Spanish: Languages > Spanish > Speakers



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Spanish is a Romance language named for its origins as the native tongue of a large proportion of the inhabitants of Spain. It is also named Castilian after the Spanish region of Castile where it originated. Spanish is the second most natively spoken language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese.

In 1999 there were, according to Ethnologue, 358 million people speaking Spanish as a native language and a total of 417 million speakers worldwide. Currently these figures are between 400 and 500 million people respectively. Mexico contains the largest population of Spanish speakers. Spanish is one of the six official languages of the United Nations, and is used as an official language by the European Union and Mercosur.

Spanish is a part of the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several dialects of spoken Latin in central-northern Iberia around the ninth century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the later Middle Ages. Early in its history, the Spanish vocabulary was enriched by its contact with Basque and Arabic, and the language continues to adopt foreign words from a variety of other languages, as well as developing new words. Spanish was taken most notably to the Americas as well as to Africa and Asia-Pacific with the expansion of the Spanish Empire between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries, where it became the most important language for government and trade.

Due to its increasing presence in the demographics and popular culture of the United States, particularly in the fast-growing states of the Sun Belt, Spanish is the most popular second language learned by native speakers of American English. The increasing political stability and economies of many larger Hispanophone nations, the language's immense geographic extent in Latin America and Europe for tourism, and the growing popularity of warmer, more affordable, and culturally vibrant retirement destinations found in the Hispanic world have contributed significantly to the growth of learning Spanish as a foreign language across the globe.

Spanish is the third most commonly used language on the Internet after English and Mandarin. It is also the third most studied language and third language in international communication, after English and French, in the world.

There are important variations—phonological, grammatical, and lexical—in the spoken Spanish of the various regions of Spain and throughout the Spanish-speaking areas of the Americas. The variety with the most speakers is Mexican Spanish. It is spoken by more than twenty percent of the world's Spanish speakers.

