Languages of Europe

Most languages of Europe belong to the Indo-European language family. Out of a total European population of 744 million as of 2018, some 94% are native speakers of an Indo-European language; within Indo-European, the three largest phyla are Romance, Germanic, and Slavic with more than 200 million speakers each, between them accounting for close to 90% of Europeans. Smaller phyla of Indo-European found in Europe include Hellenic (Greek, c. 13 million), Baltic (c. 7 million), Albanian (c. 5 million), Celtic (c. 4 million) and Indo-Aryan (Romani, c. 1.5 million).

Of the approximately 45 million Europeans speaking non-Indo-European languages, most speak languages within either the Uralic or Turkic families. Still smaller groups (such as Basque and various languages of the Caucasus) account for less than 1% of the European population between them. Immigration has added sizeable communities of speakers of African and Asian languages, amounting to about 4% of the population,[1] with Arabic being the most widely spoken of them.

Five languages have more than 50 million native speakers in Europe: Russian, French, Italian, German, and English. Russian is the most spoken native language in Europe; and English has the largest number of speakers in total, including some 200 million speakers of English as a second or foreign language. (See English language in Europe.)

Indo-European languages

The Indo-European language family is descended from Proto-Indo-European, which is believed to have been spoken thousands of years ago. Early speakers of Indo-European daughter languages most likely expanded into Europe with the incipient Bronze Age, around 4,000 years ago (Bell-Beaker culture).

Romance

Romance languages, 20th century.

Roughly 215 million Europeans (primarily in Western and Southern Europe) are native speakers of Romance languages, the largest groups including French (c. 72 million), Italian (c. 65 million), Spanish (c. 40 million), Romanian (c. 24 million), Portuguese (c. 10 million), Catalan (c. 5 million), Sicilian (c. 5 million, also subsumed under Italian), Venetian (c. 4 million), Galician (c. 2 million), Sardinian (c. 1 million), Occitan (c. 500,000), besides numerous smaller communities.

The Romance languages evolved from varieties of Vulgar Latin spoken in the various parts of the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity. Latin was itself part of the (otherwise extinct) Italic branch of Indo-European. Romance languages are divided phylogenetically into Italo-Western, Eastern Romance (including Romanian) and Sardinian. The Romance-speaking area of Europe is occasionally referred to as Latin Europe.[2]

We can further break down Italo-Western into the Italo-Dalmatian languages (sometimes grouped with Eastern Romance), including the Tuscan-derived Italian and numerous local Romance languages in Italy as well as Dalmatian, and the Western Romance languages. The Western Romance languages in turn separate into the Gallo-Romance languages, including French and its varieties (Langues d'oïl), the Rhaeto-Romance languages and the Gallo-Italic languages; the Occitano-Romance languages, grouped with either Gallo-Romance or East Iberian, including Occitan, Catalan and Aragonese; and finally the West Iberian languages (Spanish-Portuguese), including the Astur-Leonese languages, Galician-Portuguese, and Castilian.

Germanic

The present-day distribution of the Germanic languages in Europe:
North Germanic languages
   Icelandic
   Faroese
   Norwegian
   Swedish
   Danish
West Germanic languages
   Scots
   English
   Frisian
   Dutch
   Low German
   German
Dots indicate areas where multilingualism is common.

The Germanic languages make up the predominant language family in Western, Northern and Central Europe. An estimated 210 million Europeans are native speakers of Germanic languages, the largest groups being German (c. 95 million), English (c. 70 million), Dutch (c. 24 million), Swedish (c. 10 million), Danish (c. 6 million), and Norwegian (c. 5 million).

There are two extant major sub-divisions: West Germanic and North Germanic. A third group, East Germanic, is now extinct; the only known surviving East Germanic texts are written in the Gothic language. West Germanic is divided into Anglo-Frisian (including English), Low German, and Low Franconian (including Dutch) and High German (including Standard German).

German is spoken throughout Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, much of Switzerland (including the northeast areas bordering on Germany and Austria), northern Italy (South Tyrol), Luxembourg, and the East Cantons of Belgium.

There are several groups of German dialects:

Low German (including Low Saxon) is spoken in various regions throughout Northern Germany and the northern and eastern parts of the Netherlands. It is an official language in Germany. It may be separated into Low Saxon (West Low German) and East Low German.

