Europe is a dynamic and lively place to live and to visit. Its charm lies in its incredible diversity which oozes from the food, culture, and history. This rich diversity is credited to the continent inhabiting around 50 countries. This means around the same great number of different cultures, historical backgrounds, and languages. In fact, the total number of languages spoken in Europe is even greater than you might expect.
Most of the top European languages are not only spoken by the natives but millions of people around the world. English has become a global language and almost a necessity for everyone in the world. French on the other hand, is used in several African and middle eastern countries.
Following are the most widely spoken languages in Europe (in random order).
Russian ranks first among the most widely spoken languages in Europe. There are roughly 140 million native Russian speakers across Europe. Russian is the official language of Russia and Belarus. But it is also commonly used in several other Eastern European countries as a secondary language.
Russian is regarded as one of the most challenging languages to learn since it adopts the Cyrillic script rather than the Latin alphabet used for other European languages.
If you think English will come to your rescue, you’re in for a big surprise, and not a pleasant one. Only around 5% of Russians can speak English! So, it is highly recommended to learn some common and important Russian phrases at least to overcome the language barrier.
The second most widely spoken language in Europe is German. It is the only official language in Germany, Austria, and Liechtenstein. In Switzerland, Belgium, and Luxembourg it has the status of the co-official language.
Approximately 13.3% of Europeans or 100 million people speak German as their first language. Hence, it has the second-largest native-speaking population in Europe. German is also used as the second language in many European countries. Those include Denmark, Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden, Poland, Finland, and Hungary.
Another reason for such a large number of German speakers is the great economic power of Germany. To avail the career opportunities that the country has to offer, immigrants tend to learn German. So learning German is important!
Then comes French, the third most widely spoken language in Europe, having about 80 million native speakers. Besides being the official language of France, it is the co-official language of Belgium, Switzerland, and Luxembourg.
Taking all this into account, over 30% of the population of Europe speaks French. The great speaking range of French is not just confined to Europe. Around 30 countries throughout the world have declared French as their official language.
So you see, the Language has a pretty impressive global reach, making learning it incredibly beneficial for those intending to visit Europe.
Turkish is next on the list of most widely spoken languages in Europe. It is the official language of Turkey and has over 78 million native speakers in Europe. It is also a co-official language in Cyprus and is extensively spoken around the Mediterranean, particularly in Macedonia, Greece, Serbia, and other European and Central Asian countries.
Turkish is part of the Ural-Altaic Linguistic Family, strongly linking it to Finnish and Hungarian. You might find it hard to believe that Germany has a large number of Turkish-speaking communities, about 1.3 million people!
Turkey and the Turkish language hold a unique cultural position in Europe. The Country bridges Europe and Asia hence houses a mix of European and Asian social traditions. This makes Turkey a remarkable holiday destination. But since only 17% of its population can speak English, learning Turkish is highly recommended.
Italian has over 60 million native speakers with 3% of European inhabitants speaking it as a second language. This ranks Italian fourth among the widely spoken languages in the continent.
Along with being the official language of Italy, it’s the co-official language of Switzerland, Vatican City, and San Marino. It is also spoken as a minority language in Croatia and Slovenia.
The vast history of Italy, of about 3000 years, stretches back to 753 BC. The Country has a lot to offer to its visitors and makes a charismatic holiday destination. It is well-known for its cuisine, opera, art, design, music, and rich culture. To get the most out of your visit to Italy, you have to learn Italian.
We bet you were expecting English all along, weren’t you? Well, here it comes, the global language and the fifth most widely spoken language in Europe. Among the 360 million native speakers of English worldwide, 60 million are living in Europe.
English is one of Ireland’s official languages, alongside Irish language, and the de facto language of the United Kingdom. It is either the official language or one of the official languages in several European countries. In terms of second language speakers, over one-third of older Europeans can speak English.
English is the most widely spoken second language in Europe, followed by German and French. Although English may not have the highest number of native speakers in Europe, it’s still the most largely spoken language. This is due to the global significance and status it holds.
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