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Top World Languages Quiz

We have a list of the top 60 world languages by estimated number of native speakers. How many can you guess?
For the year 2010. Source: Wikipedia
Chinese and Hindustani dialects need to be guessed separately
Last updated: November 02, 2018
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#
Language
955 mil
Mandarin
405 mil
Spanish
360 mil
English
310 mil
Hindi
295 mil
Arabic
215 mil
Portuguese
205 mil
Bengali
155 mil
Russian
125 mil
Japanese
102 mil
Punjabi
89 mil
German
82 mil
Javanese
80 mil
Wu
77 mil
Malay/Indonesian
76 mil
Telugu
#
Language
76 mil
Vietnamese
76 mil
Korean
75 mil
French
73 mil
Marathi
70 mil
Tamil
66 mil
Urdu
63 mil
Turkish
59 mil
Italian
59 mil
Cantonese
56 mil
Thai
49 mil
Gujarati
48 mil
Jin
47 mil
Min Nan
45 mil
Persian
40 mil
Polish
#
Language
39 mil
Pashto
38 mil
Kannada
38 mil
Xiang
38 mil
Malayalam
38 mil
Sundanese
34 mil
Hausa
33 mil
Oriya
33 mil
Burmese
31 mil
Hakka
30 mil
Ukrainian
29 mil
Bhojpuri
28 mil
Tagalog
28 mil
Yoruba
27 mil
Maithili
26 mil
Uzbek
#
Language
26 mil
Sindhi
25 mil
Amharic
25 mil
Fula
24 mil
Romanian
24 mil
Oromo
24 mil
Igbo
23 mil
Azerbaijani
22 mil
Awadhi
22 mil
Gan
21 mil
Cebuano
21 mil
Dutch
21 mil
Kurdish
19 mil
Serbo-Croatian
+3
level ∞
Sep 5, 2014
This quiz has been reset since Wikipedia has changed the source data they use. I think this version is probably more accurate.
+1
level 74
Oct 3, 2014
Amharic and Oromo show up on the list now. That's the one change I noticed.
+2
level 75
Sep 9, 2014
I was surprised that Greek wasn't on the list.
+13
level 80
Sep 10, 2014
Well, they're all Greek to me.
+11
level 74
May 7, 2016
1500 years ago it certainly would have been.
+1
level 25
Jul 15, 2016
As am I.
+6
level 70
Sep 15, 2016
It would struggle - Greece only has 10 million or so people, Cyprus has less than a million when you take out the Turkish speakers and they're the only countries where it is a first language. Most of the diaspora would have long changed to speaking the native tongue of their new lands, there'd be a few million at most who still use it as their first language. Here in Australia we have perhaps half a million of Greek descent, but I would be surprised if even 5% of those still speak Greek as a first language (and probably most don't speak it at all). Wikipedia says Greek has about 13 million speakers, which sounds about right to me.
+1
level 72
Nov 2, 2018
Blame the ottomans
+2
level 74
Nov 5, 2018
Not really. Most of the former-Greek-speaking world now speaks Arabic. Plus some Turkish, Hebrew, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Persian and Urdu. Mostly blame the Arab caliphs. They were much more aggressive about destroying/repressing/subverting/subsuming local culture than the Ottomans ever were. At least up until toward the end of the Ottoman Empire when things were already starting to fall apart.
+1
level 48
Sep 23, 2014
There should be a sign language version of this.
+1
level 44
Apr 25, 2015
+1
level 59
Oct 3, 2014
I only got 24, but most of the ones I missed were ones that I hadn't heard of before.
+1
level 15
Oct 3, 2014
im surprised english isnt the top
+9
level 24
Oct 3, 2014
based on native speakers only, considering what the population of China is, it was bound to be above English, however ALL English speakers would put the language first I believe
+1
level 57
Sep 16, 2016
English isn't the top, even if you were to consider all speakers, regardless of what their first language may be, (although this lets English take Spanish's place as second most spoken language). Even though English is growing is speakers, it is unlikely to be first anytime soon due to the growth of Mandarin
+4
level 74
May 12, 2018
If you count everyone who speaks even intermediate or rudimentary English then it is easily #1.
+1
level 32
Feb 1, 2017
Well, the numbers are based on native speakers. I am fairly certain, that English is on top, if non-native speakers were included. Practically everyone from European countries, and other big nations, at least know some English.
+8
level 35
Feb 3, 2017
I'm surprised British, Mexican, Australian, Indian, or African weren't on this list
+1
level 66
Oct 3, 2014
Countries which are given as English as primary languages, plus Isle of Man and Norfolk Island total = 602,834,228 Of course many more countries have English as one of the official languages but not primary.