Dutch is spoken throughout the Netherlands, the northern half of Belgium, as well as the Nord-Pas de Calais region of France. The traditional dialects of the Lower Rhine region of Germany, are linguistically more closely related to Dutch than to modern German. In Belgian and French contexts, Dutch is sometimes referred to as Flemish. Dutch dialects are varied and cut across national borders.

The Anglo-Frisian language family is now mostly represented by English (Anglic), descended from the Old English language spoken by the Anglo-Saxons:

The Frisian languages are spoken by about 500,000 Frisians, who live on the southern coast of the North Sea in the Netherlands and Germany. These languages include West Frisian, Saterlandic, and North Frisian.

The North Germanic languages are spoken in Scandinavian countries and include Danish (Denmark), Norwegian (Norway), Swedish (Sweden and parts of Finland), or Elfdalian (in a small part of central Sweden), Faroese (Faroe Islands), and Icelandic (Iceland).

English has a long history of contact with Scandinavian languages, given the immigration of Scandinavians early in the history of Britain, and shares various features with the Scandinavian languages.[3] Even so, especially Swedish, but also Danish and Norwegian, have strong vocabulary connections to the German language.

Slavic

Political map of Europe with countries where the national language is Slavic. Pale green represents West Slavic languages, wood green represents East Slavic languages, and dark green represents South Slavic languages.

Slavic languages are spoken in large areas of Southern, Central and Eastern Europe. An estimated 250 million Europeans are native speakers of Slavic languages, the largest groups being Russian (c. 110 million in European Russia and adjacent parts of Eastern Europe, Russian forming the largest linguistic community in Europe), Polish (c. 45 million), Ukrainian (c. 40 million), Serbo-Croatian (c. 21 million), Czech (c. 11 million), Bulgarian (c. 9 million), Slovak (c. 5 million) Belarusian and Slovene (c. 3 million each) and Macedonian (c. 2 million).

Phylogenetically, Slavic is divided into three subgroups:

Other

Distribution of the Baltic languages in the Baltic (simplified).
Continental Celtic languages had previously been spoken across Europe from Iberia and Gaul to Asia Minor, but became extinct in the first millennium AD.
  • The Indo-Aryan languages have one major representation: Romani (c. 1.5 million speakers), introduced in Europe during the late medieval period. Lacking a nation state, Romani is spoken as a minority language throughout Europe.
  • The Iranian languages in Europe are natively represented in the North Caucasus, notably with Ossetian (c. 600,000).

Non-Indo-European languages

Uralic

Distribution of Uralic languages in Eurasia

Uralic is native to northern Eurasia. Finno-Ugric groups the Uralic languages other than Samoyedic. Finnic languages include Finnish (c. 5 million), Estonian (c. 1 million) and Mariy (c. 400,000). The Sami languages (c. 30,000) are closely related to Finnic.

The Ugric languages are represented in Europe with the Hungarian language (c. 13 million), historically introduced with the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin of the 9th century.

The Samoyedic Nenets language is spoken in Nenets Autonomous Okrug of Russia, located in the far northeastern corner of Europe (as delimited by the Ural Mountains).

Turkic

Distribution of Turkic languages in Eurasia

Other

Sign languages

Several dozen manual languages exist across Europe, with the most widespread sign language family being the Francosign languages, with its languages found in countries from Iberia to the Balkans and the Baltics. Accurate historical information of sign and tactile languages is difficult to come by, with folk histories noting the existence signing communities across Europe hundreds of years ago. British Sign Language (BSL) and French Sign Language (LSF) are probably the oldest confirmed, continuously-spoken sign languages. Alongside German Sign Language (DGS) according to Ethnologue, these three have the most numbers of signers, though very few institutions take appropriate statistics on contemporary signing populations, making legitimate data hard to find.

Notably, few European sign languages have overt connections with the local majority/oral languages, aside from standard language contact and borrowing, meaning grammatically the sign languages and the oral languages of Europe are quite distinct from one another. Due to (visual/aural) modality differences, most sign languages are named for the larger ethnic nation in which they are spoken, plus the words "sign language", rendering what is spoken across much of France, Wallonia and Romandy as French Sign Language or LSF for: langue des signes française.

Recognition of non-oral languages varies widely from region to region.[13] Some countries afford legal recognition, even to official on a state level, whereas others continue to be actively suppressed.[14]

The major sign linguistic families are:

History of standardization

Language and identity, standardization processes

In the Middle Ages the two most important defining elements of Europe were Christianitas and Latinitas.

