Countries With the Most Languages

Guess the 20 countries in which the most languages are spoken.
According to Ethnologue
Living languages only. Includes both native and immigrant languages
Quiz by Macaco
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Last updated: February 2, 2019
First submittedJuly 21, 2014
Times taken46,988
Rating4.94
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#
Country
841
Papua New Guinea
710
Indonesia
526
Nigeria
455
India
334
United States
302
China
292
Mexico
#
Country
278
Cameroon
250
Australia
228
Brazil
213
D.R. Congo
194
Canada
191
Philippines
156
Russia
#
Country
145
Malaysia
132
Chad
126
Tanzania
125
Nepal
118
Myanmar
117
Vanuatu
+7
Level 59
Nov 28, 2017
Great quiz!
+6
Level 45
Dec 24, 2019
Thanks for the Papua New Guinea flag as the thumbnail!
+9
Level 72
Jan 31, 2018
Cool quiz! Some expected answers, some surprises!
+6
Level 47
Jan 31, 2018
YESS!!! Vanautu with 3 seconds to spare!! :D :D
+12
Level 72
Jan 31, 2018
I struggle to believe the UK shouldn't be on here. My son's last primary school boasted of having over 100 languages spoken...
+2
Level 68
Jan 31, 2018
Yeah, that surprised me a bit too. Some answers on there I would have been guessing for a long time before I got.
+5
Level 69
Jan 31, 2018
I find it hard to believe as well. Differences in the way data is collected, would be my guess.
+8
Level 71
Jan 31, 2018
Yeah, a quick google search said that there are 300+ languages spoken in London alone, which isn't even remotely surprising when you look at the demographics.
+12
Level 79
Jun 1, 2018
I wonder how they determine this. I found the exclusion of many European countries odd, as well. And I'd expect the US total to be in the thousands.
+5
Level 69
Aug 1, 2018
Or a country like the UAE, where 80% of the populous are immigrants.
+3
Level 79
Jan 22, 2020
Lots of immigrants in the UAE but the bulk of them come from a few states in India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.. plus a bunch from SE Asia and East Africa.
+1
Level 26
Apr 13, 2020
Kalbahamut, Most are from Asia and North Africa, true, but that constitutes about 90% of the expats. The remaining 10% are extremely diverse and come from countries such as Argentina, Mexico, Poland, New Zealand, etc. Dubai, being a commercial hub, attracts skilled labor from all over the world. People from more than 160 countries live in the UAE.
+1
Level 52
Apr 22, 2020
Quincyz, I think their population is not large enough to add to the quiz.
+2
Level 43
Mar 25, 2019
"Shouldn't"?
+7
Level 57
Jan 31, 2018
Actually I wonder how does that count. If I speak Martian and I move to USA, then Martian is in the list?
+1
Level 71
Jan 31, 2018
OK, no way I would ever have guessed Vanuatu. I SHOULD have thought of Philippines though.
+2
Level 77
Feb 6, 2018
Can anyone explain Vanuatu?
+109
Level 76
Feb 9, 2018
It was created by volcanoes, and that's why it's here today.
+3
Level 65
Feb 9, 2018
Great reply :D
+1
Level 43
Mar 25, 2019
Lol
+5
Level 70
May 6, 2019
No I can't explain it, but isn't it amazing? Current population estimates for Vanuatu are around 287,000 which, with 117 languages, means that there is an average of around 2,450 speakers per language. That even makes Welsh seem like a major language.
+1
Level 67
Jan 22, 2020
Hard to strike up a conversation there ;) you start talking to someone and all they do is look back with a confused look or blank stare.
+1
Level 37
Jul 5, 2020
I wonder... What makes a language and what makes a dialect is very unclear. Mandarin and Cantonese are famously "dialects" one of the other, but are mutually unintelligible, whereas Dutch and Afrikaans are "languages" but are very similar. A colleague of mine once gave me a sentence in five of the languages of her native Zambia - four were very much like each other. Perhaps these 117 languages are very closely related.
+19
Level 81
Feb 26, 2018
"Welcome to Papua New Guinea, where every household speaks their own language." Also, I am really surprised South Africa isn't here, given that they're well known for having 12 official languages.
+4
Level 50
Jun 1, 2018
Yes, I was surprised by that too. I tried Kenya and South Africa and then thought that there probably weren't any in Africa. Big mistake.
+17
Level 65
Jun 2, 2018
It must be hell to order a pizza in PNG.
+3
Level 74
Aug 26, 2018
I think Pepperoni is the same in every PNG dialect.
+1
Level 65
Sep 20, 2019
Or maybe just order a people pizza.
+11
Level 76
Mar 6, 2018
Vanuatu only has 270.000 people. That means a different language per 2307 inhabitans on average.
+1
Level 38
May 13, 2018
I had 0:34 sec left on the clock and then I thought of Chad. %100.
+8
Level 44
Jun 5, 2018
Is it because Chad is your boyfriend?
+3
Level 57
Jun 1, 2018
Weird that my country, Belgium isn't on the list. I live in Brussels and it's already a very diverse and multilingual city. It's probably as diverse as London or New York, even if it's a much smaller city. Thanks to the EU and NATO headquarters, almost all countries have representation here.