+15
level 56
Jun 7, 2017
I bet Isle of Man and Norfolk Island made a huge difference to the overall total!
+1
level 74
Oct 3, 2014
You should probably accept Visaya/Bisaya for Cebuano.
+1
level ∞
Oct 3, 2014
We accept Binisaya/Visayan.
+1
level 74
Oct 3, 2014
hm... okay. Nobody in the Philippines says Visayan. They all say "Visayas." Sometimes Cebuano. Never heard Binisaya before.
+1
level 7
Oct 3, 2014
Funny how Philippines messed with their languages. They call Tagalog as Filipino given that the latter should only refer to the entire Nation, while the former should only refer to Manila and nearby areas only. Same with Cebuano, as they call it Visayan given that the word 'Visayan' originally exclusively refers to the people of Panay Island where i came from, that happens to be non-Cebuano speakers but speaks Aklanon, Karay-a, and Hiligaynon.
+1
level 7
Oct 3, 2014
Visayas is a place originally refers to the Island of Panay alone, host of the pre-hispanic state "The Confederation of Maja-as" and Visayan are its people. Now, Visayas includes the islands of Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Samar, and Leyte, that used to be called Pintados Islands and its people as Pintados but now they called Cebuano as Visayan. Binisaya, Bisaya, Visayan are the people, and Visayas is the group of all the islands i mentioned.
+1
level ∞
Oct 4, 2014
I'm not sure you're right @kalbahamut. Google wants to correct Visayas language to Visayan language and the Wikipedia article is against you too. Without further info, I'm going to leave it as is:

https://www.google.com/search?q=Visayas+language

+1
level 74
May 7, 2016
I'm sure that's probably correct in English. But I've spent months in the Philippines before... most of the time around Cebu.
+13
level 65
Oct 3, 2014
The figures for French are ridiculous - to come to such a low number, you'd have to consider that ALL Africans who speak French speak it only as a second language, which is simply not true. Many of the inhabitants of these countries grow up bilingual, which means they are NATIVE SPEAKERS in two (or more) languages, including French. In urban areas, traditional African languages even start vanishing.
+1
level 65
Oct 3, 2014
Come to think of it, the same applies at least to English, Turkish, Russian, Chinese... and other languages that may not be ancestral languages, but that kids have as a native language even if it's not their only language.
+1
level 75
Oct 3, 2014
The number of NATIVE SPEAKERS in DRC is always underestimated...
+3
level 74
Oct 3, 2014
The definition of "native speaker" is hotly debated amongst linguists.
+2
level 74
Oct 3, 2014
I mean, look at 360 million for English, and consider that roughly 3-4 billion people around the world grew up speaking English, including more than 300 million in the United States alone, and virtually every child who attended public school in Europe, India, South Africa, The Philippines, Japan, Korea, etc.. throw in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and so on... and clearly Wikipedia is using a stricter definition of the word than you are.
+3
level 74
Oct 4, 2014
How many Europeans born since 1945 or so (1980 or 1990 for East Europeans) have you met who can "barely jabber in English?" Virtually every one I meet is pretty damn near fluent. Some of them speak better English than people from English-speaking countries.
+1
level 74
Oct 4, 2014
Maybe '45 is going too far back. Let's say since 1975. Still.
+1
level 75
Oct 6, 2014
Well, I deleted that comment. So, I said that many europeans learn a bit of english at secondary school, but don't really need to use it anyway, while africans are confronted with the language of their former colonizer very early in their life, they may not speak oxford english or academic french, but they speak it. Now, how many europeans speak english badly if they speak it ? More than you think... what kind of population have you met? I'm a PhD and I can talk and write english but not very well... maybe we are especially bad in Belgium but I can tell you that no more than 5% of the population speak english fluently. And I think it's worse in France and Germany... I mean, they are old countries, proud of their culture, most of the people simply don't care about other languages. I've heard very bright french scientists speak english horribly badly.
+1
level 74
Oct 6, 2014
I only have anecdotes to back up my opinion, but really, if you consider your English to be not very good I think that reinforces my point.