The earliest dictionaries were glossaries: more or less structured lists of lexical pairs (in alphabetical order or according to conceptual fields). The Latin-German (Latin-Bavarian) Abrogans was among the first. A new wave of lexicography can be seen from the late 15th century onwards (after the introduction of the printing press, with the growing interest in standardisation of languages).

The concept of the nation state began to emerge in the early modern period. Nations adopted particular dialects as their national language. This, together with improved communications, led to official efforts to standardise the national language, and a number of language academies were established: 1582 Accademia della Crusca in Florence, 1617 Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft in Weimar, 1635 Académie française in Paris, 1713 Real Academia Española in Madrid. Language became increasingly linked to nation as opposed to culture, and was also used to promote religious and ethnic identity: e.g. different Bible translations in the same language for Catholics and Protestants.

The first languages whose standardisation was promoted included Italian (questione della lingua: Modern Tuscan/Florentine vs. Old Tuscan/Florentine vs. Venetian → Modern Florentine + archaic Tuscan + Upper Italian), French (the standard is based on Parisian), English (the standard is based on the London dialect) and (High) German (based on the dialects of the chancellery of Meissen in Saxony, Middle German, and the chancellery of Prague in Bohemia ("Common German")). But several other nations also began to develop a standard variety in the 16th century.

Lingua franca

Europe has had a number of languages that were considered linguae francae over some ranges for some periods according to some historians. Typically in the rise of a national language the new language becomes a lingua franca to peoples in the range of the future nation until the consolidation and unification phases. If the nation becomes internationally influential, its language may become a lingua franca among nations that speak their own national languages. Europe has had no lingua franca ranging over its entire territory spoken by all or most of its populations during any historical period. Some linguae francae of past and present over some of its regions for some of its populations are:

Linguistic minorities

Historical attitudes towards linguistic diversity are illustrated by two French laws: the Ordonnance de Villers-Cotterêts (1539), which said that every document in France should be written in French (neither in Latin nor in Occitan) and the Loi Toubon (1994), which aimed to eliminate anglicisms from official documents. States and populations within a state have often resorted to war to settle their differences. There have been attempts to prevent such hostilities: two such initiatives were promoted by the Council of Europe, founded in 1949, which affirms the right of minority language speakers to use their language fully and freely.[21] The Council of Europe is committed to protecting linguistic diversity. Currently all European countries except France, Andorra and Turkey have signed the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, while Greece, Iceland and Luxembourg have signed it, but have not ratified it; this framework entered into force in 1998. Another European treaty, the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, was adopted in 1992 under the auspices of the Council of Europe: it entered into force in 1998, and while it is legally binding for 24 countries, France, Iceland, Italy, North Macedonia, Moldova and Russia have chosen to sign without ratifying the convention.

Scripts

Alphabets used in national languages in Europe:
   Greek
   Greek & Latin
   Latin
   Latin & Cyrillic
   Cyrillic
   Georgian
   Armenian

The main scripts used in Europe today are the Latin and Cyrillic.

The Greek alphabet was derived from the Phoenician alphabet, and Latin was derived from the Greek via the Old Italic alphabet. In the Early Middle Ages, Ogham was used in Ireland and runes (derived from Old Italic script) in Scandinavia. Both were replaced in general use by the Latin alphabet by the Late Middle Ages. The Cyrillic script was derived from the Greek with the first texts appearing around 940 AD.

Around 1900 there were mainly two typeface variants of the Latin alphabet used in Europe: Antiqua and Fraktur. Fraktur was used most for German, Estonian, Latvian, Norwegian and Danish whereas Antiqua was used for Italian, Spanish, French, Polish, Portuguese, English, Romanian, Swedish and Finnish. The Fraktur variant was banned by Hitler in 1941, having been described as "Schwabacher Jewish letters".[22] Other scripts have historically been in use in Europe, including Phoenician, from which modern Latin letters descend, Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs on Egyptian artefacts traded during Antiquity, various runic systems used in Northern Europe preceding Christianisation, and Arabic during the era of the Ottoman Empire.

Hungarian rovás was used by the Hungarian people in the early Middle Ages, but it was gradually replaced with the Latin-based Hungarian alphabet when Hungary became a kingdom, though it was revived in the 20th century and has certain marginal, but growing area of usage since then.

European Union

The European Union (as of 2016) had 28 member states accounting for a population of 510 million, or about 69% of the population of Europe.

