The Languages of the World

There is approximately 6700 languages around the world, and several die every year. Some are found in remote regions of vast countries and are spoken only by a single village of people. Some by only a few people, and when those people die or forget their native tongue, the language becomes extinct, because even though written accounts of the language remain, the pronunciation and precise grammar usage will be lost forever. As mass globalization increases, the problem is becoming more prevalent. People are losing part of their cultural identity.

In China, there is two official languages: Mandarin (pu-tong-hwa) and Cantonese. There are also hundreds of smaller languages scattered across China, in remote deserts, mountains and villages, where people are being forced to learn Mandarin (in order to unify the Chinese people under one language). Eventually there will only be one language: Mandarin. The other languages will slowly die and disappear.

The top ten languages of the world are as follows (in order of first-speaking population):

  • Chinese Mandarin 13.69%
  • Spanish 5.05%
  • English 4.84%
  • Hindi 2.82%
  • Portuguese 2.77%
  • Bengali 2.68%
  • Russian 2.27%
  • Japanese 1.99%
  • German 1.49%
  • Chinese Wu 1.21%

    In addition to Mandarin, Cantonese (Yue) and Wu speakers in China, there is another 8% of the world population who speaks a different Chinese language. It is estimated that by the year 2050, all of China, which comprises roughly 24% of the world's population will be speaking Mandarin as a first language. The other Chinese languages are dying. In addition, the Mandarin language is also spreading overseas. Interest in Chinese language and culture in North America for example is growing, not just for educational purposes, but also for economic reasons. Business people are learning Mandarin Chinese because it is the key to international wealth and power.

    English and Spanish, as you can see above, are small in comparison. Note however that there are many people who speak Spanish and English as a 2nd language. English has been a powerful language during the last 50 years, and its spread has been largely an economic one. But at South America grows in power, its becoming obvious that English speaking countries like the United States now have steady competition from both Spanish and Portuguese, both of which are growing as an economic language, especially within the United States.

    Within the United States, almost 11% of the population speaks Spanish as their first language, and that percentage is growing. Due to immigration (both legal and illegal immigration) from Central and South America, Spanish is now the fastest growing language in the United States. It is estimated that by 2050, 30% of the United States will be speaking Spanish as a first language.

    Due to social issues within many countries, their language speaking population will almost never change. North Korea for example has restricted access with outside countries, and thus speaks 100% Korean, with very little Chinese influence. Indeed, the use of Chinese, Japanese and English words are basically banned from being used in Korean dictionaries in North Korea. Meanwhile in South Korea, students are forced to study English, Chinese and Japanese, and many words found in a South Korean dictionary are actually Chinese, English, or Japanese words. Some of them are even French or German words.

    Due to economic and political reasons, languages come and go. Sometimes they just evolve. Germans speaking Deutsch these days sounds a lot like English, because it mixes so many English words into their vocabulary, resulting in Dinglish. Likewise in South Korea, the avid use of English words has created a mix of Korean/English called Konglish. These are just examples, but the trend is found in many countries with a strong English influence. During the next 50 years, as China grows in power, we can expect to see a lot more Chinese words being adopted into other languages. Asian words in general are already becoming popular amongst the younger population of North America. Words like tofu, banzai, chi, teriyaki and phrases like "Ni hao ma?" and "Wo ai ni!" are becoming commonplace.

    Overseas many parents resort to private schools and private tutors to help their children learn a new language. In North America this is the same, but the choices of languages these days are changing. 20 years ago, French, German, Italian and Spanish were the popular languages to learn in North America. These days its Japanese and Chinese. Japanese in particular is incredibly popular. University level courses in Japanese are so popular that there aren't enough professors to teach all the students.

    At York University in Toronto, the professors have resorted to using large 300 student auditoriums to teach Japanese in, with tutorial classes taught by teaching assistants. The demand is so high that enrolling in the class is a difficult process by itself, with students fighting for seats.

    Individual language courses at the same university for European languages don't even have a 10th of that.

