, Oman, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, UAE, UK, USA, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka
Official Language in: Pakistan (Sindh), India

Sindhi (Sindhi: سنڌي) is the language of the historical Sindh region, spoken by the Sindhi people. It is spoken by 53,410,910 people in Pakistan and some 5,820,485 people in India. It is the official language of the province of Sindh. In India, Sindhi is one of the scheduled languages officially recognized by the federal government. Abroad there are some 2.6 million Sindhis. Sindhi is an Indo-Aryan language of the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It has influences from a local version of spoken form of Sanskrit and from Balochi spoken in the adjacent province of Balochistan. Most Sindhi speakers are concentrated in the Sindh province and in Kutch, India where Sindhi is a local language. The remaining speakers in India are composed of the Hindu Sindhis who migrated from Sindh and settled in India after partition and the Sindhi diaspora worldwide.

Reference: Sindhi Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 16 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in: Sri Lanka

Sinhala ISO 15919: siṁhala, pronounced [ˈsiŋɦələ]), also known as Sinhalese (older spelling: Singhalese) in English, also known locally as Helabasa, is the mother tongue of the Sinhalese people, who make up the largest ethnic group in Sri Lanka, numbering about 15 million. Sinhala is also spoken, as a second language by other ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, totalling about 3 million. It belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. Sinhala is one of the official and national languages of Sri Lanka, along with Tamil. Sinhala, along with Pali, played a major role in the development of Theravada Buddhist literature. Sinhala has its own writing system, the Sinhala alphabet, which is a member of the Brahmic family of scripts, and a descendant of the ancient Indian Brahmi script. The oldest Sinhala inscriptions found are from the 6th century BCE, on pottery; the oldest existing literary works date from the 9th century CE. The closest relative of Sinhala is the language of the Maldives and Minicoy Island (India), Dhivehi.

Reference: Sinhala Language (Wikipedia)

Sinhala (Sinhalese)

Native Speakers: 16 million (2007) 2 million second language (1997)
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in: Sri Lanka

Sinhalese (/sɪnəˈliːz/), known natively as Sinhala (Sinhalese: සිංහල; singhala [ˈsiŋɦələ]), is the native language of the Sinhalese people, who make up the largest ethnic group in Sri Lanka, numbering about 16 million. Sinhalese is also spoken as a second language by other ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, totalling about three million. It belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. Sinhalese has its own writing system, the Sinhala alphabet, which is one of the Brahmic scripts, a descendant of the ancient Indian Brahmi script closely related to the Kadamba alphabet.

Sinhalese is one of the official and national languages of Sri Lanka. Sinhalese, along with Pali, played a major role in the development of Theravada Buddhist literature.

The oldest Sinhalese Prakrit inscriptions found are from the third to second century BCE following the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, the oldest existing literary works date from the ninth century. The closest relative of Sinhalese is the language of the Maldives and Minicoy Island (India), the Maldivian language.

Reference: Sinhalese Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: over 7 million (2001 census)
Spoken Natively in: Slovakia; minority language in Czech Republic, Serbia, Hungary
Official Language in: European Union,

Slovak (slovenčina, not to be confused with slovenski jezik or slovenščina, the native name of the Slovene language), sometimes incorrectly referred to as Slovakian is an Indo-European language that belongs to the West Slavic languages (together with Czech, Polish, Silesian, Kashubian, and Sorbian). Slovak is the official language of Slovakia, where it is spoken by 5 million people. There are also Slovak speakers in the United States, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Ireland, Romania, Poland, Canada, Hungary, Croatia, the United Kingdom, Australia, Austria, and Ukraine.

Reference: Slovak Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 2.5 million
Spoken Natively in: Slovenia, Italy (in Friuli Venezia Giulia), Austria (in Carinthia and Styria), Hungary (in Vas); emigrant communities in various countries
Official Language in: Slovenia, European Union, Regional or local official language in: Austria, Hungary Italy

Slovene or Slovenian (slovenski jezik or slovenščina, not to be confused with slovenčina, the native name of Slovak) belongs to the group of South Slavic languages. It is spoken by approximately 2.5 million speakers worldwide, the majority of whom live in Slovenia. It is the first language of about 1.85 million people and is one of the 23 official and working languages of the European Union.

Reference: Slovene Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 15 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Somalia, Djibouti
Official Language in: Somalia

Somali language (Somali: Af-Soomaali; Arabic: اللغة الصومالية‎) is a member of the East Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. Its nearest relatives are Afar and Oromo. Somali is the best documented of the Cushitic languages, with academic studies beginning before 1900.

Reference: Somali Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: at least 5 million
Spoken Natively in: Lesotho, South Africa
Official Language in: Lesotho, South Africa

Sotho language, also known as Sesotho, Southern Sotho, or Southern Sesotho, is a Bantu language spoken primarily in South Africa, where it is one of the 11 official languages, and in Lesotho, where it is the national language. It is an agglutinative language which uses numerous affixes and derivational and inflexional rules to build complete words.

Reference: Sotho Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 405 million (2010) 60 million as a second language
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in: De jure: Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Venezuela De facto: Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Nicaragua, SADR, Uruguay

Spanish (español) is a Romance language that originated in Spain. It is also called Castilian (castellano About this sound listen (help•info)) after the particular region of Spain, Castile, where it originated. There are approximately 407 million people speaking Spanish as a native language, making it the second-most-spoken language by number of native speakers after Mandarin. Spanish has the largest amount of native speakers of any Indo-European language in the world, the largest language family on Earth. Spanish is one of the six official languages of the United Nations, and is used as an official language by the European Union and Mercosur. Spanish is a part of the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several dialects of spoken Latin in central-northern Iberia around the ninth century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile (present northern Spain) into central and southern Iberia during the later Middle Ages. Early in its history, the Spanish vocabulary was enriched by its contact with Basque, Arabic and related Iberian Romance languages, and the language continues to adopt foreign words from a variety of other languages, as well as developing new words. Spanish was taken most notably to the Americas as well as to Africa and Asia-Pacific with the expansion of the Spanish Empire between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries, where it became the most important language for government and trade. Spanish is the most popular second language learned by native speakers of American English. In many other countries as well, in the 21st century, the learning of Spanish as a foreign language has grown significantly, facilitated in part because of the growing population demographics and economic performance of numerous Spanish-speaking countries such as Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Mexico. Growing popularity in extensive international tourism and seeking less expensive retirement destinations for North Americans, Europeans, Australians, and Japanese are other common reasons. Spanish is the most widely understood language in the Western Hemisphere, with significant populations of native Spanish speakers ranging from the tip of Patagonia to as far north as New York City and Chicago. Additionally, there are over 10,000,000 fluent second language speakers in both Brazil and the United States. Since the early 21st century, it has arguably superseded French in becoming the second-most-studied language and the second language in international communication, after English.