The European Union has designated by agreement with the member states 24 languages as "official and working": Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish.[23] This designation provides member states with two "entitlements": the member state may communicate with the EU in any of the designated languages, and view "EU regulations and other legislative documents" in that language.[24]

The European Union and the Council of Europe have been collaborating in education of member populations in languages for "the promotion of plurilingualism" among EU member states.[25] The joint document, "Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (CEFR)", is an educational standard defining "the competencies necessary for communication" and related knowledge for the benefit of educators in setting up educational programs. In a 2005 independent survey requested by the EU's Directorate-General for Education and Culture regarding the extent to which major European languages were spoken in member states. The results were published in a 2006 document, "Europeans and Their Languages", or "Eurobarometer 243". In this study, statistically relevant[clarification needed][Do you mean "significant"?] samples of the population in each country were asked to fill out a survey form concerning the languages that they spoke with sufficient competency "to be able to have a conversation".[26]

List of languages

The following is a table of European languages. The number of speakers as a first or second language (L1 and L2 speakers) listed are speakers in Europe only;[nb 1] see list of languages by number of native speakers and list of languages by total number of speakers for global estimates on numbers of speakers.

The list is intended to include any language variety with an ISO 639 code. However, it omits sign languages. Because the ISO-639-2 and ISO-639-3 codes have different definitions, this means that some communities of speakers may be listed more than once. For instance, speakers of Austro-Bavarian are listed both under "Bavarian" (ISO-639-3 code bar) as well as under "German" (ISO-639-2 code de).