+3
level 44
Nov 2, 2014
There's a big difference between fluent and native though. Also, it's much easier to learn how to write like a native speaker than to speak. To count as native you have to have grown up with the language either in your home or as a child in a community that speaks the language. If you learnt it as a subject in school, you are not native, however good you might be at it. By that definition, no continental Europeans would count as native if they don't have an English-speaking parent or something like that. I don't like to call myself fluent, even though I can make myself understood in English in pretty much any situation. There are still so many words that all native speakers know that I don't, even though people might not notice that in a single post I make. I have to look up words pretty often, and I think that's true for a lot of people. Saying I speak it like a native would be absurd, and I think most continental English-learners feel the same
+2
level 71
Aug 3, 2016
Arp2600...I agree with Kal, if you are using your own English to demonstrate that Belgians speak poor English I think you've shot yourself in the foot. Your English is excellent. Most Germans I know speak very good English. All Nordic people I've met speak better English than I do. The French are a different matter, I think they pride themselves on not speaking English. I have a French Canadian friend who's lived in Australia for 30 years and still doesn't speak fluent English, or anything close to fluent. We sometimes phone his voicemail just to listen to the message, it's hysterical.
+3
level 68
Nov 27, 2014
I speak French and have been to Togo in West Africa several times. While French is the official language and most people will speak it with foreigners, a dialect called Eve is the language of choice for most. I would imagine that in other French speaking countries in Africa it is the same story.
+1
level 44
Jan 20, 2016
I know people who grew up in France speaking another language than french at home, they still grew up speaking french too and considere themselves no more no less than native speakers of both languages.
+1
level 73
Jan 27, 2018
You're assuming everyone living in France has French as their native language.
+1
level 35
Oct 3, 2014
Im pretty sure chinese is mandarin
+4
level 74
May 7, 2016
Spoiler alert. So is Guy Pearce.
+1
level 56
Oct 11, 2017
Chinese covers a number of different languages (some of which are given in this quiz, such as Wu and Yue/Cantonese). There are not mutually comprehensible, linguists generally don't consider them to be the same language (despite the unifying aspect of the written language).
+2
level 40
Oct 4, 2014
Yes it literally translates as 'language' but can we please accept Bahasa for Indonesian/Malay, it's pretty commonly referred to by that name in a colloquial context.
+1
level ∞
Oct 4, 2014
Okay
+1
level 27
Oct 4, 2014
In India, you write it as Telegu, not Telugu. In fact, it is pronounced as Telegu.
+1
level 73
Oct 5, 2015
On both Indian media sites and official government sites I've only encountered Telugu, never Telegu. You can be right on pronunciation, as the phonetic transcription from any Indian language into English is terrible in general.
+1
level 59
Oct 22, 2014
Where is Ebonics?
+1
level 79
Oct 25, 2014
It's a Pidgin or Creole. Not sure those are counted?
+3
level 56
Oct 11, 2017
They are counted (creoles are fully-fledged languages after all) but they don't have enough speakers to appear on this quiz. Papua New Guinea and Haiti are sovereign countries where a creole is an official language.
+2
level 65
Sep 5, 2016
Word.
+1
level 79
Oct 25, 2014
Pashto .. I tried typing that! Pashtu, Pastu, Pashu... I learned it with an "u". Also Azerbaijani is one I guessed that didn't get accepted (didn't add the i at the end). Other than that I missed 5 I've heard about and remember by name and 23 that I probably would never have guessed..
+1
level 18
May 29, 2015
Have you tried Pasta? It just might give you credit if you're hungry.
+1
level 32
Oct 20, 2015
Pashtun should be accepted
+1
level 35
Sep 15, 2016
Not Pashtun: that's the people, not the language. But you can't write Pashtun without first writing Pashtu...
+1
level 59
Sep 15, 2016
I couldn't think of Pashto so tried Afghani just for fun and it accepted it!
+1
level 49
Nov 25, 2014
I got 38. Among the ones that I missed, I hadn't heard of 12 of them before.
+2
level 45
May 1, 2015
how did somali not make it ???????????
+2
level 73
Oct 12, 2015
By there not being enough native speakers!!!!!!!!!!!!
+2
level 14
Dec 10, 2015
Same thing bruh, the Somali diaspora is massive
+1
level 74
Sep 15, 2016
Somalia has a population of under 11 million people. Wikipedia says there are 17 million Somali native speakers, but that's still not enough to get on this list.
+2
level 56
Oct 11, 2017
It's almost as if people don't have the ability to look at the source provided... ;-)
+1
level 14
Jul 25, 2018
There are roughly 11 million Somalis in Somalia, 1.5 million in the Diaspora outside of Africa, 7 million in Ethiopia, 2 million in Kenya, and a few million in other parts of Africa. Added together, that's well over 17 million. According to Wikipedia, there are 20-21 million Somali people. That makes for more native Somali speakers than Serbo-Croatian. Source for number of Somalis worldwide: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somalis
+1
level 74
Nov 6, 2018
Do all of them speak the same language?
