Europe is the ‘home base’ to many of the world’s most popular languages, including Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian, and more.
The main reason being, there are dozens of countries that live in Europe, with different historical backgrounds for each.
In the European Union, there are 24 officially recognized languages and over 60 minority languages. Out of the official languages, it appears that English, French, and German have a higher status compared to other languages.
There could be many reasons for this, including number of native speakers, translators available, global recognition of the language, and more. Because of this language diversity recognition, most Europeans have been taught to speak more than one language since their childhood.
To be exact, more than 89% can hold a conversation in a second language or more.
via The Guardian
But before we digress, let’s get to the question of the day, what are the 5 most spoken languages in Europe?
5 Most Spoken Languages in Europe
There are two ways to answer this question: most spoken language based on only native speakers or a combination of the two. For simplicity purposes, we’re going to keep it to the total number.
1. English (38%)
English may not have the most native speakers in Europe, but given its global importance, it’s the most widely spoken. When you combine the number of immigrants living in Europe and the number of second-hand English speakers, you’ll have no problem getting around Europe with English.
2. French (12%)
French may not be a dominant language globally (only ~80M speakers), but it’s the top 2 most spoken languages in Europe. The reason being, 70 of the 80 million native speakers still live in Europe.
Like it or not, the French seem to like their home country. And who can blame them!
3. German (11%)
This money language shouldn’t come as a big surprise to many of you. With Germany being the economic powerhouse of Europe, career opportunities are overflowing there. This leads to more native Germans deciding to stay in Europe to thrive in their career, and more immigrants looking to learn how to speak German.
4. Spanish (7%)
With Spain being an attractive tourist location, millions of immigrants from around the world have flocked to the country. It’s an especially attractive solution for citizens of Latin America who can obtain a higher salary by living in a more developed nation.
Spanish was also recognized as the top 4 most useful languages to learn by European citizens behind English, German, and French.
Another interesting fact is that it has the highest frequency of use amongst those that know how to speak Spanish.
5. Russian (5%)
Last but not least, we can’t forget about Russian. While there is little exposure to this language in the western parts of Europe, it’s heavily dominated on the east.
The unique thing about Russian is that unlike the other most spoken languages in Europe, most native Russian speakers will only know Russian. That means, while you could get away with just speaking Spanish in France, you won’t have the same luck in the east.
Which of the most spoken languages in Europe will you learn?
We hope this article was helpful in giving you a better idea of which language you should learn next. Remember, it’s not just about choosing the number one or number two most spoken languages. Everyone has different purposes for learning a foreign language, so re-evaluate why you’re learning a new language first.
If you want more resources on language popularity, check out the following:
- Most spoken languages in the world
- What language should I learn after English?
- 7 easiest languages to learn for beginners
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