What are the most spoken languages in Europe?

20/09/2021 | Rebecca Twose

Europe is the home of approximately 748 million people and it is also the second-smallest continent on earth. Don’t be fooled though, whilst Europe might not be the biggest continent, it is the home of many different languages. Out of all the languages that are spoken throughout Europe, it is often assumed that English would be one of the most popular (given that it is the third most-spoken language in the world), however, there are multiple languages that are more popular than English in Europe.

Languages in Europe

Below you can find out what the most spoken languages in Europe are:

Russian 

Number one on the list of most spoken languages in Europe is Russian. Russian is the official language of Russia and Belarus and there are roughly 140 million native Russian speakers throughout Europe. Russian is considered to be one of the more difficult languages to learn as it uses the Cyrillic alphabet instead of the Latin alphabet that most other European languages use.  If you’re looking at travelling to Russia any time soon then it is also advised that you learn some Russian phrases before you go as only around 5% of Russians can speak English!

German

German comes in second for the largest native-speaking population in Europe. It’s the official language of Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein, and it’s a co-official language in Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg. This means that approximately 95 million people in Europe speak German as their first language.  German is also a popular choice as a second language in many European countries such as Denmark, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden, Poland, Finland and Hungary.

French

Next on the list of the most spoken languages in Europe is French, with around 80 million native speakers. It is the official language of France as well as a co-official language of Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg. If you consider the percentage of the population that have learnt French as a second language, then over 30% of Europeans know the language. However, French’s isn’t just popular in Europe as almost 30 countries worldwide claim French as an official language!

Turkish

Coming in at number 4, Turkish is the official language of Turkey and has about 78 million native speakers in Europe. It also has co-official status in Cyprus and is widely spoken in Macedonia, Greece and Serbia. Those unfamiliar with Europe may also be surprised to know that Germany has a large population of Turkish speakers (around 1.3 million people)!

Italian

Italian is naturally the official language of Italy, but it’s also a co-official language of Vatican City and Switzerland. In Europe, there are approximately 60 million Italian native speakers, but as with French, Italian is also widely used worldwide.

There are many languages that are spoken throughout Europe, and the ones on this list are just a small selection of the amazing variety of languages that Europe has to offer.

If you enjoyed this blog then take a look at our other language-related articles:

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What are the hardest languages to learn for English speakers?

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