The following list of languages are considered the supercentral languages on the global language system list.
These widely spoken languages are: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili and Telugu.
Languages with more than 10 million native speakers
Mandarin Chinese Sino-Tibetan, Chinese 845,000,000 – 800,000,000 1,052 million including second language speakers (Ethnologue, 1999)
Spanish Indo-European, Italic, Romance 329,000,000 – 358,000,000 417 million including second-language speakers (Ethnologue 1999).
English Indo-European, Germanic, West Germanic, Anglo-Frisian, English 328,000,000 – 350,000,000 508 million including second-language speakers. More than 1,000 million (as a total of first, second and foreign language spoken according to List of countries by English-speaking population). Might have as many as 1.8 billion speakers
Hindi/Urdu Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central Zone, Western Hindi, Khariboli 487 million (366 million with all varieties of Hindi and Urdu + 120 million as a second language in 1999) – 484.5 million (258 mill. properly Hindi, 422 million all varieties of Hindi and 51,5 million of Urdu according to Indian Census 2001)
Arabic Afro-Asiatic, Semitic 221,000,000 – 150,000,000 246 million including second language speakers (Ethnologue, 1999)
Bengali Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan 181,000,000 – 170,000,000 211 million including second language speakers. Official language of the state of West Bengal (India) and Bangladesh (Ethnologue, 1999 )
Portuguese Indo-European, Italic, Romance 178,000,000 – 150,000,000 191 million including second language speakers (Ethnologue, 1999 )/ 220 million native, 20 million second language = 240 million total
Russian Indo-European, Slavic, East Slavic 144,000,000 – 160,000,000 277 million including second language speakers (Ethnologue, 1999)
Japanese Japonic, formerly Language isolate 122,000,000 – 126,000,000 130 million native, 2 million second language = 132 million total, 50 to 100 million native speakers
German Indo-European, Germanic, West Germanic 90,300,000 – 100,000,000 101 million native (88 million Standard German, 8 million Austrian Standard German, 5 million Swiss Standard German), 60 million second language in EU + 5–20 million worldwide. Official language in: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium and Liechtenstein
Javanese Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Sunda-Sulawesi 84,600,000 – 70,000,550  Java (Indonesia), Peninsular Malaysia, Suriname, New Caledonia
Punjabi Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan 78,300,000 – 70,000,000 Both counts include the two Lahnda dialects of Western Punjabi and Siraiki 61–62 million (2000 WCD) (taken together with Eastern Punjabi (28 million): approx. 90 million total)
Wu Sino-Tibetan, Chinese 77,200,000 – 90,000,000 Shanghai; most of Zhejiang province; southern Jiangsu province; Xuancheng prefecture-level city of Anhui province; Shangrao County, Guangfeng County and Yushan County, Jiangxi province; Pucheng County, Fujian province; North Point, Hong Kong
French Indo-European, Italic, Romance 77,000,000 – 70,000,000 128 million “native and real speakers” (includes 64,473,140 French people) and 72 million “bilinguals”. More than 200 total both native and second language. Not including partial speakers, and up to 450+ million total with significant knowledge of the language. French is the fourth most spoken language in the world when including second language speakers. It is also one of the six official languages of the United Nations.