    During the Cold War era of the last 50 years, the United States deliberately spread false rumours that Asian languages are difficult to learn. In modern times however, that belief has lessened and people are realizing just how easy languages like Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese and Vietnamese are.

    CountryLanguages (%)
    Afghanistan Afghan Persian or Dari (official) 50%, Pashtu (official) 35%, Turkic languages (primarily Uzbek and Turkmen) 11%, 30 minor languages (primarily Balochi and Pashai) 4%, much bilingualism
    Akrotiri English, Greek
    Albania Albanian (official - derived from Tosk dialect), Greek, Vlach, Romani, Slavic dialects
    Algeria Arabic (official), French, Berber dialects
    American Samoa Samoan 90.6% (closely related to Hawaiian and other Polynesian languages), English 2.9%, Tongan 2.4%, other Pacific islander 2.1%, other 2% note: most people are bilingual (2000 census)
    Andorra Catalan (official), French, Castilian, Portuguese
    Angola Portuguese (official), Bantu and other African languages
    Anguilla English (official)
    Antigua and Barbuda English (official), local dialects
    Argentina Spanish (official), English, Italian, German, French
    Armenia Armenian 97.7%, Yezidi 1%, Russian 0.9%, other 0.4% (2001 census)
    Aruba Dutch (official), Papiamento (a Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, English dialect), English (widely spoken), Spanish
    Australia English 79.1%, Chinese 2.1%, Italian 1.9%, other 11.1%, unspecified 5.8% (2001 Census)
    Austria German (official nationwide), Slovene (official in Carinthia), Croatian (official in Burgenland), Hungarian (official in Burgenland)
    Azerbaijan Azerbaijani (Azeri) 89%, Russian 3%, Armenian 2%, other 6% (1995 est.)
    Bahamas, The English (official), Creole (among Haitian immigrants)
    Bahrain Arabic, English, Farsi, Urdu
    Bangladesh Bangla (official, also known as Bengali), English
    Barbados English
    Belarus Belarusian, Russian, other
    Belgium Dutch (official) 60%, French (official) 40%, German (official) less than 1%, legally bilingual (Dutch and French)
    Belize English (official), Spanish, Mayan, Garifuna (Carib), Creole
    Benin French (official), Fon and Yoruba (most common vernaculars in south), tribal languages (at least six major ones in north)
    Bermuda English (official), Portuguese
    Bhutan Dzongkha (official), Bhotes speak various Tibetan dialects, Nepalese speak various Nepalese dialects
    Bolivia Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara (official)
    Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian
    Botswana Setswana 78.2%, Kalanga 7.9%, Sekgalagadi 2.8%, English 2.1% (official), other 8.6%, unspecified 0.4% (2001 census)
    Brazil Portuguese (official), Spanish, English, French
    British Virgin Islands English (official)
    Brunei Malay (official), English, Chinese
    Bulgaria Bulgarian 84.5%, Turkish 9.6%, Roma 4.1%, other and unspecified 1.8% (2001 census)
    Burkina Faso French (official), native African languages belonging to Sudanic family spoken by 90% of the population
    Burma Burmese, minority ethnic groups have their own languages
    Burundi Kirundi (official), French (official), Swahili (along Lake Tanganyika and in the Bujumbura area)
    Cambodia Khmer (official) 95%, French, English
    Cameroon 24 major African language groups, English (official), French (official)
    Canada English (official) 59.3%, French (official) 23.2%, other 17.5%
    Cape Verde Portuguese, Crioulo (a blend of Portuguese and West African words)
    Cayman Islands English
    Central African Republic French (official), Sangho (lingua franca and national language), tribal languages
    Chad French (official), Arabic (official), Sara (in south), more than 120 different languages and dialects
    Chile Spanish
    China Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghaiese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages (see Ethnic groups entry)
    Christmas Island English (official), Chinese, Malay
    Cocos (Keeling) Islands Malay (Cocos dialect), English
    Colombia Spanish
    Comoros Arabic (official), French (official), Shikomoro (a blend of Swahili and Arabic)
    Congo, Democratic Republic of the French (official), Lingala (a lingua franca trade language), Kingwana (a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili), Kikongo, Tshiluba
    Congo, Republic of the French (official), Lingala and Monokutuba (lingua franca trade languages), many local languages and dialects (of which Kikongo is the most widespread)
    Cook Islands English (official), Maori
    Costa Rica Spanish (official), English
    Cote d'Ivoire French (official), 60 native dialects with Dioula the most widely spoken
    Croatia Croatian 96.1%, Serbian 1%, other and undesignated 2.9% (including Italian, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, and German) (2001 census)
    Cuba Spanish
    Cyprus Greek, Turkish, English
    Czech Republic Czech
    Denmark Danish, Faroese, Greenlandic (an Inuit dialect), German (small minority) note: English is the predominant second language
    Dhekelia English, Greek
    Djibouti French (official), Arabic (official), Somali, Afar