Reference: Spanish Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 130,000
Spoken Natively in: Suriname
Official Language in: NA

Sranan (also Sranan Tongo or Sranantongo “Surinamese tongue”, Surinaams, Surinamese, Suriname Creole, Taki Taki) is a creole language spoken as a lingua franca by approximately 500,000 people in Suriname.

Since the language is shared between the Dutch, Javanese, Hindustani, and Chinese-speaking communities, most Surinamese speak it as a lingua franca among both the Surinamese in Suriname, a former Dutch colony, and the immigrants of Surinamese origin in the Netherlands.

Reference: Sranan Tongo Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 38 million
Spoken Natively in: Indonesia
Official Language in: Banten, West Java

Sundanese /sʌndəˈniːz/[4] (Basa Sunda /basa sʊnda/, literally “language of Sunda”) is the language of about 39 million people from the western third of Java or about 15% of the Indonesian population.

Reference: Sundanese Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 1.06 million (2001–2006)
Spoken Natively in: Guinea, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau
Official Language in:

The Susu language (endonym Sosoxui; French: Soussou) is the language of the Susu or Soso people of Guinea and Sierra Leone, West Africa. It is in the Mande language family. It is one of the national languages of Guinea and spoken mainly in the coastal region of the country.

Reference: Susu Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 6 million (2007) 40 million L2 speakers
Spoken Natively in: Burundi, Comoros (as Comorian), DR Congo, Kenya, Mayotte (mostly as Comorian), Mozambique, Oman, Rwanda, Somalia (as Kibajuni and Chimwini), Tanzania, Uganda
Official Language in: African Union Tanzania Kenya Uganda Comoros (as Comorian)

Swahili language or Kiswahili is a Bantu language spoken by various ethnic groups that inhabit several large stretches of the Mozambique Channel coastline from northern Kenya to northern Mozambique, including the Comoros Islands. It is also spoken by ethnic minority groups in Somalia. Although only five million people speak Swahili as their mother tongue, it is used as a lingua franca in much of East Africa, meaning the total number of speakers exceeds 60 million. Swahili serves as a national, or official language, of five nations: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, the Comoros and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Some Swahili vocabulary is derived from Arabic through more than twelve centuries of contact with Arabic-speaking inhabitants of the coast of southeastern Africa. It has also incorporated Persian, German, Portuguese, English, and French words into its vocabulary through contact during the past five centuries.

Reference: Swahili Language (Wikipedia)

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Swati (Swazi)

Native Speakers: 2.3 million (2006–2011) 2.4 million L2 speakers in South Africa (2002)
Spoken Natively in: Swaziland, South Africa, Lesotho, Mozambique
Official Language in: Sri Lanka

The Swazi or Swati language (Swazi: siSwati [siswatʼi]) is a Bantu language of the Nguni group spoken in Swaziland and South Africa by the Swazi people. The number of speakers is estimated to be in the region of 3 million. The language is taught in Swaziland and some South African schools in Mpumalanga, particularly former KaNgwane areas. Swazi is an official language of Swaziland (along with English), and is also one of the eleven official languages of South Africa.

Although the preferred term is “Swati” among native speakers, in English it is generally referred to as Swazi. Swazi is most closely related to the other “Tekela” Nguni languages, like Phuthi and Northern Transvaal (Sumayela) Ndebele, but is also very close to the “Zunda” Nguni languages: Zulu, Southern Ndebele, Northern Ndebele, and Xhosa.

Reference: Swazi Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 8.7 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Sweden, Finland
Official Language in: Sweden, Finland, European Union, Nordic Council

Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish. Along with the other North Germanic languages, Swedish is a descendant of Old Norse, the common language of the Germanic peoples living in Scandinavia during the Viking Era. It is currently the largest of the North Germanic languages by numbers of speakers. Standard Swedish, used by most Swedish people, is the national language that evolved from the Central Swedish dialects in the 19th century and was well established by the beginning of the 20th century. While distinct regional varieties descended from the older rural dialects still exist, the spoken and written language is uniform and standardized. Some dialects differ considerably from the standard language in grammar and vocabulary and are not always mutually intelligible with Standard Swedish. These dialects are confined to rural areas and are spoken primarily by small numbers of people with low social mobility. Though not facing imminent extinction, such dialects have been in decline during the past century, despite the fact that they are well researched and their use is often encouraged by local authorities. The standard word order is subject–verb–object, though this can often be changed to stress certain words or phrases. Swedish morphology is similar to English; that is, words have comparatively few inflections. There are two genders, two grammatical cases, and a distinction between plural and singular. Older analyses posit the cases nominative and genitive and there are some remains of distinct accusative and dative forms as well. Adjectives are compared as in English, and are also inflected according to gender, number and definiteness. The definiteness of nouns is marked primarily through suffixes (endings), complemented with separate definite and indefinite articles. The prosody features both stress and in most dialects tonal qualities. The language has a comparatively large vowel inventory. Swedish is also notable for the voiceless dorso-palatal velar fricative, a highly variable consonant phoneme.

Reference: Swedish Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 11 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Bangladesh (Sylhet Division) and India (Barak Valley and Tripura)
Official Language in:

Sylheti or Syloti (সিলেটী Sileṭi or ছিলটী Silôṭi) is an Eastern Indo-Aryan language variety, primarily spoken in the Sylhet Division of Bangladesh and the Barak Valley region of southern Assam. It has gravitated towards standard Bengali and has been considered a dialect of the Bengali language. Despite incomplete mutual intelligibility, it shares a high proportion of vocabulary with Standard Bengali: Chalmers (1996) reports at least 80% overlap.

Reference: Sylheti Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in:
Official Language in:

Syriac /ˈsɪriæk/ (ܠܫܢܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ Leššānā Suryāyā), also known as Syriac Aramaic, is a dialect of Middle Aramaic that was once spoken across much of the Fertile Crescent and Eastern Arabia. Having first appeared in the early first century AD in Edessa, classical Syriac became a major literary language throughout the Middle East from the 4th to the 8th centuries, the classical language of Edessa, preserved in a large body of Syriac literature. Indeed, Syriac literature comprises roughly 90% of the extant Aramaic literature

Old Aramaic was adopted by the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911-605 BC) when they conquered the various Aramean city-kingdoms to its west. The Achaemenid Empire, which rose after the fall of the Assyrian Empire, also adopted Old Aramaic as its official language and Old Aramaic quickly became the lingua franca of the region. During the course of the third and fourth centuries AD, the inhabitants of the region began to embrace Christianity.