Telugu Dravidian, South Central 69,800,000 69,666,000 – 74,002,856 (2001 census)
Vietnamese Austro-Asiatic, Mon-Khmer, Vietic 68,600,000 – 60,000,000 70 million native, perhaps up to 16 million second language, = ~86 million total
Marathi Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan 68,100,000 70,000,000 Indian census:71,936,894 68 million native, 3 million second language = 71 million total
Korean language isolate 66,300,000 – 60,000,000 42,000,000 in South Korea (1986). Population total all countries 78,000,000 (1999 WA)
Tamil Dravidian 65,700,000 – 50,000,000 Official Language in Indian State of Tamil Nadu, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka. Indian census: 60,793,814
Italian Indo-European, Italic, Romance 61,700,000 – 60,000,000 Official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City
Turkish Altaic, Turkic, Oghuz 61,000,000 – 50,000,000 Official in Turkey and Cyprus; spoken in France, Switzerland, Bulgaria, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Kosovo by Turkish Population
Cantonese/Yue Sino-Tibetan, Chinese 55,500,000 – 70,000,000 10 to 50 million native speakers
Tagalog (including Filipino) Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Philippine 48.9 million (2006) Official in Philippines (in the form of Filipino). Significant communities in Australia, Canada, People’s Republic of China (Hong Kong), Japan, Korea, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United States (California, Guam, Hawaii, Northern Mariana Islands). 49 million native, ~51 million second language = ~100 million total
Gujarati Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan 46.5 million 46.1 million Official language in the Indian state of Gujarat and also spoken in Pakistan, Bangladesh, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia and in other states in India
Min Sino-Tibetan, Chinese 46,200,000 Southern Min: 49m, Northern Min 10.43m
Maithili Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan 45,000,000
Polish Indo-European, Slavic, West Slavic 40,000,000 44 million
Ukrainian Indo-European, Slavic, East Slavic 39,400,000 47 million
Malay Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Sunda-Sulawesi, Malayic 39,100,000 – 23.6 million (2006) Official in Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore. Native to Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand. Significant communities in Australia, Bahrain. 18 million native, 270 million second language (includes the mutually intelligible Bahasa Indonesia)
Bhojpuri Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan 38,500,000 – 26,254,000
Xiang Sino-Tibetan, Chinese 36,000,000
Malayalam Dravidian, Kerala, Southern – India 35,706,000 – 35,706,000 Indian census:33,066,392
Kannada Dravidian, Southern – India 35,400,000 – 35,400,000 38 million native, 9 million second language, = 47 million total
Sunda Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Sunda-Sulawesi 34,000,000 27 million
Burmese Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Lolo-Burmese 32,300,000 32,300,000 50-56 million total speakers, including 18 to 23 million as second language (Myanmar Language Commission)
Oriya Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan 31,700,000 32.3 million Oriya is an official language of India and is spoken by over 35 million people all over the world. Indian Census:33,017,446
Persian Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian 31.3 million 31.3 million 63 million (Encyclopedia of Orient) 59.4 million 2009 CIA Factbook (Afghan Persian, Iranian Persian and Tajiki are considered dialects of one language); 23.9 million Persian (Farsi) Western in Iran (1997) Ethnologue. ca. 60-70 million, as their mother tongue (2006 estimates)
Hakka Sino-Tibetan, Chinese 30,000,000
Hausa Afro-Asiatic, Chadic, West Chadic 24,200,000 24.2 million (2006) Official in Niger, official in Nigeria. Significant communities in Chad, Benin, Ghana, Sudan
24 million native, ~15 million second language, = ~39 million total
Romanian Indo-European, Italic, Romance 23,400,000 26,265,555 Official in Moldova, Romania, Serbia (Vojvodina). Significant communities in Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Spain, Ukraine.
26 million native, 4 million second language. The total is about 30 million.
Indonesian (also known as Bahasa Indonesia) Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian 23.2 million 17.1 million national language in Indonesia more than 140 million second language speakers per Ethnologue. Almost 100% of the population of Indonesia speaks Bahasa Indonesia, a dialect of Malay.
Azerbaijani Altaic, Turkic, Oghuz 21.7 million
Azerbaijani, Qashqai 1.5 million (1997) 31.4 million 25–35 million native, including Qashqai (data for Iran uncertain); 8 million second language (outside Iran); Azerbaijani, South 24.4 million (1996) – 12.7 million (Iraq 0.6 million (1982), Suria 0.03 million (1961), Turkey 0.53 million; Azerbaijani, Iran 15.9 million (2009) 24%; Azerbaijani, North 7.5 million (2007); Azerbaijani, Qashqai 1.5 million (1997)
Dutch Indo-European, Germanic, West Germanic 21,700,000 20 million (2006) 25 million Official in Belgium, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Suriname. Significant communities in the United States, Canada, Australia, Indonesia and South Africa (excluding Afrikaans).
Gan Sino-Tibetan, Chinese 21 million — 48 million, 29 million in Jiangxi
Thai Kradai, Tai 20.3 million (2000) 46.1 million (2006) Encarta includes Northern, Northeastern and Southern Thai as well as Central whereas ethnologue Thai is just Central Thai
~31 million native (1983 SIL, 1990 Diller, 2000 WCD) (dated data), = ~60 million first and second language (2001 A. Diller). Includes Southern Thai, Northern Thai/Western Lao, but not Shan, Isan, or Lao.
Yoruba Niger-Congo, Benue-Congo, Defoid, Yoruboid 20,000,000 20 million (2006) minority Nigeria.