Name ISO-
639
Classification Speakers in Europe Official status
Native Total National[nb 2] Regional
Adyghe ady Northwest Caucasian, Circassian 117,500[27] Adygea (Russia)
Albanian (Shqip)
Arbëresh
Arvanitika
sq Indo-European 5,367,000[28]
5,877,100[29] (Balkans)
Albania, Kosovo[nb 3], North Macedonia Italy, Arbëresh dialect: Sicily, Calabria,[30] Apulia, Molise, Basilicata, Abruzzo, Campania,
Montenegro (Ulcinj, Tuzi)
Aragonese an Indo-European, Romance, Western, West Iberian 25,000[31] 55,000[32] Aragon (Spain)[nb 4]
Aromanian rup Indo-European, Romance, Eastern 114,000[33] North Macedonia (Kruševo)
Asturian (Astur-Leonese) ast Indo-European, Romance, Western, West Iberian 351,791[34] 641,502[34] Asturias[nb 4]
Austro-Bavarian bar Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, Upper, Bavarian 14,000,000[35] Austria (as German)
Avar av Northeast Caucasian, Avar–Andic 760,000 Dagestan (Russia)
Azerbaijani az Turkic, Oghuz 500,000[36] Azerbaijan Dagestan (Russia)
Bashkir ba Turkic, Kipchak 1,221,000[37] Bashkortostan (Russia)
Basque eu Basque 750,000[38] Basque Country: Basque Autonomous Community (Spain, official), Navarre (Spain, official in the Basque-speaking and mixed parts of the region), French Basque Country (France, not official)
Belarusian be Indo-European, Slavic, East 3,300,000[39] Belarus
Bosnian bs Indo-European, Slavic, South, Western, Serbo-Croatian 2,500,000[40] Bosnia and Herzegovina Kosovo[nb 3], Montenegro
Breton br Indo-European, Celtic, Brittonic 206,000[41] None, de facto status in Brittany (France)
Bulgarian bg Indo-European, Slavic, South, Eastern 7,800,000[42] Bulgaria Mount Athos (Greece)
Catalan ca Indo-European, Romance, Western, Occitano-Romance 4,000,000[43] 10,000,000[44] Andorra Balearic Islands (Spain), Catalonia (Spain), Valencian Community (Spain), Aragon (Spain)[nb 4], Pyrénées-Orientales (France)[nb 4], Alghero (Italy)
Chechen ce Northeast Caucasian, Nakh 1,400,000[45] Chechnya & Dagestan (Russia)
Chuvash cv Turkic, Oghur 1,100,000[46] Chuvashia (Russia)
Cimbrian cim Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, Upper, Bavarian 400[47]
Cornish kw Indo-European, Celtic, Brittonic 557[48] Cornwall (United Kingdom)[nb 4]
Corsican co Indo-European, Romance, Italo-Dalmatian 30,000[49] 125,000[49] Corsica (France), Sardinia (Italy)
Crimean Tatar crh Turkic, Kipchak 480,000[50] Crimea
Croatian hr Indo-European, Slavic, South, Western, Croatian-Serbo 5,600,000[51] Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia Burgenland (Austria), Vojvodina (Serbia)
Czech cs Indo-European, Slavic, West, Czech–Slovak 10,600,000[52] Czech Republic
Danish da Indo-European, Germanic, North 5,500,000[53] Denmark Faroe Islands (Denmark), Schleswig-Holstein (Germany)[54]
Dutch nl Indo-European, Germanic, West, Low Franconian 22,000,000[55] Belgium, Netherlands
English en Indo-European, Germanic, West, Anglo-Frisian, Anglic 63,000,000[56] 260,000,000[57] Ireland, Malta, United Kingdom
Erzya myv Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Mordvinic 120,000[58] Mordovia (Russia)
Estonian et Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Finnic 1,165,400[59] Estonia
Extremaduran ext Indo-European, Romance, Western, West Iberian 200,000[60] Extremadura (Spain)
Faroese fo Indo-European, Germanic, North 66,150[61] Faroe Islands (Denmark)