+1
Level 46
Jun 1, 2018
Maybe it only counts permanent residents?
+6
Level 60
Jun 3, 2018
I think most of the countries here have incredibly diverse indigenous populations. What we consider multiculturalism related to recent immigration is probably secondary in determining these numbers. In my home country for example, there were some 250 Aboriginal languages and over 600 dialects spoken before European invasion. Of those languages, 145 still survive today. This is according to the Aboriginal creativespirits website. Wikipedia gives different numbers.
+1
Level 43
Mar 25, 2019
Brexit....
+1
Level 50
May 24, 2019
Stop Brexit now!
+1
Level 20
May 6, 2019
i also live in Brussels
+1
Level 38
Jun 1, 2018
UK, South Africa, Philippines surprising omissions - perhaps criteria for languages being spoken are not as obvious as we all think.
+2
Level 71
Jun 1, 2018
Philippines is there, with 191 languages.
+1
Level 33
Jun 1, 2018
I missed Tanzania, Vanuatu and my own country australia.
+1
Level 81
Jun 1, 2018
Dang. I was so sure Bolivia would be on here with their 30+ official languages.
+27
Level 81
Jun 1, 2018
Quiz strategy:

Step 1: Guess big countries
Step 2: Guess countries close to the ones that came up in Step 1
Step 3: After getting Nigeria, guess every country in Africa except the correct answers
Step 4: VANUATU???
+1
Level 79
Jun 1, 2018
This time when I took the quiz I got ever answer except for the country that I'm sitting in. d'oh..
+1
Level 50
Jun 1, 2018
Which country is that?
+2
Level 79
Jun 2, 2018
I've been in the Philippines most of the last year and through the present, minus a few months I spent in Thailand and Japan.
+1
Level 20
Jun 1, 2018
The symbol in the picture is on the flag of papua new guinea yet people still miss it
+5
Level 81
Jun 1, 2018
Not one of the more well-known flags, I would say.
+1
Level 25
Jun 1, 2018
And I thought Chad isn't on the list.
+1
Level 63
Sep 20, 2018
WHY DID I NOT GET CHINA
+3
Level 43
Mar 25, 2019
Because you live in Guam
+1
Level 65
Oct 8, 2019
No he does not.
+1
Level 30
Apr 20, 2020
Fun fact: If I remember the fun fact correctly (Oof) it was that 1/5 of Filipinos have Chinese influence.... that means I might be Chinese lol. And no, I didn’t get it from JetPunk 😅😂🙃
+1
Level 46
Feb 1, 2019
I got Vanuatu but missed Tanzania...
+1
Level 79
May 6, 2019
I think there were 64 languages spoken just at the industrial laundry facility in Manassas where I worked after high school. That was one building with 150 employees (and about 15 guys named Kwame).
+2
Level 78
Oct 9, 2019
In contrast, everyone at my high school in the 1960s spoke English until a Spanish-speaking family moved to a farm in the area. We were so excited to hear someone speak a different language. We had no ethnic restaurants, either. I was excited when my best friend's uncle moved to Texas and they brought back some strange things called tortillas and she invited me to her house for a new food called tacos. I also remember the first pizza restaurant that came to a large town twenty miles away. Everyone was driving there on weekends to try it. I was an adult before I ate my first Chinese food. It's a little more diverse in my rural area now but not by much.
+1
Level 34
May 24, 2019
It depends whether we are talking official languages or merely tourists and immigrants. South Africa has 11 official languages, would surely have made the list had this been the criteria.
+1
Level 67
Aug 6, 2019
Wow Papua New Guinea has 841 languages for a population of around 8 million. That's one language per every 10'000 people. basically said every "village" has their own language. Impressive.
+1
Level 40
Sep 14, 2019
I got Vanuatu but forgot Russia :(((((((
+2
Level 79
Jan 22, 2020
Some of these "distinct languages" I bet are just dialects of the same language and less different than Cockney and Jamaican English, yet those are both considered the same language.
+1
Level 15
Jan 22, 2020
Yes, I´m brazillian and I know this. Brazil has many languages ​​besides Portuguese. Municipalities here have already adopted more than one language as an official. These languages ​​are mainly indigenous, but also some old European languages, as Brazil is very mixed. To quote: - São Gabriel da Cachoeira, Amazonas = Portuguese, Nheengatu, Tucano and Baníua. - Tacuru, Mato Grosso do Sul = Portuguese and Guarani. - Santa Maria do Herval, Rio Grande do Sul = Portuguese and Pomeranian. - Pomerode, Santa Catarina = Portuguese and Pomeranian.
+2
Level 28
Mar 20, 2020
I always thought india was the most diverse in languages
+1
Level 37
Jul 5, 2020
Me too. I'm still not totally convinced it's not. Probably depends a great deal on how you define "language" and "dialect".
+1
Level 25
May 12, 2020
2:47 easy
+1
Level 23
Jul 31, 2020
I am a Filipino, I know Cebuano and some languages but not speak them.