    Dominica English (official), French patois
    Dominican Republic Spanish
    East Timor Tetum (official), Portuguese (official), Indonesian, English note: there are about 16 indigenous languages; Tetum, Galole, Mambae, and Kemak are spoken by significant numbers of people
    Ecuador Spanish (official), Amerindian languages (especially Quechua)
    Egypt Arabic (official), English and French widely understood by educated classes
    El Salvador Spanish, Nahua (among some Amerindians)
    Equatorial Guinea Spanish (official), French (official), pidgin English, Fang, Bubi, Ibo
    Eritrea Afar, Arabic, Tigre and Kunama, Tigrinya, other Cushitic languages
    Estonia Estonian (official) 67.3%, Russian 29.7%, other 2.3%, unknown 0.7% (2000 census)
    Ethiopia Amharic, Tigrinya, Oromigna, Guaragigna, Somali, Arabic, other local languages, English (major foreign language taught in schools)
    European Union Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish; note - only official languages are listed; Irish (Gaelic) will become the twenty-first language on 1 January 2007
    Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) English
    Faroe Islands Faroese (derived from Old Norse), Danish
    Fiji English (official), Fijian, Hindustani
    Finland Finnish 92% (official), Swedish 5.6% (official), other 2.4% (small Sami- and Russian-speaking minorities) (2003)
    France French 100%, rapidly declining regional dialects and languages (Provencal, Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish)
    French Guiana French
    French Polynesia French 61.1% (official), Polynesian 31.4% (official), Asian languages 1.2%, other 0.3%, unspecified 6% (2002 census)
    Gabon French (official), Fang, Myene, Nzebi, Bapounou/Eschira, Bandjabi
    Gambia, The English (official), Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, other indigenous vernaculars
    Gaza Strip Arabic, Hebrew (spoken by Israeli settlers and many Palestinians), English (widely understood)
    Georgia Georgian 71% (official), Russian 9%, Armenian 7%, Azeri 6%, other 7% note: Abkhaz is the official language in Abkhazia
    Germany German
    Ghana English (official), African languages (including Akan, Moshi-Dagomba, Ewe, and Ga)
    Gibraltar English (used in schools and for official purposes), Spanish, Italian, Portuguese
    Greece Greek 99% (official), English, French
    Greenland Greenlandic (East Inuit), Danish, English
    Grenada English (official), French patois
    Guadeloupe French (official) 99%, Creole patois
    Guam English 38.3%, Chamorro 22.2%, Philippine languages 22.2%, other Pacific island languages 6.8%, Asian languages 7%, other languages 3.5% (2000 census)
    Guatemala Spanish 60%, Amerindian languages 40% (23 officially recognized Amerindian languages, including Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi, Mam, Garifuna, and Xinca)
    Guernsey English, French, Norman-French dialect spoken in country districts
    Guinea French (official), each ethnic group has its own language
    Guinea-Bissau Portuguese (official), Crioulo, African languages
    Guyana English, Amerindian dialects, Creole, Hindi, Urdu
    Haiti French (official), Creole (official)
    Holy See (Vatican City) Italian, Latin, French, various other languages
    Honduras Spanish, Amerindian dialects
    Hong Kong Chinese (Cantonese), English; both are official
    Hungary Hungarian 93.6%, other or unspecified 6.4% (2001 census)
    Iceland Icelandic, English, Nordic languages, German widely spoken
    India English enjoys associate status but is the most important language for national, political, and commercial communication; Hindi is the national language and primary tongue of 30% of the people; there are 14 other official languages: Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi, and Sanskrit; Hindustani is a popular variant of Hindi/Urdu spoken widely throughout northern India but is not an official language