Finnish fi Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Finnic 5,400,000[62] Finland
Franco-Provençal (Arpitan) frp Indo-European, Romance, Western, Gallo-Romance 140,000[63] Aosta Valley (Italy)
French fr Indo-European, Romance, Western, Gallo-Romance, Oïl 71,500,000[64] 135,000,000[57] Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Monaco, Switzerland Aosta Valley[65] (Italy), Jersey (United Kingdom), El Pas de la Casa (Andorra)
Frisian fry
frr
stq
Indo-European, Germanic, West, Anglo-Frisian 470,000[66] Friesland (Netherlands), Schleswig-Holstein (Germany)[67]
Friulan fur Indo-European, Romance, Western, Gallo-Italic 600,000[68] Friuli (Italy)
Gagauz gag Turkic, Oghuz 140,000[69] Gagauzia (Moldova)
Galician gl Indo-European, Romance, Western, West Iberian 2,400,000[70] Galicia (Spain), Eo-Navia (Asturias)[nb 4], Bierzo (Province of León)[nb 4] and Western Sanabria (Province of Zamora)[nb 4]
German de Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German 97,000,000[71] 170,000,000[57] Austria, Belgium, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Switzerland South Tyrol,[72] Friuli-Venezia Giulia[73] (Italy)
Greek el Indo-European, Hellenic 11,000,000[74] Cyprus, Greece Albania (Himara, Finiq, Dervican and other southern townships)
Hungarian hu Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Ugric 13,000,000[75] Hungary Burgenland (Austria), Vojvodina (Serbia), Romania, Slovakia, Subcarpathia (Ukraine), Mur region, (Slovenia), northern Croatia
Icelandic is Indo-European, Germanic, North 330,000[76] Iceland
Ingrian izh Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Finnic 120[77]
Ingush inh Northeast Caucasian, Nakh 300,000[78] Ingushetia (Russia)
Irish ga Indo-European, Celtic, Goidelic 240,000[79] 2,000,000 Ireland Northern Ireland (United Kingdom)
Istriot ist Indo-European, Romance 900[80]
Istro-Romanian ruo Indo-European, Romance, Eastern 1,100[81]
Italian it Indo-European, Romance, Italo-Dalmatian 65,000,000[82] 82,000,000[57] Italy, San Marino, Switzerland, Vatican City Istria County (Croatia), Slovenian Istria (Slovenia)
Italiot Greek mis Indo-European, Hellenic, Greek, Attic-Ionic 20,000 native speakers in 1981[83] 50,000 Calabria[84] (Bovesia), Apulia[85] (Salento), (Italy)
Judeo-Italian itk Indo-European, Romance, Italo-Dalmatian 250[86]
Judaeo-Spanish (Ladino) lad Indo-European, Romance, Western, West Iberian 320,000[87] few[88] Bosnia and Herzegovina[nb 4], France[nb 4]
Kabardian kbd Northwest Caucasian, Circassian 530,000[89] Kabardino-Balkaria & Karachay-Cherkessia (Russia)
Kalmyk xal Mongolic 80,500[90] Kalmykia (Russia)
Karelian krl Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Finnic 36,000[91] Karelia (Russia)
Karachay-Balkar krc Turkic, Kipchak 300,000[92] Kabardino-Balkaria & Karachay-Cherkessia (Russia)
Kashubian csb Indo-European, Slavic, West, Lechitic 50,000[93] Poland
Kazakh kk Turkic, Kipchak 1,000,000[94] Kazakhstan Astrakhan Oblast (Russia)
Komi kv Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Permic 220,000[95] Komi Republic (Russia)
Latin la Indo-European, Italic, Latino-Faliscan extinct few[96] Vatican City
Latvian lv Indo-European, Baltic 1,750,000[97] Latvia
Ligurian lij Indo-European, Romance, Western, Gallo-Italic 500,000[98] Liguria (Italy)
Limburgish li

