Much of the world’s most widely spoken languages have originated in Europe. The European Union (EU) recognizes 24 official languages spoken by its members and more than 60 regional and minority languages. The rich and diverse historical past of Europe explains the great number of languages spoken across the continent. The proportion of native speakers, the language’s global awareness, and the availability of various interpreters all have their popularity.
If you want to know more about the ten most common languages spoken in Europe, this post is for you.
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Main Language Groups
The Indo-European and Non-Indo-European divisions of European languages are the two primary categories. Italian, French, Celtic, Spanish, Germanic, Romanian, Baltic, Indo-Iranian, and Slavic are all Indo-European languages. Finnic, Finno-Ugric and Basque are the three non-Indo-European languages. Even though there are many languages, they all sound and appear the same because they belong to the groupings above.
Most Spoken Languages in Europe
Many countries in Eastern Europe have a sizable Russian-speaking population. With 120 million native speakers, Russian takes the top spot as one of Europe’s most widely-spoken languages in the world. As well as being Russia’s sole official language, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, and Belarussian officials also use it.
On the other hand, Russian employs the Cyrillic script, unlike most European languages, which use the Latin alphabet. This might be quite a problem for Europeans who desire to learn Russian as a second language.
The second-largest native-speaking population in Europe is German. It is a co-official language in Switzerland, Belgium, and Luxembourg and is the official language of Germany, Austria, and Liechtenstein. This indicates that German is the first language of around 95 million people in Europe. Many European countries, including Denmark, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden, Poland, Finland, and Hungary, use German as a second language.
French comes in third place. In addition to being the official language of France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and Switzerland also recognize the use of French as a second official language. An estimated 80 million Europeans speak French as a first language, and a further 30 percent of the continent’s population speaks French as a second language.
As the fourth most widely spoken language in Europe, Turkish is the official language of Turkey and is understood by 78 million people across the continent. In addition to being an official language in Cyprus, Macedonia, Greece, and Serbia, it is also extensively spoken. Those who have never been to Europe may be astonished to learn that Germany has a sizable Turkish-speaking population.
Approximately 65% of Europe’s population speaks Italian, making it Europe’s fifth most widely spoken language. Italy, San Marino, the Vatican City State, and Croatia all speak Italian as their primary language. Ancient Rome spoke it, and it is the closest relative to Latin. Classical music and great art are all intertwined with the Italian language and culture.
Also read: Enjoy The Best Destinations in Europe
A substantial portion of Europe’s population comprises English-speaking migrants, who make up a significant portion of the continent’s native English speakers. It is the language most spoken in the United Kingdom and is the official language of Ireland. After German and French, English is Europe’s most commonly spoken second language.
Spanish is the most widely spoken language in Europe, coming in at number seven. About 45 million Europeans speak Spanish as their first language. Spanish’s global influence is even greater. With 460 million native speakers and a total of 559 million speakers globally, it is the second most widely spoken native language in the world behind only English (just behind Mandarin Chinese).
Ukrainian is one of Europe’s major languages, with approximately 40 million speakers. The official language of newly independent Ukraine since 1991, Ukrainian has a stormy political past that continues to this day as it competes with Russian for dominance in the country’s linguistic landscape.
With around 24 million native speakers, Romanian is the next language on the list. Although it may appear that native speakers are only from Romania, this is not the case. Moldova’s official language is likewise Romanian (sometimes called Moldovan).
In Europe, native Portuguese speakers number over 10 million, mostly in Portugal. Because of Portugal’s past colonies, it is also one of the most widely spoken languages on the planet. You can find native Portuguese speakers outside of Portugal in South America and Africa.
You might be astonished to learn that only 5% of native Portuguese speakers are from the country. However, this is still enough to make it one of Europe’s most widely spoken languages. It’s also one of Europe’s fastest-growing languages, therefore many individuals acquire it as a second language.
To truly comprehend a culture, one must have a firm grasp on its native tongue and the historical context in which it developed. It also entails gaining an understanding of the significance of language. Especially when it comes to the languages of countries with a historical legacy, its roots and practices are worth exploring along with the landmark places.