    Indonesia Bahasa Indonesia (official, modified form of Malay), English, Dutch, local dialects, the most widely spoken of which is Javanese
    Iran Persian and Persian dialects 58%, Turkic and Turkic dialects 26%, Kurdish 9%, Luri 2%, Balochi 1%, Arabic 1%, Turkish 1%, other 2%
    Iraq Arabic, Kurdish (official in Kurdish regions), Assyrian, Armenian
    Ireland English (official) is the language generally used, Irish (official) (Gaelic or Gaeilge) spoken mainly in areas located along the western seaboard
    Israel Hebrew (official), Arabic used officially for Arab minority, English most commonly used foreign language
    Italy Italian (official), German (parts of Trentino-Alto Adige region are predominantly German speaking), French (small French-speaking minority in Valle d'Aosta region), Slovene (Slovene-speaking minority in the Trieste-Gorizia area)
    Jamaica English, patois English
    Japan Japanese
    Jersey English 94.5% (official), Portuguese 4.6%, other 0.9% (2001 census)
    Jordan Arabic (official), English widely understood among upper and middle classes
    Kazakhstan Kazakh (Qazaq, state language) 64.4%, Russian (official, used in everyday business, designated the "language of interethnic communication") 95% (2001 est.)
    Kenya English (official), Kiswahili (official), numerous indigenous languages
    Kiribati I-Kiribati, English (official)
    Korea, North Korean
    Korea, South Korean, English widely taught in junior high and high school
    Kuwait Arabic (official), English widely spoken
    Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyz (official), Russian (official)
    Laos Lao (official), French, English, and various ethnic languages
    Latvia Latvian (official) 58.2%, Russian 37.5%, Lithuanian and other 4.3% (2000 census)
    Lebanon Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian
    Lesotho Sesotho (southern Sotho), English (official), Zulu, Xhosa
    Liberia English 20% (official), some 20 ethnic group languages, of which a few can be written and are used in correspondence
    Libya Arabic, Italian, English, all are widely understood in the major cities
    Liechtenstein German (official), Alemannic dialect
    Lithuania Lithuanian (official) 82%, Russian 8%, Polish 5.6%, other and unspecified 4.4% (2001 census)
    Luxembourg Luxembourgish (national language), German (administrative language), French (administrative language)
    Macau Cantonese 87.9%, Hokkien 4.4%, Mandarin 1.6%, other Chinese dialects 3.1%, other 3% (2001 census)
    Macedonia Macedonian 66.5%, Albanian 25.1%, Turkish 3.5%, Roma 1.9%, Serbian 1.2%, other 1.8% (2002 census)
    Madagascar French (official), Malagasy (official)
    Malawi Chichewa 57.2% (official), Chinyanja 12.8%, Chiyao 10.1%, Chitumbuka 9.5%, Chisena 2.7%, Chilomwe 2.4%, Chitonga 1.7%, other 3.6% (1998 census)
    Malaysia Bahasa Melayu (official), English, Chinese dialects (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow), Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai note: in addition, in East Malaysia several indigenous languages are spoken, the largest are Iban and Kadazan
    Maldives Maldivian Dhivehi (dialect of Sinhala, script derived from Arabic), English spoken by most government officials
    Mali French (official), Bambara 80%, numerous African languages
    Malta Maltese (official), English (official)
    Man, Isle of English, Manx Gaelic
    Marshall Islands Marshallese 98.2%, other languages 1.8% (1999 census) note: English widely spoken as a second language; both Marshallese and English are official languages
    Martinique French, Creole patois
    Mauritania Arabic (official), Pulaar, Soninke, French, Hassaniya, Wolof