lim

Indo-European, Germanic, West, Low Franconian 1,300,000 (2001)[99] Limburg (Netherlands)
Lithuanian lt Indo-European, Baltic 3,000,000[100] Lithuania
Lombard lmo Indo-European, Romance, Western, Gallo-Italic 3,600,000[101] Lombardy (Italy)
Low German (Low Saxon) nds
wep
Indo-European, Germanic, West 1,000,000[102] 2,600,000[102] Schleswig-Holstein (Germany)[103]
Luxembourgish lb Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German 336,000[104] 386,000[104] Luxembourg Wallonia (Belgium)
Macedonian mk Indo-European, Slavic, South, Eastern 1,400,000[105] North Macedonia
Mainfränkisch vmf Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, Upper 4,900,000[106] Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria & Thuringia (Germany)
Maltese mt Semitic, Arabic 520,000[107] Malta
Manx gv Indo-European, Celtic, Goidelic 230[108] 2,300[109] Isle of Man
Mari chm
mhr
Uralic, Finno-Ugric 500,000[110] Mari El (Russia)
Megleno-Romanian ruq Indo-European, Romance, Eastern 3,000[111]
Mirandese mwl Indo-European, Romance, Western, West Iberian 15,000[112] Miranda do Douro (Portugal)
Moksha mdf Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Mordvinic 2,000[113] Mordovia (Russia)
Montenegrin cnr Indo-European, Slavic, South, Western, Serbo-Croatian 240,700[114] Montenegro
Neapolitan nap Indo-European, Romance, Italo-Dalmatian 5,700,000[115] Campania (Italy)[116]
Nenets yrk Uralic, Samoyedic 4,000[117] Nenets Autonomous Okrug (Russia)
Norman nrf Indo-European, Romance, Western, Gallo-Romance, Oïl 50,000[118] Normandy (France), Jersey (United Kingdom)
Norwegian no Indo-European, Germanic, North 5,200,000[119] Norway
Occitan oc Indo-European, Romance, Western, Occitano-Romance 500,000[120] Catalonia (Spain)[nb 5]
Ossetian os Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Eastern 450,000[121] Georgia North Ossetia-Alania (Russia)
Palatinate German pfl Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, Central 1,000,000[122] Germany
Picard pcd Indo-European, Romance, Western, Gallo-Romance, Oïl 200,000[123] Wallonia (Belgium)
Piedmontese pms Indo-European, Romance, Western, Gallo-Italic 1,600,000[124] Piedmont (Italy)[125]
Polish pl Indo-European, Slavic, West, Lechitic 38,500,000[126] Poland
Portuguese pt Indo-European, Romance, Western, West Iberian 10,000,000[127] Portugal
Rhaeto-Romance fur
lld
roh
Indo-European, Romance, Western 370,000[128] Switzerland Veneto Belluno, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, South Tyrol,[129] & Trentino (Italy)
Ripuarian (Platt) ksh Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, Central 900,000[130] Germany, Netherlands, Wallonia (Belgium)
Romani rom Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Western 1,500,000[131] Kosovo[nb 3][132]
Romanian ro Indo-European, Romance, Eastern 24,000,000[133] 28,000,000[134] Moldova, Romania Mount Athos (Greece), Vojvodina (Serbia)
Russian ru Indo-European, Slavic, East 106,000,000[135] 160,000,000[135] Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia Mount Athos (Greece), Gagauzia (Moldova), Transnistria (Moldova), Svalbard (Norway), Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania
Sami se Uralic, Finno-Ugric 23,000[136] Norway Sweden, Finland
Sardinian sc Indo-European, Romance 1,350,000[137] Sardinia (Italy)
Scots sco Indo-European, Germanic, West, Anglo-Frisian, Anglic 110,000[138] Scotland (United Kingdom), Ulster (Republic of Ireland), Northern Ireland (United Kingdom)
Scottish Gaelic gd Indo-European, Celtic, Goidelic 57,000[139] Scotland (United Kingdom)
Serbian sr Indo-European, Slavic, South, Western, Serbo-Croatian 9,000,000[140] Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo[nb 3], Serbia Croatia, Mount Athos (Greece), North Macedonia, Montenegro
Sicilian scn Indo-European, Romance, Italo-Dalmatian 4,700,000[141] Sicily (Italy)
Silesian szl Indo-European, Slavic, West, Lechitic 522,000[142] Upper Silesia (Poland, Czech Republic & Germany), Silesia (Poland)
Silesian German sli Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, Central 11,000[143] Upper Silesia (Poland, Czech Republic & Germany), Silesia (Poland)
Slovak sk Indo-European, Slavic, West, Czech–Slovak 5,200,000[144] Slovakia Vojvodina (Serbia), Czech Republic
Slovene sl Indo-European, Slavic, South, Western 2,100,000[145] Slovenia Friuli-Venezia Giulia[73] (Italy)
Sorbian (Wendish) wen Indo-European, Slavic, West 20,000[146] Brandenburg & Sachsen (Germany)[147]
Spanish es Indo-European, Romance, Western, West Iberian 38,000,000[148] 76,000,000[57] Spain Andorra, Gibraltar (United Kingdom)
Swabian German swg Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, Upper, Alemannic 820,000[149] Germany
Swedish sv Indo-European, Germanic, North 11,100,000[150] 13,280,000[150] Finland, Sweden
Swiss German gsw Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, Upper, Alemannic 5,000,000[151] Switzerland (as German)
Tabasaran tab Northeast Caucasian, Lezgic 126,900[152] Dagestan (Russia)
Tat ttt Indo-European, Iranian, Western 30,000[153] Dagestan (Russia)
Tatar tt Turkic, Kipchak 4,300,000[154] Tatarstan (Russia)
Turkish tr Turkic, Oghuz 15,752,673[155] Turkey, Cyprus Northern Cyprus
Udmurt udm Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Permic 340,000[156] Udmurtia (Russia)
Ukrainian uk Indo-European, Slavic, East 32,600,000[157] Ukraine Transnistria Transnistria (Moldova)
Upper Saxon sxu Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, Central 2,000,000[158] Sachsen (Germany)
Vepsian vep Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Finnic 1,640[159] Karelia Karelia (Russia)
Venetian vec Indo-European, Romance, Italo-Dalmatian 3,800,000[160] Veneto (Italy)[161]
Võro vro Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Finnic 87,000[162] Võru County (Estonia)
Walloon wa Indo-European, Romance, Western, Gallo-Romance, Oïl 600,000[163] Wallonia (Belgium)
Walser German wae Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, Upper, Alemannic 20,000[164]
Welsh cy Indo-European, Celtic, Brittonic 562,000[165] 750,000 Wales (United Kingdom)
Wymysorys wym Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German 70[166]
Yenish yec Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German 16,000[167] Switzerland[nb 4]
Yiddish yi Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German 600,000[168] Bosnia and Herzegovina[nb 4], Netherlands[nb 4], Poland[nb 4], Romania[nb 4], Sweden[nb 4], Ukraine[nb 4]