Along with Latin and Greek, Syriac became one of “the three most important Christian languages in the early centuries” of the Christian Era. From the 1st century AD Syriac became the vehicle of Syriac Christianity and culture, and the liturgical language of the Syriac Orthodox Church and subsequently the Church of the East, along with its descendants: the Chaldean Catholic Church, the Assyrian Church of the East, the Ancient Church of the East, the Saint Thomas Christian Churches, and the Assyrian Pentecostal Church.

Syriac Christianity and language spread throughout Asia as far as the Indian Malabar Coast and Eastern China, and was the medium of communication and cultural dissemination for the later Arabs and, to a lesser extent, the Parthian Empire and Sassanid Empire Persians. Primarily a Christian medium of expression, Syriac had a fundamental cultural and literary influence on the development of Arabic, which largely replaced it towards the 14th century. Syriac remains the liturgical language of Syriac Christianity to this day.

Syriac is a Middle Aramaic language and, as such, a language of the Northwestern branch of the Semitic family. It is written in the Syriac alphabet, a derivation of the Aramaic alphabet.

Reference: Syriac Language (Wikipedia)



Native Speakers: 28 million (2007) 96% of the Philippines can speak Tagalog (2000)
Spoken Natively in: Philippines
Official Language in: Philippines Philippines (in the form of Filipino)

Tagalog (Tagalog in Latin Alphabet: Wikang Tagalog or transliterated from Baybayin Alphabet: Wikang Tagalog) (/təˈɡɑːlɒɡ/; Tagalog pronunciation: [tɐˈɡaːloɡ]) is an Austronesian language spoken as a first language by a third of the population of the Philippines and as a second language by most of the rest. It is the first language of the Philippine region IV (CALABARZON and MIMAROPA), of Bulacan and of Metro Manila. Its standardized form, officially named Filipino, is the national language and one of two official languages of the Philippines, the other being English. It is related to other Philippine languages such as Ilokano, Bisayan, and Kapampangan.

Reference: Tagalog Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 7.9 million (2010 census – 2014)
Spoken Natively in: Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan
Official Language in: Tajikistan

Tajik or Tajiki (Persian: تاجیکی‎‎), also known as Tajiki Persian (Persian: فارسی تاجیکی‎‎ [tɔːdʒɪˈkiː]) or Central Asian Persian is the variety of Persian spoken in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It is mutually intelligible and closely related to Iranian Persian and Afghan Persian. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, Tajik has been considered by a number of writers and researchers to be a variety of Persian (Halimov 1974: 30–31, Oafforov 1979: 33). The popularity of this conception of Tajik as a (less prestigious) variety of Persian was such that, during the period in which Tajik intellectuals were trying to establish Tajik as a language separate from Persian, Sadriddin Ayni, who was a prominent intellectual and educator, had to make a statement that Tajik was not a bastardized dialect of Persian. The issue of whether Tajik and Persian are to be considered two dialects of a single language or two discrete languages has political sides to it (see Perry 1996). Today Tajik is recognized as a West-Iranian language.

Tajik is the official language of Tajikistan. In Afghanistan (where Tajiks make up a large part of the population), this language is less influenced by Turkic languages, is called Dari, and has co-official language status. Tajik has diverged from Persian as spoken in Afghanistan and Iran due to political borders, geographical isolation, the standardization process, and the influence of Russian and neighboring Turkic languages. The standard language is based on the northwestern dialects of Tajik (region of old major city of Samarqand), which have been somewhat influenced by the neighboring Uzbek language as a result of geographical proximity. Tajik also retains numerous archaic elements in its vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar that have been lost elsewhere in the Persophone world, in part due to its relative isolation in the mountains of Central Asia.

Reference: Tajik Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 70 million (2007) 8 million as a second language
Spoken Natively in: Nepal, India, Bhutan
Official Language in: Nepal, Sikkim, India

Tamang (Devanagari: तामाङ; tāmāng) is a term used to collectively refer to a dialect cluster spoken mainly in Nepal, Sikkim, West Bengal (Mainly Darjeeling Districts – Some parts of Assam and North East Region. It comprises Eastern Tamang, Northwestern Tamang, Southwestern Tamang, Eastern Gorkha Tamang, and Western Tamang. Lexical similarity between Eastern Tamang (which is regarded as the most prominent) and other Tamang languages varies between 81% to 63%. For comparison, lexical similarity between Spanish and Portuguese, is estimated at 89%.

Reference: Tamang Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 70 million (2007) 8 million as a second language
Spoken Natively in: India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Réunion, Mauritius
Official Language in: Indian states: Tamil Nadu and Andaman and Nicobar Islands Puducherry, Sri Lanka, and Singapore.

Tamil (தமிழ், tamiḻ, [t̪ɐmɨɻ] ?, alternative spelling: Thamizh) is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of South India and North-east Sri Lanka. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Puducherry. Tamil is also a national language of Sri Lanka and an official language of Singapore. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and was declared a classical language by the government of India in 2004. Tamil is also spoken by significant minorities in Malaysia, Canada, USA and Mauritius as well as emigrant communities around the world. Tamil is one of the longest surviving classical languages in the world. It has been described as “the only language of contemporary India which is recognizably continuous with a classical past” and having “one of the richest literatures in the world”. Tamil literature has existed for over 2000 years. The earliest epigraphic records found on rock edicts and hero stones date from around the 3rd century BCE. The earliest period of Tamil literature, Sangam literature, is dated from ca. 300 BCE – 300 CE. Tamil language inscriptions written c. 1st century BCE and 2nd century CE have been discovered in Egypt, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The two earliest manuscripts from India, to be acknowledged and registered by UNESCO Memory of the World register in 1997 and 2005 were in Tamil. More than 55% of the epigraphical inscriptions (about 55,000) found by the Archaeological Survey of India are in the Tamil language. According to a 2001 survey, there were 1,863 newspapers published in Tamil, of which 353 were dailies. It has the oldest extant literature amongst other Dravidian languages. The variety and quality of classical Tamil literature has led to its being described as “one of the great classical traditions and literatures of the world”.

