English is widely spoken in Belarus
The 10 most spoken languages in Europe
On September 26, the European Day of Languages (EDL) celebrates the rich linguistic diversity of Europe and draws attention to the importance of lifelong language learning. A total of 225 different languages are spoken on our small continent. There are 24 official languages in the European Union. All these languages and diverse cultures make Europe a very colorful and unique place. To honor the linguistic diversity of Europe, we have put together an overview of the 10 most widely spoken languages in Europe!
With 120 million native speakers, Russian is THE most widely spoken language in Europe and therefore comes first in our overview. While most European languages use the Latin alphabet, the Cyrillic alphabet poses a challenge for many learners of Russian. Russian is also common in many Eastern European countries. It is the only official language in Russia and is one of the official languages in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Belarus (Belarus).
German is already in second place because it is the mother tongue of around 100 million people, which corresponds to 13.3 percent of Europeans. It is the only official language in Germany and Liechtenstein and, in addition to other languages, is one of the official languages in Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg. In addition to English and French, German enjoys a special position as one of three procedural languages in the European Union. The German language is the most widely spoken language after English because it is a popular second or foreign language in many European countries.
With around 80 million native speakers, French follows in third place after Russian and German. It is the official language of France and one of the official languages in Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg. The global influence of the French language is truly impressive: French is the official language in 29 countries and around 45% of modern English words are of French origin. French is also the language of work and negotiation in many international organizations, including the United Nations, the European Union and the World Trade Organization.
We expected them all at some point in this overview, right? With around 70 million native speakers, English ranks fourth among the ten most common languages in Europe, not least because of the large number of English-speaking expats living in Europe. Besides Irish, it is the official language of Ireland and also the de facto official language of the United Kingdom. English is the most widely spoken second language in Europe, followed by German and French.
Turkish is the official language of Turkey and is spoken by around 70 million native speakers. Turkish is also widely spoken across the Mediterranean, particularly Macedonia, Greece, Serbia, and other parts of Europe and Central Asia.
The Turkish language belongs to the Ural-Altaic language family and is therefore closely related to the Finnish and Hungarian languages. Originally the Arabic alphabet was used for the Turkish language. In 1928, the Arabic alphabet was replaced by the Latin alphabet to make learning the Turkish language easier and improve literacy.
With more than 69 million native speakers and as a second language of 3% of all Europeans, Italian follows in sixth place. Italian is the official language of Italy (of course), Vatican City, Switzerland, San Marino and one of the minority languages in Croatia and Slovenia. It is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Art, music and traditional Italian cuisine are arguably the most significant features of Italian culture. Italy is the birthplace of opera and one of the leading countries in fashion design.
Speaking of Romance languages, 45 million Europeans consider Spanish their mother tongue. Spain is not only one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe, learning the Spanish language opens up entire continents. Spanish is the official language in 21 different countries and is the second most widely spoken mother tongue in the world after Mandarin (Chinese). Spanish also has Arabic influences, around 8% of the Spanish vocabulary comes from Arabic - after Latin, the influence of Arabic on the Spanish language is in second place.
Ukrainian is an East Slavic language with a total of 45 million native speakers, the majority of whom live in Europe. It is the official language of Ukraine and one of the official languages in Romania and Russia. Similar to Russian, Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic script. Although Russian and Ukrainian come from the same roots of Old East Slavic, the Ukrainian language is actually more similar to Belarusian, Czech, Slovak, and Polish.
40 million people in Europe are native Polish speakers. The Polish language belongs to the West Slavic group of the Indo-European language family and is particularly strongly influenced by Germanic languages, especially the German language, as well as Italian languages such as Latin and French. Polish is spoken almost exclusively in Poland, where it is the official language. However, there are also a large number of Polish minorities in the Czech Republic, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, Hungary and Slovakia.
Romanian is last on our list, by a narrow margin over the Dutch. The Romanian language is an Eastern Romance language spoken as a mother tongue by around 23 million people in Europe. Romanian is spoken mainly in Romania, Moldova and Transnistria. If you like Gothic architecture and castles then the cities of Transylvania are for you. If nature is more your thing, the Bucegi Mountains and the Bigarren Waterfall are just two of the many places you should see in Romania.
The fastest way to become fluent in a language is to speak it. However, it is a challenge to speak a foreign language if you do not live in the country where it is spoken. Imagine there was a way to befriend a native speaker and practice languages anytime, anywhere in the world, completely free of charge? This works out! Simply open the tandem app and speak any language from anywhere.
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