    Mauritius Creole 80.5%, Bhojpuri 12.1%, French 3.4% (official), other 3.7%, unspecified 0.3% (2000 census)
    Mayotte Mahorian (a Swahili dialect), French (official language) spoken by 35% of the population
    Mexico Spanish, various Mayan, Nahuatl, and other regional indigenous languages
    Micronesia, Federated States of English (official and common language), Trukese, Pohnpeian, Yapese, Kosrean, Ulithian, Woleaian, Nukuoro, Kapingamarangi
    Moldova Moldovan (official, virtually the same as the Romanian language), Russian, Gagauz (a Turkish dialect)
    Monaco French (official), English, Italian, Monegasque
    Mongolia Khalkha Mongol 90%, Turkic, Russian (1999)
    Montserrat English
    Morocco Arabic (official), Berber dialects, French often the language of business, government, and diplomacy
    Mozambique Emakhuwa 26.1%, Xichangana 11.3%, Portuguese 8.8% (official; spoken by 27% of population as a second language), Elomwe 7.6%, Cisena 6.8%, Echuwabo 5.8%, other Mozambican languages 32%, other foreign languages 0.3%, unspecified 1.3% (1997 census)
    Namibia English 7% (official), Afrikaans common language of most of the population and about 60% of the white population, German 32%, indigenous languages: Oshivambo, Herero, Nama
    Nauru Nauruan (official, a distinct Pacific Island language), English widely understood, spoken, and used for most government and commercial purposes
    Nepal Nepali 47.8%, Maithali 12.1%, Bhojpuri 7.4%, Tharu (Dagaura/Rana) 5.8%, Tamang 5.1%, Newar 3.6%, Magar 3.3%, Awadhi 2.4%, other 10%, unspecified 2.5% (2001 census) note: many in government and business also speak English
    Netherlands Dutch (official), Frisian (official)
    Netherlands Antilles Papiamento 65.4% (a Spanish-Portuguese-Dutch-English dialect), English 15.9% (widely spoken), Dutch 7.3% (official), Spanish 6.1%, Creole 1.6%, other 1.9%, unspecified 1.8% (2001 census)
    New Caledonia French (official), 33 Melanesian-Polynesian dialects
    New Zealand English (official), Maori (official)
    Nicaragua Spanish 97.5% (official), Miskito 1.7%, other 0.8% (1995 census) note: English and indigenous languages on Atlantic coast
    Niger French (official), Hausa, Djerma
    Nigeria English (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo), Fulani
    Niue Niuean, a Polynesian language closely related to Tongan and Samoan; English
    Norfolk Island English (official), Norfolk a mixture of 18th century English and ancient Tahitian
    Northern Mariana Islands Philippine languages 24.4%, Chinese 23.4%, Chamorro 22.4%, English 10.8%, other Pacific island languages 9.5%, other 9.6% (2000 census)
    Norway Bokmal Norwegian (official), Nynorsk Norwegian (official), small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities
    Oman Arabic (official), English, Baluchi, Urdu, Indian dialects
    Pakistan Punjabi 48%, Sindhi 12%, Siraiki (a Punjabi variant) 10%, Pashtu 8%, Urdu (official) 8%, Balochi 3%, Hindko 2%, Brahui 1%, English (official and lingua franca of Pakistani elite and most government ministries), Burushaski, and other 8%
    Palau Palauan 64.7% official in all islands except Sonsoral (Sonsoralese and English are official), Tobi (Tobi and English are official), and Angaur (Angaur, Japanese, and English are official), Filipino 13.5%, English 9.4%, Chinese 5.7%, Carolinian 1.5%, Japanese 1.5%, other Asian 2.3%, other languages 1.5% (2000 census)
    Panama Spanish (official), English 14%; note - many Panamanians bilingual
    Papua New Guinea Melanesian Pidgin serves as the lingua franca, English spoken by 1%-2%, Motu spoken in Papua region note: 715 indigenous languages - many unrelated
    Paraguay Spanish (official), Guarani (official)
    Peru Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara, and a large number of minor Amazonian languages