Sindhi Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan 19,720,000 19,720,000 (2006) Official in Pakistan, India. Significant communities in People’s Republic of China (Hong Kong), UK, Philippines Oman. 17 million native, 13 million second language, = 30 million total (2001 Johnstone and Mandryk)
Pashto Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Eastern Iranian 19,000,000 26,811,657 Official in Afghanistan. Native to Pakistan. Significant communities in Iran, United Arab Emirates.
Uzbek Altaic, Turkic, Eastern Turkic 18,466,000 20.1 million (2006) Official in Uzbekistan. Native to Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan
Igbo Niger-Congo, Benue-Congo, Igboid 18 million 18 million Official in Nigeria
unknown number second language.
Saraiki Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan 19,720,000 19,720,000 (2006) Official in Pakistan, India. Significant communities in People’s Republic of China (Hong Kong), UK, Philippines Oman. 17 million native, 13 million second language, = 30 million total (2001 Johnstone and Mandryk)
Amharic Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, South 17,413,000 17.4 million (2006) Official in Ethiopia. Significant communities in Israel.27 million native (32.7% Ethiopia [1994 census] and 2.7 million emigrants), 10% (7 million) as a second language = 34 million total
Nepali Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan 16,056,000 16,056,000 Official in Nepal, India (Sikkim). Significant communities in Bhutan.approx. 30 million in Nepal, 16 million as native tongue and 15 million as a second language (2006)
Serbo-Croatian Indo-European, Slavic, South Croatian 6,200,00, Bosnian 1,800,000, Serbian 8,600,000 Croatian 6,200,00, Bosnian 1,800,000, Serbian 8,600,000 (1996) Official in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. Variant language; Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Serbian respectively. Significant communities in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia.
Kurdish Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Northwestern 10,600,000 Kurdish is absent from Encarta’s list of “Languages Spoken by More Than 10 Million People” Official in Iraq. Native to Armenia, Iran, Syria, Turkey. Significant communities in Germany, Lebanon. Some sources estimate there to be approximately 40 million Kurdish speakers 30 million only in the mideast.
Cebuano Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Borneo-Philippines 15.8 million 15 million (2006) Native to Philippines
18.5 million native, ~11.5 million second language, = 30 million total (2000 census)
Assamese Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan 15,334,000 15,374,000 Official in India (Assam). Significant communities in Bhutan and Bangladesh. Assamese is spoken and/or understood by almost everyone in the state of Assam. Assam had a population of 26.7 million in 2003-04. So, Assamese has another 8-10 million second language speakers. Assamese is also understood and spoken widely in Arunachal Pradesh, which has a population of 1.1 million. These are mostly second or third language speakers. Various tribes in Nagaland, with a population of 2 million, use Nagamese, a variant of Assamese, for communication. Thus, a total of approximately, 28-30 million people speak and understand Assamese.
Malagasy Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Bornean, Barito 15 million 10.5 million (2006) Official in Madagascar. Significant communities in Mayotte.
Hungarian Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Ugric 14,500,000 14.5 million (2006) Official in Hungary, Serbia (Vojvodina), Slovenia, Austria. Significant communities in Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine, United States, Israel 14 million native (1995)
Zhuang Kradai, Tai 14 million 14 million Official in People’s Republic of China (Guangxi) 14 million native (1992), unknown number second language
Madurese Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Sunda-Sulawesi 13,694,000 13,694,000 Native to Indonesia (Originally Java, Madura)
Sinhalese Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan 13,220,000 13.2 million (2006) Official in Sri Lanka. Significant communities in United Arab Emirates
13 million native, 2 million second language, = 15 million total (1993)
Greek Indo-European, Greek 12 million 12 million Official in Cyprus, Greece. Significant communities in Albania, Australia, Canada, Egypt, France, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA.
12 million (2004), up to 10–12 million more second language
Fula/Fulfulde Niger-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Senegambian ~13 million (all varieties) 11,428,700 Official in Niger, Nigeria. National language in Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal. Significant communities in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Sierra Leone.
Czech Indo-European, Slavic, West Slavic 12 million (2006) 12 million (1990 WA). Official in Czech Republic.
Shona Niger-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantu 7,000,000 14 million National language of Zimbabwe. Significant communities in Botswana, Mozambique.
15 million native, 1.8 million second language, = 16–17 million total, including Ndau, Manyika (2000 A. Chebanne)
Oromo Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East Cushitic split into different dialects in their consideration 17.2 million (2006) National language of Ethiopia. Significant communities in Kenya
24 million native (31.6% of Ethiopia [1994 census]), ~2 million second language, = 26 million total (1998 census)