Reference: Tamil Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 6.5 million (2015)
Spoken Natively in: Russia, other post-Soviet states
Official Language in: Rusisia
The Tatar language (татар теле, татарча, tatar tele, tatarça, تاتار تيلی or طاطار تيلي[3]) is a Turkic language spoken by Volga Tatars mainly located in modern Tatarstan, Bashkortostan and Nizhny Novgorod Oblast. It should not be confused with the Crimean Tatar language, to which it is remotely related but with which it is not mutually intelligible.

Reference: Tatar Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 76 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: India worldwide diaspora
Official Language in: India

Telugu (తెలుగు telugu, IPA: [t̪eluɡu]) is a South-Central Dravidian language primarily spoken in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, where it is an official language. It is also spoken in the neighbouring states of Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamil Nadu, and is spoken in the bordering city of Yanam, in the neighboring territory of Pondicherry. According to the 2001 Census of India, Telugu is the language with the third largest number of native speakers in India (74 million), thirteenth in the Ethnologue list of most-spoken languages worldwide, and most spoken Dravidian language. It is one of the twenty-two scheduled languages of the Republic of India and one of the four classical languages. Telugu was influenced by Sanskrit and Prakrit. Telugu borrowed several features of Sanskrit that have subsequently been lost in Sanskrit’s daughter languages such as Hindi and Bengali, especially in the pronunciation of some vowels and consonants. It has also been influenced by Urdu around Hyderabad city. Telugu is written in a Brahmic alphabet.

Reference: Telugu Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 500,000 (2004) Tetun Dili widespread in East Timor as L2
Spoken Natively in: Indonesia, East Timor
Official Language in: East Timor

Tetum (also Tetun) is an Austronesian language spoken on the island of Timor. It is spoken in Belu Regency in Indonesian West Timor, and across the border in East Timor, where it is one of the two official languages. In East Timor a creolized form, Tetun Dili, is widely spoken fluently as a second language; without previous contact, Tetum and Tetun Dili are unintelligible. Besides the grammatical simplification involved in creolization, Tetun Dili has been greatly influenced by the vocabulary of Portuguese, the other official language of East Timor.

Reference: Tetum Language


Native Speakers: 20 million (2000) Total: 60 million (including second-language speakers, 2001)
Spoken Natively in: Thailand
Official Language in: Thailand

Thai (ภาษาไทย Phasa Thai [pʰāːsǎː tʰāj] ), more precisely Central Thai or Siamese, is the national and official language of Thailand and the native language of the Thai people, Thailand’s dominant ethnic group. Thai is a member of the Tai group of the Tai–Kadai language family. Some words in Thai are borrowed from Pali, Sanskrit and Old Khmer. It is a tonal and analytic language. Thai also has a complex orthography and relational markers. Thai is mutually intelligible with Lao. Native speakers of these two languages can understand one another without great difficulty.

Reference: Thai Language (Wikipedia)

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Tibetan (Tibetic Language)

Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in: China, India, Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan
Official Language in:

The Tibetic languages (Tibetan: བོད་སྐད།) are a cluster of Sino-Tibetan languages spoken primarily by Tibetan peoples, who live across a wide area of eastern Central Asia bordering the Indian subcontinent, including the Tibetan Plateau and the northern Indian subcontinent in Baltistan, Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, and Bhutan. Classical Tibetan is a major regional literary language, particularly for its use in Buddhist literature.

The Central Tibetan language (the dialects of Ü-Tsang, including Lhasa), Khams Tibetan, and Amdo Tibetan are generally considered to be dialects of a single language, especially since they all share the same literary language, while Dzongkha, Sikkimese, Sherpa, and Ladakhi are generally considered to be separate languages.

The Tibetic languages are spoken by some 8 million or more people. With the worldwide spread of Tibetan Buddhism, the Tibetan language has spread into the western world and can be found in many Buddhist publications and prayer materials; with some western students learning the language for translation of Tibetan texts. Outside of Lhasa itself, Lhasa Tibetan is spoken by approximately 200,000 exile speakers who have moved from modern-day Tibet to India and other countries. Tibetan is also spoken by groups of ethnic minorities in Tibet who have lived in close proximity to Tibetans for centuries, but nevertheless retain their own languages and cultures.

Although some of the Qiang peoples of Kham are classified by China as ethnic Tibetans, Qiangic languages are not Tibetic, but rather form their own branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family.

Classical Tibetan was not a tonal language, but some varieties such as Central and Khams Tibetan have developed tone registers. Amdo and Ladakhi-Balti are without tone. Tibetic morphology can generally be described as agglutinative

Reference: Tibetic Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 6.9 million (2006 – 2007 census)
Spoken Natively in: Eritrea, Ethiopia
Official Language in: Eritrea, Ethiopia

Tigrinya, often written as Tigrigna /tɪˈɡriːnjə/ (ትግርኛ Tigriññā) is a member of the Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic languages. It is spoken by ethnic Tigray-Tigrinya people in the Horn of Africa. Tigrigna speakers primarily inhabit the Tigray Region in northern Ethiopia (57%), where its speakers are called Tigrawot (feminine Tigrāweyti, male Tigraway, plural Tegaru), as well as the contiguous borders of southern and central Eritrea (43%), where speakers are known as the Tigrigna. Tigrigna is also spoken by groups of emigrants from these regions, including some Beta Israel. Tigrigna should not be confused with the related Tigre language. The latter Afro-Asiatic language is spoken by the Tigre people, who inhabit the lowland regions of Eritrea to the north and west of the Tigrigna speech area.

Reference: Tigrinya Language

Tok Pisin

Native Speakers: 122,000 (2004) 4 million L2 speakers
Spoken Natively in: Papua New Guinea
Official Language in: Papua New Guinea

Tok Pisin (ˌtɔːk ˈpɪsɪn/; Tok Pisin [ˌtokpiˈsin]) is a creole spoken throughout Papua New Guinea. It is an official language of Papua New Guinea and the most widely used language in that country. In parts of Western, Gulf, Central, Oro Province and Milne Bay Provinces, however, the use of Tok Pisin has a shorter history, and is less universal, especially among older people. Between five and six million people use Tok Pisin to some degree, although by no means do all of these speak it well. Between one and two million are exposed to it as a first language, in particular the children of parents or grandparents originally speaking different vernaculars (for example, a mother from Madang and a father from Rabaul). Urban families in particular, and those of police and defence force members, often communicate among themselves in Tok Pisin, either never gaining fluency in a vernacular (“tok ples”), or learning a vernacular as a second (or third) language, after Tok Pisin (and possibly English). Perhaps one million people now use Tok Pisin as a primary language.