    Philippines two official languages - Filipino (based on Tagalog) and English; eight major dialects - Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinan
    Pitcairn Islands English (official), Pitcairnese (mixture of an 18th century English dialect and a Tahitian dialect)
    Poland Polish 97.8%, other and unspecified 2.2% (2002 census)
    Portugal Portuguese (official), Mirandese (official - but locally used)
    Puerto Rico Spanish, English
    Qatar Arabic (official), English commonly used as a second language
    Reunion French (official), Creole widely used
    Romania Romanian (official), Hungarian, German
    Russia Russian, many minority languages
    Rwanda Kinyarwanda (official) universal Bantu vernacular, French (official), English (official), Kiswahili (Swahili) used in commercial centers
    Saint Helena English
    Saint Kitts and Nevis English
    Saint Lucia English (official), French patois
    Saint Pierre and Miquelon French (official)
    Saint Vincent and the Grenadines English, French patois
    Samoa Samoan (Polynesian), English
    San Marino Italian
    Sao Tome and Principe Portuguese (official)
    Saudi Arabia Arabic
    Senegal French (official), Wolof, Pulaar, Jola, Mandinka
    Serbia and Montenegro Serbian 95%, Albanian 5%
    Seychelles Creole 91.8%, English 4.9% (official), other 3.1%, unspecified 0.2% (2002 census)
    Sierra Leone English (official, regular use limited to literate minority), Mende (principal vernacular in the south), Temne (principal vernacular in the north), Krio (English-based Creole, spoken by the descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area, a lingua franca and a first language for 10% of the population but understood by 95%)
    Singapore Mandarin 35%, English 23%, Malay 14.1%, Hokkien 11.4%, Cantonese 5.7%, Teochew 4.9%, Tamil 3.2%, other Chinese dialects 1.8%, other 0.9% (2000 census)
    Slovakia Slovak (official) 83.9%, Hungarian 10.7%, Roma 1.8%, Ukrainian 1%, other or unspecified 2.6% (2001 census)
    Slovenia Slovenian 91.1%, Serbo-Croatian 4.5%, other or unspecified 4.4% (2002 census)
    Solomon Islands Melanesian pidgin in much of the country is lingua franca; English is official but spoken by only 1%-2% of the population note: 120 indigenous languages
    Somalia Somali (official), Arabic, Italian, English
    South Africa IsiZulu 23.8%, IsiXhosa 17.6%, Afrikaans 13.3%, Sepedi 9.4%, English 8.2%, Setswana 8.2%, Sesotho 7.9%, Xitsonga 4.4%, other 7.2% (2001 census)
    Spain Castilian Spanish 74%, Catalan 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2%; note - Castilian is the official language nationwide; the other languages are official regionally
    Sri Lanka Sinhala (official and national language) 74%, Tamil (national language) 18%, other 8% note: English is commonly used in government and is spoken competently by about 10% of the population
    Sudan Arabic (official), Nubian, Ta Bedawie, diverse dialects of Nilotic, Nilo-Hamitic, Sudanic languages, English note: program of "Arabization" in process
    Suriname Dutch (official), English (widely spoken), Sranang Tongo (Surinamese, sometimes called Taki-Taki, is native language of Creoles and much of the younger population and is lingua franca among others), Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), Javanese
    Svalbard Norwegian, Russian
    Swaziland English (official, government business conducted in English), siSwati (official)
    Sweden Swedish, small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities
    Switzerland German (official) 63.7%, French (official) 20.4%, Italian (official) 6.5%, Serbo-Croatian 1.5%, Albanian 1.3%, Portuguese 1.2%, Spanish 1.1%, English 1%, Romansch 0.5%, other 2.8% (2000 census) note: German, French, Italian, and Romansch are all national languages, but only the first three are official languages