+1
level 18
May 16, 2015
What about Hawaiian? ;-)
+1
level 56
Oct 11, 2017
It just misses out...
+1
level 55
Aug 2, 2015
What about Pig Latin???!!!! Or Latin, for that matter!
+1
level 75
Feb 3, 2016
Neither has native speakers.
+1
level 32
Oct 20, 2015
whats the difference between Wu and Mandarin?
+7
level 76
Sep 15, 2016
Well, one's responsible for recreating dinosaurs on an island off the coast of Costa Rica, and the other one's the archnemesis of Iron Man.
+1
level 44
Nov 10, 2015
Sundanese????
+2
level 70
Sep 15, 2016
Spoken in western Java. It is the language of Sunda, which refers to a geographical region of SE Asia centred on the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra.
+1
level 59
Nov 17, 2015
I tried "Cambodian" and didn't get anything. But if I'd tried typing "Laotian" I'd have got it after three letters!
+1
level 58
Jan 27, 2016
There's no such language as "Laotian". It's just "Lao". Chinese should not be accepted for Madarin as stated in the "rules".
+1
level 14
Dec 10, 2015
30 out of 60... Not bad
+1
level 44
Dec 24, 2015
Great quiz! So nice to see all 4 languages that I speak in this list!
+1
level 32
Jan 21, 2016
I thought english would be second and spanish would be first
+1
level 70
Aug 8, 2016
Well the combined populations of all the primarily English and Spanish-speaking countries comes to about 800 million. China has almost 1.4 billion. It's pretty easy to see how Mandarin would come out on top.
+1
level 32
Jan 21, 2016
I thought swedish would be here
+2
level 74
Sep 15, 2016
There are fewer than 10 million people in Sweden and though there are Swedish speakers in Norway and Finland, There's definitely not another 10 million of them.
+1
level 70
Sep 15, 2016
In fairness the continental Scandinavian languages are mutually intelligible and should probably be considered dialects of a single language (especially when you hear the entirely separate Mandarin and Cantonese deemed 'dialects' of Chinese). If they were so considered, they would knock Serbo-Croatian off this list.
+1
level 32
Jan 21, 2016
I only got 22/60 but most of the rest i haven't heard
+1
level 60
Jan 25, 2016
One of the languages spoken in the Sudan is Sudanese not Sundanese as you have in the test.Small detail but when you type the correct letters it doesn't auto fill. Thanks in advance over
+2
level 74
Sep 15, 2016
Most people in Sudan speak Arabic. They definitely don't speak Sundanese.
+2
level 70
Sep 15, 2016
Awkward.
+2
level 56
Jun 7, 2017
Small details indeed...
+1
level 28
Feb 13, 2016
I am an Indian. but still ended up in 25.
+1
level 56
Jun 7, 2017
Why does being Indian have any relevance to how many you got?
+2
level 50
Sep 24, 2017
Because many languages here are from India?
+1
level 25
Jul 15, 2016
I feel like such a nerd that I knew all of these. But that's what happens when you get a masters in linguistics and have no social life.
+1
level 59
Sep 15, 2016
Good on you. Respect.
+1
level 58
Aug 12, 2016
I forgot Spanish... Thought I already guessed it though. I even pictured the world map and said to myself: Well, most of the South American countries speak Spanish so I got that one covered... moving on. Duh...
+1
level 21
Sep 15, 2016
29 yay
+2
level 60
Sep 15, 2016
"...top 60 world languages..." 58 answers
+1
level 32
May 20, 2017
+1
+1
level 70
Sep 15, 2016
31 of 58. You know you're desperate when you actually try "jive". LOL!!
+1
level 70
Sep 15, 2016
Argh, forgot Tamil. I did get Hakka this time though, which I was annoyed at missing last time.
+1
level 64
Sep 15, 2016
Why are there only 58 answers when in the instructions it says 60?
+1
level 76
Sep 15, 2016
Shh. Those are the secret invisible answers.
+2
level 59
Sep 16, 2016
Based on latest polls for US election, about 100 million people speak Rubbish.
+3
level 35
Sep 18, 2016
Seriously? No American poll would call it "rubbish" that's a British thing
+1
level 44
Oct 27, 2016
I'm surprised that kiswahili/swahili did not make it on this list
+1
level 52
Feb 5, 2017
Me too. It's often used as a lingua franca in eastern Africa. But since decolonization it's also being taught as a first languages in schools in several countries. But I guess that when it comes to African languages, these always seem to be neglected or forgotten.
+1
level 51
Jul 15, 2018
Same, I looked it up on Wikipedia and apparently there are only 10 to 15 million native speakers. I'm guessing most people who speak Swahili speak it as a second language.