Reference: Tok Pisin Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 1.5 million (2001–2010 census)
Spoken Natively in: Zambia, Zimbabwe
Official Language in: Zimbabwe

The Tonga language, Chitonga, of Zambia and Zimbabwe, also known as Zambezi, is a Bantu Language primarily spoken by the Tonga people in those countries who live mainly in the Southern and Western provinces of Zambia, and in northern Zimbabwe, with a few in Mozambique. The language is also spoken by the Iwe, Toka and Leya people, perhaps by the Kafwe Twa (if that is not Ila), as well as many bilingual Zambians and Zimbabweans. It is one of the major lingua francas in Zambia, together with Bemba, Lozi and Nyanja. The Tonga of Malawi is not particularly close.

The Tonga speaking inhabitants are the oldest Bantu settlers, with the Tumbuka, a small tribe in the east, in what is known as Zambia. There are two distinctive dialects of the Tonga, Valley Tonga and Plateau Tonga. Valley Tonga is mostly spoken in the Zambezi valley and southern areas of the Batonga (Tonga People) while Plateau Tonga is spoken more around Monze district and the northern areas of the Batonga.

Tonga (Chitonga or iciTonga) developed as a spoken language and was not put into written form until missionaries arrived in the area. The language is not standardized, and speakers of the same dialect may have different spellings for the same words once put into written text.

At least some speakers have a bilabial nasal click where neighboring dialects have /mw/, as in mwana ‘child’ and kumwa ‘to drink’.

Maho (2009) removes Shanjo as a separate, and not very closely related, language.

Reference: Tonga Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 96,000 in Tonga (1998)
Spoken Natively in: Tonga
Official Language in: Tonga
Tongan /ˈtɒŋən/ (lea fakatonga) is an Austronesian language of the Polynesian branch spoken in Tonga. It has around 200,000 speakers and is a national language of Tonga. It is a VSO (verb–subject–object) language.

Reference: Tongan Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 3.7 million (2006)
Spoken Natively in: Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe
Official Language in: South Africa

Tsonga or Xitsonga language is spoken in southern Africa by the Tsonga people, also known as the Shangaan.

Reference: Tsonga Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 3.4 million in South Africa (2006) 1.1 million in Botswana (1993)
Spoken Natively in: Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia
Official Language in: Botswana South Africa

Tswana or Setswana is a language spoken in Southern Africa by about 4.5 million people. It is a Bantu language belonging to the Niger–Congo language family within the Sotho languages branch of Zone S (S.30), and is closely related to the Northern- and Southern Sotho languages, as well as the Kgalagadi language and the Lozi language. Tswana is an official language and lingua franca of Botswana spoken by almost 1.1 million of its inhabitants. However, the majority of Tswana speakers are found in South Africa where 3.4 million people speak the language. Until 1994, South African Tswana people were notionally citizens of Bophuthatswana, one of the few bantustans that actually became reality as planned by the Apartheid regime. A small number of speakers are also found in Zimbabwe and Namibia, where 29,400 and 12,300 people speak the language, respectively.

Reference: Tswana Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 2.6 million (2006–2010)
Spoken Natively in: Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi
Official Language in:

The Tumbuka language is a Bantu language which is spoken in the Northern Region of Malawi and also in the Lundazi district of Zambia. It is also known as Chitumbuka or Citumbuka — the chi- prefix in front of Tumbuka means “the language of”, and is understood in this case to mean “the language of (the Tumbuka people)”. Tumbuka belongs to the same language group (Guthrie Zone N) as Chewa and Sena.

The World Almanac (1998) estimates that there are approximately 2,000,000 Tumbuka speakers, though other sources estimate a much smaller number. The majority of Tumbuka speakers are said to live in Malawi. Tumbuka is the most widely spoken of the languages of Northern Malawi, especially in the Rumphi, Mzuzu, and Mzimba districts.

There are substantial differences between the form of Tumbuka spoken in urban areas of Malawi (which borrows some words from Swahili and Chewa) and the “village” or “deep” Tumbuka spoken in villages. The Rumphi variant is often regarded as the most “linguistically pure”, and is sometimes called “real Tumbuka”. The Mzimba dialect has been strongly influenced by Zulu (chiNgoni), even so far as to have clicks in words like chitha [ʇʰitʰa] “urinate”, which do not occur in other dialects.

The Tumbuka language suffered during the rule of President Hastings Kamuzu Banda, since in 1968 as a result of his one-nation, one-language policy it lost its status as an official language in Malawi. As a result, Tumbuka was removed from the school curriculum, the national radio, and the print media. With the advent of multi-party democracy in 1994, Tumbuka programmes were started again on the radio, but the number of books and other publications in Tumbuka remains low.

Reference: Tumbuka Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 63 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Turkey, Germany, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Northern Cyprus, Greece, Azerbaijan, Kosovo, Romania
Official Language in: Turkey Northern Cyprus (recognized by Turkey), Cyprus

Turkish, also referred to as Istanbul Turkish or Anatolian Turkish, is the most populous of the Turkic languages, with over 70 million native speakers. Speakers are located predominantly in Turkey, with smaller groups in Germany, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Northern Cyprus, Greece, and other parts of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia. The roots of the language can be traced to Central Asia, with the first known written records dating back nearly 1,300 years. To the west, the influence of Ottoman Turkish—the variety of the Turkish language that was used as the administrative and literary language of the Ottoman Empire—spread as the Ottoman Empire expanded. In 1928, as one of Atatürk’s Reforms in the early years of the Republic of Turkey, the Ottoman script was replaced with a Latin alphabet. Concurrently, the newly founded Turkish Language Association initiated a drive to reform and standardize the language. The distinctive characteristics of Turkish are vowel harmony and extensive agglutination. The basic word order of Turkish is subject–object–verb. Turkish has no noun classes or grammatical gender. Turkish has a strong T–V distinction and usage of honorifics. Turkish uses second-person pronouns that distinguish varying levels of politeness, social distance, age, courtesy or familiarity toward the addressee. The plural second-person pronoun and verb forms are used referring to a single person out of respect. On occasion, double plural second person “sizler” may be used to refer to a much-respected person.

Reference: Turkish Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 7 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Turkmenistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Stavropol krai (Russia)
Official Language in: Turkmenistan

Turkmen (türkmençe, türkmen dili, Cyrillic: түркменче, түркмен дили, Persian: تورکمن ﺗﻴﻠی, تورکمنچه), a Turkic language, is the national language of Turkmenistan. It is spoken by 4 million people in Turkmenistan, and by an additional 700,000 in northwestern Afghanistan and 1,400,000 in northeastern Iran.