    Syria Arabic (official); Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian widely understood; French, English somewhat understood
    Taiwan Mandarin Chinese (official), Taiwanese (Min), Hakka dialects
    Tajikistan Tajik (official), Russian widely used in government and business
    Tanzania Kiswahili or Swahili (official), Kiunguja (name for Swahili in Zanzibar), English (official, primary language of commerce, administration, and higher education), Arabic (widely spoken in Zanzibar), many local languages note: Kiswahili (Swahili) is the mother tongue of the Bantu people living in Zanzibar and nearby coastal Tanzania; although Kiswahili is Bantu in structure and origin, its vocabulary draws on a variety of sources, including Arabic and English, and it has become the lingua franca of central and eastern Africa; the first language of most people is one of the local languages
    Thailand Thai, English (secondary language of the elite), ethnic and regional dialects
    Togo French (official and the language of commerce), Ewe and Mina (the two major African languages in the south), Kabye (sometimes spelled Kabiye) and Dagomba (the two major African languages in the north)
    Tokelau Tokelauan (a Polynesian language), English
    Tonga Tongan, English
    Trinidad and Tobago English (official), Hindi, French, Spanish, Chinese
    Tunisia Arabic (official and one of the languages of commerce), French (commerce)
    Turkey Turkish (official), Kurdish, Arabic, Armenian, Greek
    Turkmenistan Turkmen 72%, Russian 12%, Uzbek 9%, other 7%
    Turks and Caicos Islands English (official)
    Tuvalu Tuvaluan, English, Samoan, Kiribati (on the island of Nui)
    Uganda English (official national language, taught in grade schools, used in courts of law and by most newspapers and some radio broadcasts), Ganda or Luganda (most widely used of the Niger-Congo languages, preferred for native language publications in the capital and may be taught in school), other Niger-Congo languages, Nilo-Saharan languages, Swahili, Arabic
    Ukraine Ukrainian (official) 67%, Russian 24%; small Romanian-, Polish-, and Hungarian-speaking minorities
    United Arab Emirates Arabic (official), Persian, English, Hindi, Urdu
    United Kingdom English, Welsh (about 26% of the population of Wales), Scottish form of Gaelic (about 60,000 in Scotland)
    United States English 82.1%, Spanish 10.7%, other Indo-European 3.8%, Asian and Pacific island 2.7%, other 0.7% (2000 census)
    Uruguay Spanish, Portunol, or Brazilero (Portuguese-Spanish mix on the Brazilian frontier)
    Uzbekistan Uzbek 74.3%, Russian 14.2%, Tajik 4.4%, other 7.1%
    Vanuatu local languages (more than 100) 72.6%, pidgin (known as Bislama or Bichelama) 23.1%, English 1.9%, French 1.4%, other 0.3%, unspecified 0.7% (1999 Census)
    Venezuela Spanish (official), numerous indigenous dialects
    Vietnam Vietnamese (official), English (increasingly favored as a second language), some French, Chinese, and Khmer; mountain area languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)
    Virgin Islands English 74.7%, Spanish or Spanish Creole 16.8%, French or French Creole 6.6%, other 1.9% (2000 census)
    Wallis and Futuna Wallisian 58.9% (indigenous Polynesian language), Futunian 30.1%, French 10.8%, other 0.2% (2003 census)
    West Bank Arabic, Hebrew (spoken by Israeli settlers and many Palestinians), English (widely understood)
    Western Sahara Hassaniya Arabic, Moroccan Arabic
    Yemen Arabic
    Zambia English (official), major vernaculars - Bemba, Kaonda, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, Nyanja, Tonga, and about 70 other indigenous languages
    Zimbabwe English (official), Shona, Sindebele (the language of the Ndebele, sometimes called Ndebele), numerous but minor tribal dialects

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