Number of languages

The total number of languages is estimated to be between three thousand and eight thousand. It is difficulty to give a more accurate number, since linguists sometimes disagree what are distinct languages and what are dialects of the same language.

The Ethnologue catalogue of world languages, which is one of the best linguistic resources, currently lists 6909 living languages. About 6% of them have more than a million speakers each, and collectively account for 94% of the world population. On the other hand, about half of the languages are spoken by fewer than ten thousand people, and about quarter have fewer than one thousand speakers.

The top ten languages and the number of their native speakers are as follows, accoding to the Ethnologue statisticis:

Language Speakers
Mandarin 845 million
Spanish 329 million
English 328 million
Hindi 182 million
Bengali 181 million
Portugese 178 million
Russian 144 million
Japanese 122 million
German   90 million
Javanese   85 million


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