Reference: Turkmen Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 10,000 in Tuvalu (2015) 2,000 in other countries
Spoken Natively in: Tuvalu, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand
Official Language in: Tuvalu

Tuvaluan /tuːvəˈluːən/, often called Tuvalu, is a Polynesian language of or closely related to the Ellicean group spoken in Tuvalu. It is more or less distantly related to all other Polynesian languages, such as Hawaiian, Maori, Tahitian, Samoan, and Tongan, and most closely related to the languages spoken on the Polynesian Outliers in Micronesia and Northern and Central Melanesia. Tuvaluan has borrowed considerably from Samoan, the language of Christian missionaries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The population of Tuvalu is approximately 10,837 people (2012 Population & Housing Census Preliminary Analytical Report) There are estimated to be more than 13,000 Tuvaluan speakers worldwide. In 2015 it was estimated that more than 3,500 Tuvaluans live in New Zealand, with about half that number born in New Zealand and 65 percent of the Tuvaluan community in New Zealand is able to speak Tuvaluan.

Reference: Tuvaluan Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 9 million (2015)
Spoken Natively in: Ashanti
Official Language in: Ashanti City-State and the Ashanti City-State capital Kumasi

Twi (pronounced [tɕɥi]) or Asante Twi, is spoken by over 9 million ethnic Ashanti people as a first language and second language. Twi (or Asante Twi) is a common name for two former literary dialects of the Akan language, Asante (Ashanti) and Akuapem, which are mutually intelligible. There are about 9 million Twi speakers, mainly in Ashanti. Akuapem Twi was the first Akan dialect to be used for Bible translation, and became the prestige dialect as a result

Reference: Twi Language (Wikipedia)



Native Speakers: 10.4 million (2010 Census)
Spoken Natively in: Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China
Official Language in: China

The Uyghur or Uighur (/ˈwiːɡər/) language (Uyghur: ئۇيغۇر تىلى, Уйғур тили Uyghur tili), formerly known as Eastern Turki, is a Turkic language with 8 to 11 million speakers, spoken primarily by the Uyghur people in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of Western China. Significant communities of Uyghur-speakers are located in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, and various other countries have Uyghur-speaking expatriate communities. Uyghur is an official language of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and is widely used in both social and official spheres, as well as in print, radio, and television, and is used as a lingua franca by other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.[citation needed]

Uyghur belongs to the Karluk branch of the Turkic language family, which also includes languages such as Uzbek. Like many other Turkic languages, Uyghur displays vowel harmony and agglutination, lacks noun classes or grammatical gender, and is a left-branching language with subject–object–verb word order. More distinctly Uyghur processes include, especially in northern dialects, vowel reduction and umlauting. In addition to influence of other Turkic languages, Uyghur has historically been influenced strongly by Persian and Arabic, and more recently by Mandarin Chinese and Russian.

The modified Arabic-derived writing system is the most common and the only standard in China, although other writing systems are used for auxiliary and historical purposes. Unlike most Arabic-derived scripts, the Uyghur Arabic alphabet has mandatory marking of all vowels due to modifications to the original Perso-Arabic script made in the 20th century. Two Latin and one Cyrillic alphabet are also used, though to a much lesser extent. The Arabic and Latin alphabets both have 32 characters.

Reference: Uyghur Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 30 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Ukraine
Official Language in: Ukraine Transnistria (unrecognized de facto state)

Ukrainian (украї́нська мо́ва / ukrayins’ka mova, [ukrɑˈjɪɲsʲkɑ ˈmɔwɑ], formerly Ruthenian – ру́ська, руси́нська мо́ва / rus’ka, rusyns’ka mova) is a member of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine and the principal language of the Ukrainians. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic script. The Ukrainian language traces its origins to the Old East Slavic of the early medieval state of Kievan Rus’. Ukrainian is a lineal descendant of the colloquial language used in Kievan Rus’ (10th–13th century). From 1804 until the Russian Revolution Ukrainian was banned from schools in the Russian Empire of which Ukraine was a part at the time. It has always maintained a sufficient base in Western Ukraine where the language was never banned in its folklore songs, itinerant musicians, and prominent authors. The standard Ukrainian language is regulated by the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NANU), particularly by its Institute for the Ukrainian Language, Ukrainian language-informatical fund, and Potebnya Institute of Language Studies. Ukrainian, Russian, Belarusian, and Rusyn have a high degree of mutual intelligibility. Lexically, the closest to Ukrainian is Belarusian (84% of common vocabulary), followed by Polish (70%), Serbo-Croatian (68%), Slovak (66%) and Russian (62%).

Reference: Ukrainian Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 66 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Pakistan, India
Official Language in: Pakistan, India

Urdu /ˈʊərduː/ (Urdu: اُردُو‎ [ˈʊrd̪u]), or more precisely Standard Urdu, is a register of the Hindi-Urdu language. It is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan, and is also widely spoken in India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages and an official language of five states. In Nepal it’s 10th largest language according to the latest census. Based on the Khariboli dialect of Delhi, Urdu developed under the influence of Persian, Arabic, and Turkic languages over the course of almost 900 years. It began to take shape in the region of Uttar Pradesh in the Indian subcontinent during the Delhi Sultanate (1206–1527), and continued to develop under the Mughal Empire (1526–1858). Urdu is mutually intelligible with Standard Hindi spoken in India. Both languages share the same Indo-Aryan base, and are so similar in basic structure, grammar and to large extend vocabulary and phonology, that they appear to be one language. The combined population of Urdu and Standard Hindi speakers is the fourth largest in the world. Mughals hailed from the Barlas tribe which was of Mongol origin, the tribe had embraced Turkic and Persian culture, and resided in Turkestan and Khorasan. Their mother tongue was the Chaghatai language (known to them as Turkī, “Turkic”) and they were equally at home in Persian, the lingua franca of the Timurid elite. But after their arrival in the Indian subcontinent, the need to communicate with local inhabitants led to use of Indo-Aryan languages written in the Persian alphabet, with some literary conventions and vocabulary retained from Persian and Turkic; this eventually became a new standard called Hindustani, which is the direct predecessor of Urdu. Urdu is often contrasted with Hindi. Apart from religious associations, the differences are largely restricted to the standard forms: Standard Urdu is conventionally written in the Nastaliq style of the Persian alphabet and relies heavily on Persian and Arabic as a source for technical and literary vocabulary, whereas Standard Hindi is conventionally written in Devanāgarī and draws on Sanskrit. However, both have large numbers of Arabic, Persian and Sanskrit words, and most linguists consider them to be two standardized forms of the same language, and consider the differences to be sociolinguistic, though a few classify them separately. Mutual intelligibility decreases in literary and specialized contexts which rely on educated vocabulary. Due to religious nationalism since the partition of British India and continued communal tensions, native speakers of both Hindi and Urdu frequently assert them to be distinct languages, despite the numerous similarities between the two in a colloquial setting. However, it is quite easy in a longer conversation to distinguish differences in vocabulary and pronunciation of some Urdu letters.