+1
level 21
Mar 26, 2017
Swiss is a language: Its called Swiss-German there is also Austro-German.
+6
level 39
Apr 17, 2017
Oh glory be, will we EVER come upon a country that Kalbahamut HAS NOT lived in?
+1
level 67
May 16, 2017
Swahili should definitely be on the list
+2
level 61
Aug 9, 2017
Swahili has over 130 million speakers, but only 5 million are native speakers. Not enough to make the list.
+2
level 48
May 21, 2017
Malagasy and Saraiki are 59th and 60th if you wanted to ever listen to the title and add 60 languages.
+1
level 37
Aug 26, 2017
Can't believe I got "Azerbaijani" but not Persian.
+1
level 41
Oct 12, 2017
Where is "American". (jokes)
+1
level 50
Oct 25, 2017
Shouldn't Nepali be here, eh?
+1
level 47
Nov 15, 2017
Great quiz, very infomative. I got very few right and was glad to learn some new things.
+1
level 45
Dec 4, 2017
Awadhi is not a language, it is a dialect spoken in central Uttar Pradesh(state in India).
+1
level 75
Jul 24, 2018
I suppose it rather depends on how one defines "dialect".
+1
level 39
Dec 29, 2017
31-58. I missed many dialects spoken in Asia. I missed Bengali since I wrote "BENGAL" :(
+1
level 3
Dec 29, 2017
Most of these were Indian languages such as Bengali, Punjabi, Tamil, malayalam.I wonder why?
+1
level 20
Jan 14, 2018
Missed Dutch, Serbo-Croatian and Cebuano... RIP
+1
level 46
Jan 27, 2018
Pashtu is a common variation of Pashto.
+1
level 46
Mar 22, 2018
i got bengali with 10 seconds left, i kept trying "bengalese" and wondering why it didnt work lol
+1
level 16
Apr 29, 2018
Filipinos are already 100,000,000+. How come the number of Tagalog speakers are only 28, 000,000 and Cebuano speakers are only 21, 000,000? This quiz isn't accurate at all.
+1
level ∞
Apr 30, 2018
Go to the Wikipedia page that is listed and do some more research. I'm sure the numbers make sense if you do a little more digging.
+1
level 7
May 3, 2018
Hebrew and greek is important
+1
level 2
May 15, 2018
How is Swahili not on this list???
+1
level ∞
May 16, 2018
Swahili is not a common first language. It is a common second language used by people of different tribes to communicate with each other.
+1
level 15
May 29, 2018
Piglatin?
+1
level 11
May 31, 2018
For all the people who thought that American is a language, the same as Australian, it is just English which has different words with the same meaning. For example, rubbish is trash/garbage in America.
+1
level 74
Jun 15, 2018
You could call it a separate dialect but even that is a bit of a stretch.
+4
level 70
Jul 24, 2018
Who thinks American is a language? Unnecessary post.
+1
level 33
Jun 15, 2018
just typed the many of indian languages
+1
level 46
Jul 11, 2018
Why is Azerbaijani classed as a different language to Turkish? I thought that they were mutually intelligible.
+4
level 59
Jul 29, 2018
Kannada?? Their English isn't that different.
+1
level 37
Aug 17, 2018
That's Canada. THis is a language of Indian state of Karnataka
+1
level 37
Aug 17, 2018
Aren't Bhojpuri and Awadhi dialects of Hindi??
+1
level 23
Aug 30, 2018
i forgot sugondese
+3
level 37
Oct 21, 2018
Can Farsi be accepted for Persian?
+1
level 40
Nov 2, 2018
I agree. I typed Farsi first and then I finally tried Persian. Farsi is the modern term.
+1
level 63
Nov 2, 2018
Seconded - every immigrant from Iran I know calls their native language Farsi, not Persian.
+1
level ∞
Nov 2, 2018
Sorry about that. Fixed.
+1
level 45
Nov 2, 2018
No Elbonian?
+2
level 42
Nov 3, 2018
Ther is no Serbo-Croatian language as such.You have Serbian language, and you have Croatian language, but no Serbo-Croatian.Pls, correct this. Thx
+1
level 44
Nov 3, 2018
I swear i wrote Hindi wtf
+1
level 21
Nov 3, 2018
please allow Panjabi
+1
level 34
Nov 5, 2018
1.5 billion people are native speakers of a European language, that's a lot. I bet that if you take into account the second and third speakers, that's make the majority of humankind easily.
+1
level 34
Nov 5, 2018
For the Indo-european family of languages, it makes 2.5 billion. Quite impressive.