Languages spoken in Turkey, Cyprus, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia

There are various definitions of Europe, which may or may not include all or parts of Turkey, Cyprus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. For convenience, the languages and associated statistics for all five of these countries are grouped together on this page, as they are usually presented at a national, rather than subnational, level.

Name ISO-
639
Classification Speakers in expanded geopolitical Europe Official status
L1 L1+L2 National[nb 6] Regional
Abkhaz ab Northwest Caucasian, Abazgi Abkhazia/Georgia:[169] 191,000[170]
Turkey: 44,000[171]
Abkhazia Abkhazia
Adyghe (West Circassian) ady Northwest Caucasian, Circassian Turkey: 316,000[171]
Albanian sq Indo-European, Albanian Turkey: 66,000 (Tosk)[171]
Arabic ar Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, West Turkey: 2,437,000 Not counting post-2014 Syrian refugees[171]
Armenian hy Indo-European, Armenian Armenia: 3 million[172]
Artsakh/Azerbaijan:[173] 145,000[citation needed]
Georgia: around 0.2 million ethnic Armenians (Abkhazia: 44,870[174])
Turkey: 61,000[171]
Cyprus: 668[175]:3
Armenia
Artsakh
Cyprus
Azerbaijani az Turkic, Oghuz Azerbaijan 9 million[citation needed][176]
Turkey: 540,000[171]
Georgia 0.2 million
Azerbaijan
Batsbi bbl Northeast Caucasian, Nakh Georgia: 500[177][needs update]
Bulgarian bg Indo-European, Slavic, South Turkey: 351,000[171]
Crimean crh Turkic, Kipchak Turkey: 100,000[171]
Georgian ka Kartvelian, Karto-Zan Georgia: 3,224,696[178]
Turkey: 151,000[171]
Azerbaijan: 9,192 ethnic Georgians[179]
Georgia
Greek el Indo-European, Hellenic Cyprus: 679,883[180]:2.2
Turkey: 3,600[171]
Cyprus
Juhuri jdt Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Southwest Azerbaijan: 24,000 (1989)[181][needs update]
Kurdish kur Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Northwest Turkey: 15 million[182]
Armenia: 33,509[183]
Georgia: 14,000[citation needed]
Azerbaijan: 9,000[citation needed]
Armenia
Laz lzz Kartvelian, Karto-Zan, Zan Turkey: 20,000[184]
Georgia: 2,000[184]
Megleno-Romanian ruq Indo-European, Italic, Romance, East Turkey: 4–5,000[185]
Mingrelian xmf Kartvelian, Karto-Zan, Zan Georgia (including Abkhazia): 344,000[186]
Pontic Greek pnt Indo-European, Hellenic Turkey: greater than 5,000[187]
Armenia: 900 ethnic Caucasus Greeks[188]
Georgia: 5,689 Caucasus Greeks[178]
Romani language and Domari language rom, dmt Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indic Turkey: 500,000[171]
Russian ru Indo-European, Balto-Slavic, Slavic Armenia: 15,000[189]
Azerbaijan: 250,000[189]
Georgia: 130,000[189]
Armenia: about 0.9 million[190]
Azerbaijan: about 2.6 million[190]
Georgia: about 1 million[190]
Cyprus: 20,984[191]
Abkhazia
South Ossetia
Armenia
Azerbaijan
Svan sva Kartvelian, Svan Georgia (incl. Abkhazia): 30,000[192]
Tat ttt Indo-European, Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Southwest Azerbaijan: 10,000[193][needs update]
Turkish tr Turkic, Oghuz Turkey: 66,850,000[171]
Cyprus: 1,405[194] + 265,100 in the North[195]
Turkey
Cyprus
Northern Cyprus

Immigrant communities

Recent (post–1945) immigration to Europe introduced substantial communities of speakers of non-European languages.[196]

The largest such communities include Arabic speakers (see Arabs in Europe) and Turkish speakers (beyond European Turkey and the historical sphere of influence of the Ottoman Empire, see Turks in Europe).[197] Armenians, Berbers, and Kurds have diaspora communities of c. 1–2,000,000 each. The various languages of Africa and languages of India form numerous smaller diaspora communities.

List of the largest immigrant languages
Name ISO 639 Classification Native Ethnic diaspora
Arabic ar Afro-Asiatic, Semitic 5,000,000[198] 12,000,000[199]
Turkish tr Turkic, Oghuz 3,000,000[200] 7,000,000[201]
Armenian hy Indo-European 1,000,000[202] 3,000,000[203]
Kurdish ku Indo-European, Iranian, Western 600,000[204] 1,000,000[205]
Bengali–Assamese bn as syl Indo-European, Indo-Aryan 600,000[206] 1,000,000[207]
Azerbaijani az Turkic, Oghuz 500,000[208] 700,000[209]
Kabyle kab Afro-Asiatic, Berber 500,000[210] 1,000,000[211]
Chinese zh Sino-Tibetan, Sinitic 300,000[212] 2,000,000[213]
Urdu ur Indo-European, Indo-Aryan 300,000[214] 1,800,000[215]
Uzbek uz Turkic, Karluk 300,000[216] 2,000,000[217]
Persian fa Indo-European, Iranian, Western 300,000[218] 400,000[219]
Punjabi pa Indo-European, Indo-Aryan 300,000[220] 700,000[221]
Gujarati gu Indo-European, Indo-Aryan 200,000[222] 600,000[223]
Tamil ta Dravidian 200,000[224] 500,000[225]
Somali so Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic 200,000[226] 400,000[227]

See also

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