Reference: Urdu Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 26 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Russia, China
Official Language in: Uzbekistan

Uzbek (Oʻzbek tili or Oʻzbekcha in Latin script, Ўзбек тили or Ўзбекча in Cyrillic script; اوزبیک تیلی or اوزبیکچه in Arabic script) is a Turkic language and the official language of Uzbekistan. It has about 35.3 million native speakers, and it is spoken by the Uzbeks in Uzbekistan and elsewhere in Central Asia. Uzbek belongs to the southeastern Turkic or Karluk family of Turkic languages, from which it gets its lexicon and grammar, while other influences rose from Persian, Arabic and Russian. One of the most distinguishing aspects of Uzbek from other Turkic languages is its rounding of the vowel /a/ to /ɒ/ or /ɔ/, a feature influenced by Persian.

Reference: Uzbek Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 980,000 in South Africa (2006) 84,000 in Zimbabwe (1989)
Spoken Natively in: South Africa, Zimbabwe
Official Language in: South Africa

Venda, also known as Tshivenḓa or Luvenḓa, is a Bantu language and an official language of South Africa. The majority of Venda speakers live in the northern part of South Africa’s Limpopo Province, but about 10% of its speakers live in Zimbabwe. The Venda language is related to Kalanga (Western Shona, different from Shona, official language of Zimbabwe) which is spoken in Botswana and Zimbabwe. During the Apartheid era of South Africa, the bantustan of Venda was set up to cover the Venda speakers of South Africa.

Reference: Venda Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 76 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Vietnam, Vietnamese diaspora
Official Language in: Vietnam

Vietnamese (tiếng Việt) is the national, official language of Vietnam. It is the mother tongue of Vietnamese people (Kinh), and of about three million Vietnamese residing elsewhere. It also is spoken as a first or second language by many ethnic minorities of Vietnam. It is part of the Austro-Asiatic language family of which it has, by far, the most speakers (several times that of the other combined Austro-Asiatic languages.)[citation needed] Much of Vietnamese vocabulary has been borrowed from Chinese, and it formerly used a modified Chinese writing system and given vernacular pronunciation. As a byproduct of French colonial rule, Vietnamese was influenced by the French language; the Vietnamese alphabet (quốc ngữ) in use today is a Latin alphabet with additional diacritics for tones, and certain letters.

Reference: Vietnamese Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers:
Spoken Natively in: Philippines
Official Language in: Regional language in the Philippines

The Visayan or Bisaya languages of the Philippines, along with Tagalog and Bikol, are part of the Central Philippine languages. Most Visayan languages are spoken in the Visayas region but they are also spoken in the Bicol Region (particularly in Masbate), islands south of Luzon such as those that make up Romblon, most of the areas of Mindanao, and the province of Sulu located southwest of Mindanao. Some residents of Metro Manila also speak Visayan.

Over thirty languages constitute the Visayan language family. The Visayan language with the most speakers is Cebuano, spoken by 20 million people as a native language in Central Visayas, parts of Eastern Visayas and Negros Island Region and most of Mindanao. Two other well-known and widespread Visayan languages are Hiligaynon, spoken by 7 million in most of the Western Visayas, Negros Island Region and Cotabato region; and Waray, spoken by 3 million in Eastern Visayas.

Reference: Visayan Language (Wikipedia)



Native Speakers: 2.6 million (2000) 5th most spoken native language in the Philippines
Spoken Natively in: Philippines
Official Language in: Regional language in the Philippines

Waray (also Waray-Waray, Samar-Leyte, Winaray, Binisaya nga Winaray, Samarenyo and Lineyte-Samarnon) is the fifth-most-spoken native language of the Philippines, specific to the provinces of Samar, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Biliran, and in the north-east of Leyte Island (surrounding Tacloban). The name comes from the word often heard by non-speakers, “waray” (meaning “none” or “nothing”), in the same way that Cebuanos are known in Leyte as “mga Kana” (after the oft-heard word “kana”, meaning “that”, among people speaking the Cebuano language).

Reference: Waray Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 770,700 total speakers (2004) — Wales: 611,000 speakers, around 21.7% of the population of Wales (all skills), with 57% (315,000) considering themselves fluent — England: 150,000 — Chubut Province, Argentina: 5,000 — United States: 2,500 — Canada: 2,200
Spoken Natively in: Wales and Argentina
Official Language in: Wales

Welsh (Cymraeg or y Gymraeg, pronounced [kəmˈrɑːɨɡ, ə ɡəmˈrɑːɨɡ]) is a member of the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages spoken natively in Wales, by some along the Welsh border in England, and in Y Wladfa (the Welsh colony in Chubut Province, Argentina).Historically, it has also been known in English as “the British tongue”, “Cambrian”,”Cambric” and “Cymric”. A 2004 survey by the Welsh Language Board indicated that 21.7% of the population of Wales (611,000 people)were able to speak the language, compared with 20.8% in the 2001 Census. Of those 611,000 Welsh speakers, 57% (315,000) considered themselves fluent, and 78% (477,000) considered themselves fluent or “fair” speakers. 62% of speakers (340,000) claimed to speak the language daily, including 88% of fluent speakers. A greeting in Welsh is one of 55 languages included on the Voyager Golden Record chosen to be representative of Earth in NASA’s Voyager program launched in 1977. The greetings are unique to each language, with the Welsh greeting being Iechyd da i chwi yn awr ac yn oesoedd which translates into English as “Good health to you now and forever”. The Welsh Language Measure 2011 gave the Welsh language official status in Wales, making it the only language that is de jure official in any part of the United Kingdom.

Reference: Welsh Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 4.2 million (2006)
Spoken Natively in: Senegal, Gambia, Mauritania
Official Language in:

Wolof (/ˈwɒlɒf/) is a language of Senegal, the Gambia, and Mauritania, and the native language of the Wolof people. Like the neighbouring languages Serer and Fula, it belongs to the Senegambian branch of the Niger–Congo language family. Unlike most other languages of Sub-Saharan Africa, Wolof is not a tonal language.