Speakers

LanguageSpeakers
1Mandarin
845,000,000
2Hindi
490,000,000
3Spanish
400,000,000
4English
380,000,000
5Arabic
280,000,000
6Bengali
230,000,000
7Portuguese
203,000,000
8Russian
144,000,000
9Japanese
127,000,000
10German
120,000,000
11French
115,000,000
12Punjabi
104,000,000
13Javanese
85,000,000
14Vietnamese
81,000,000
15Italian
80,000,000
16Wu
77,000,000
17Marathi
75,000,000
18Telugu
74,000,000
19Korean
74,000,000
20Turkish
70,000,000
21Tamil
65,000,000
22Urdu
61,000,000
23Pashto
60,000,000
24Thai
60,000,000
25Egyptian Arabic
54,000,000
26Western Persian
50,000,000
27Polish
40,000,000
28Bhojpuri
38,500,000
29Ukrainian
37,500,000
30Uzbek
35,500,000
31Sundanese
34,000,000
32Burmese
32,000,000
33Yoruba
30,000,000
34Chinese, Hakka
30,000,000
35Dutch
28,000,000
36Hausa
25,000,000
37Igbo
25,000,000
38Berber
25,000,000
39Tagalog
23,900,000
40Romanian
23,351,100
41Indonesian
23,000,000
42Sindhi
22,000,000
43Isan
20,000,000
44Amharic
17,500,000
45Saraiki
17,000,000
46Kurdish
16,000,000
47Cebuano
15,800,000
48Sinhala
15,600,000
49Taiwanese
15,000,000
50Malagasy
15,000,000
51Hungarian
15,000,000
52Somali
13,900,000
53Nepali
13,900,000
54Fula
13,000,000
55Serbian
12,000,000
56Serbian
12,000,000
57Tigrinya
11,000,000
58Shona
10,900,000
59Zulu
10,300,000
60Malaysian
10,300,000
61Quechua
10,000,000
62Swedish
10,000,000
63Kazakh
10,000,000
64Chichewa
9,000,000
65Dari Persian
8,500,000
66Hebrew
8,000,000
67Xhosa
7,800,000
68Kinyarwanda
7,500,000
69Albanian
7,300,000
70Balochi
7,000,000
71Hiligaynon
7,000,000
72Ilokano
7,000,000
73Slovak
7,000,000
74Armenian
6,700,000
75Afrikaans
6,440,000
76Danish
5,600,000
77Croatian
5,550,000
78Lao
5,300,000
79Mongolian
5,200,000
80Sesotho
5,000,000
81Norwegian
5,000,000
82Swahili, Coastal
5,000,000
83Guarani
4,850,000
84Setswana
4,500,000
85Tajik
4,460,000
86Arabic, Libyan
4,400,000
87Wolof
4,200,000
88Sotho, Northern
4,100,000
89Karen
4,000,000
90Kanuri
4,000,000
91Turkmen
4,000,000
92Tsonga
3,700,000
93Bemba
3,600,000
94Bosnian
3,500,000
95Shan
3,300,000
96Lithuanian
3,200,000
97Hassaniya
3,120,000
98Makhuwa
3,100,000
99Macedonian
3,000,000
100Ndebele, Northern
3,000,000
101Kyrgyz
2,900,000
102Maninka
2,800,000
103Bambara
2,800,000
104Waray-Waray
2,600,000
105Slovene
2,500,000
106Zarma
2,400,000
107Kumaoni
2,360,000
108Brahui
2,200,000
109Swazi
2,000,000
110Kapampangan
1,900,000
111Sena, Malawian
1,600,000
112Sena, Mozambiquean
1,600,000
113Tonga
1,517,000
114Afar
1,500,000
115Latvian
1,500,000
116Mende
1,480,000
117Nahuatl
1,450,000
118Mandinka
1,350,000
119Yukatek
1,200,000
120Beja
1,200,000
121Tuareg
1,200,000
122Serer
1,160,000
123Pangasinan
1,160,000
124Susu
1,100,000
125Soninke
1,096,795
126Venda
1,070,000
127Ndonga
1,070,000
128Edo
1,000,000
129Jingpho
950,000
130Mon
850,000
131Tigre
800,000
132Swahili
800,000
133Swahili, Congo
800,000
134Kpelle
795,000
135Kwanyama
700,000
136Ndebele, Southern
640,000
137Luvale
632,000
138Idoma
600,000
139Silozi
500,000
140Frisian, West
467,000
141Karakalpak
412,000
142Maltese
400,000
143Efik
400,000
144Lunda
400,000
145Papiamento
392,000
146Divehi
371,000
147Samoan
370,000
148Kayah, Eastern
360,000
149Luxembourgish
320,000
150Icelandic
320,000
151Herero
270,000
152Nama
250,000
153Kaonde
243,000
154Kayah, Western
210,000
155Garifuna
200,000
156Kunama
195,000
157Saho
191,000
158Miskito
183,000
159Gagauz
160,000
160Maori
157,000
161Tongan
126,000
162Leeward Caribbean Creole English
125,000
163Tok Pisin
122,000
164Hiri Motu
120,000
165Kashubian
106,000
166Gilbertese
102,000
167Romansh
95,000
168Irish
94,000
169Kwangali
84,000
170Nara
80,000
171Seychellois Creole
72,700
172Blin
70,000
173Marshallese
44,000
174Palauan
14,000
175Tuvaluan
10,670
176Bislama
6,000
177Monégasque
5,100
178Punjabi, Pakistani
0
179Doteli
0

Spanish (Español)

Spanish is a Romance language named for its origins as the native tongue of a large proportion of the inhabitants of Spain. It is also named Castilian after the Spanish region of Castile where it originated. Spanish is the second most natively spoken language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese.

In 1999 there were, according to Ethnologue, 358 million people speaking Spanish as a native language and a total of 417 million speakers worldwide. Currently these figures are between 400 and 500 million people respectively. Mexico contains the largest population of Spanish speakers. Spanish is one of the six official languages of the United Nations, and is used as an official language by the European Union and Mercosur.

Spanish is a part of the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several dialects of spoken Latin in central-northern Iberia around the ninth century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the later Middle Ages. Early in its history, the Spanish vocabulary was enriched by its contact with Basque and Arabic, and the language continues to adopt foreign words from a variety of other languages, as well as developing new words. Spanish was taken most notably to the Americas as well as to Africa and Asia-Pacific with the expansion of the Spanish Empire between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries, where it became the most important language for government and trade.

Due to its increasing presence in the demographics and popular culture of the United States, particularly in the fast-growing states of the Sun Belt, Spanish is the most popular second language learned by native speakers of American English. The increasing political stability and economies of many larger Hispanophone nations, the language's immense geographic extent in Latin America and Europe for tourism, and the growing popularity of warmer, more affordable, and culturally vibrant retirement destinations found in the Hispanic world have contributed significantly to the growth of learning Spanish as a foreign language across the globe.

Spanish is the third most commonly used language on the Internet after English and Mandarin. It is also the third most studied language and third language in international communication, after English and French, in the world.

There are important variations—phonological, grammatical, and lexical—in the spoken Spanish of the various regions of Spain and throughout the Spanish-speaking areas of the Americas. The variety with the most speakers is Mexican Spanish. It is spoken by more than twenty percent of the world's Spanish speakers.
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04:06:35