Wolof originated as the language of the Lebou people. It is the most widely spoken language in Senegal, spoken natively by the Wolof people (40% of the population) but also by most other Senegalese as a second language[citation needed]. Wolof dialects vary geographically and between rural and urban areas. “Dakar-Wolof”, for instance, is an urban mixture of Wolof, French, and Arabic.

“Wolof” is the standard spelling and may refer to the Wolof people or to Wolof culture. Variants include the older French Ouolof and the principally Gambian “Wollof”. “Jolof”, “jollof”, etc., now typically refers either to the former Wolof state or to a common West African rice dish. Now-archaic forms include “Volof” and “Olof”.

Wolof words in English are believed to include yum/yummy, from Wolof nyam “to taste”; nyam in Barbadian English meaning “to eat” (also compare Seychellois nyanmnyanm, also meaning “to eat”); and banana, via Spanish or Portuguese

Reference: Wolof Language (Wikipedia)



Native Speakers: 7.8 million (2006)
Spoken Natively in: South Africa, Lesotho
Official Language in: South Africa

Xhosa /ˈkoʊsə/ (Xhosa: isiXhosa [isikǁʰóːsa]) is one of the official languages of South Africa. Xhosa is spoken by approximately 7.9 million people, or about 18% of the South African population. Like most Bantu languages, Xhosa is a tonal language, that is, the same sequence of consonants and vowels can have different meanings when said with a rising or falling or high or low intonation. One of the most distinctive features of the language is the prominence of click consonants; the word “Xhosa” begins with a click. Xhosa is written using a Latin alphabet. Three letters are used to indicate the basic clicks: c for dental clicks, x for lateral clicks, and q for post-alveolar clicks (for a more detailed explanation, see the table of consonant phonemes, below). Tones are not indicated in the written form.

Reference: Xhosa Language (Wikipedia)



Native Speakers: 7.8 million (2006)
Spoken Natively in: South Africa, Lesotho
Official Language in: South Africa

Native Speakers: 480,000 Yakuts (2010 census)
Spoken Natively in: Russia
Official Language in: Sakha Republic (Russia)

Yakut, also known as Sakha, is a Turkic language with around 360,000 native speakers spoken in the Sakha Republic in the Russian Federation by the Yakuts.

Like all Turkic languages, Yakut is an agglutinative language and employs vowel harmony.

Reference: Yakut Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 1.8 million (no date) 11 million L2 speakers
Spoken Natively in: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Moldova, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, and elsewhere
Official Language in: Jewish Autonomous Oblast, Russia

Yiddish (ייִדיש yidish or אידיש idish, literally “Jewish”) is a High German language of Ashkenazi Jewish origin, spoken in many parts of the world. It developed as a fusion of Hebrew and Aramaic into German dialects with the infusion of Slavic and traces of Romance languages. It is written in the Hebrew alphabet. The language originated in the Ashkenazi culture that developed from about the 10th century in the Rhineland and then spread to Central and Eastern Europe and eventually to other continents. In the earliest surviving references to it, the language is called לשון־אַשכּנז (loshn-ashknez = “language of Ashkenaz”) and טײַטש (taytsh, a variant of tiutsch, the contemporary name for the language otherwise spoken in the region of origin, now called Middle High German). In common usage, the language is called מאַמע־לשון (mame-loshn, literally “mother tongue”), distinguishing it from Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic, which are collectively termed לשון־קודש (loshn-koydesh, “holy tongue”). The term “Yiddish” did not become the most frequently used designation in the literature of the language until the 18th century. For a significant portion of its history, Yiddish was the primary spoken language of the Ashkenazi Jews and once spanned a broad dialect continuum from Western Yiddish to three major groups within Eastern Yiddish, namely Litvish, Poylish and Ukrainish. Eastern and Western Yiddish are most markedly distinguished by the extensive inclusion of words of Slavic origin in the Eastern dialects. While Western Yiddish has few remaining speakers, Eastern dialects remain in wide use. Yiddish is written and spoken in many Orthodox Jewish communities around the world, although there are also a number of Orthodox Jews who do not know Yiddish. It is a home language in most Hasidic communities, where it is the first language learned in childhood, used in schools and in many social settings. Yiddish is also the academic language of the study of the Talmud according to the tradition of the Lithuanian yeshivas.

Yiddish is also used in the adjectival sense to designate attributes of Ashkenazic Jewish culture (for example, Yiddish cooking and Yiddish music).

Reference: Yiddish Language (Wikipedia)


Native Speakers: 28 million (2007)
Spoken Natively in: Nigeria, Togo, Benin
Official Language in: Nigeria

Yoruba language (natively èdè Yorùbá) is a Niger–Congo language spoken in West Africa. The number of speakers of Yoruba was estimated at around 20 million in the 1990s. The native tongue of the Yoruba people, is spoken, among other languages, in Nigeria, Benin, and Togo and in communities in other parts of Africa, Europe and the Americas. A variety of the language, Lucumi, from olukunmi is used as the liturgical language of the Santeria religion of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and the United States. It is most closely related to the Owo and Itsekiri language (spoken in the Niger-Delta) and Igala spoken in central Nigeria.

Reference: Yoruba Language (Wikipedia)


Zo, Zou, Zomi

Native Speakers: 187,500 speakers
Spoken Natively in: Burma, India
Official Language in: Burma

Zou or Zokam (literally “of the hills”), or ZoZomiYoYaw, or Jo, is a Northern Kuki-Chin-Mizo language[2] originating in northwestern Burma and spoken also in Mizoram and Manipur in northeastern India, where the name is spelled Zo. The name Zou is sometimes used as a cover term for the languages of all Mizo people (zo people) i.e.Kukish and Chin peoples, especially the Zo people.

Reference: Zo, Zou, Zomi  Language (Wikipedia)

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Native Speakers: 10.4 million (2007) 16 million L2 speakers
Spoken Natively in: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland
Official Language in: South Africa

Zulu (isiZulu in Zulu) is the language of the Zulu people with about 10 million speakers, the vast majority (over 95%) of whom live in South Africa. Zulu is the most widely spoken home language in South Africa (24% of the population) as well as being understood by over 50% of the population (Ethnologue 2005). It became one of South Africa’s eleven official languages in 1994. According to Ethnologue, it is the second most widely spoken Bantu language after Shona. Like many other Bantu languages, it is written using the Latin alphabet.

Reference: Zulu Language (Wikipedia)