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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 , Slavic , and Germanic 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), Indo-Aryan (Romani, c. 1.5 million), and Celtic (c. 1 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, with Arabic being the most widely spoken of them.
Five languages have more than 50 million native speakers in Europe: French, Italian, German, English, and Russian. While Russian has the largest number of native speakers (more than 100 million in Europe), 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 .)
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).
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. 9 million), Sicilian (c. 5 million, also subsumed under Italian), Venetian language (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 .
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.
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 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. Even so, especially Swedish, but also Danish and Norwegian, have strong vocabulary connections to the German language.
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:
Uralic is native to northern Eurasia. Finno-Ugric groups the Uralic languages other than Samoyedic. Finnic languages include Finnish (c. 5 million) and Estonian (c. 1 million). The Sami languages (c. 30,000) are closely related to Finnic.
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.
The major sign linguistic families are:
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.
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:
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. 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.
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". 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.
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. 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.
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. 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".
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; 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).
|Classification||Speakers in Europe||Official status|
|Adyghe||ady||Northwest Caucasian, Circassian||117,500||Adygea (Russia)|
| Albanian (Shqip)|
|Albania, Kosovo , North Macedonia|| Italy, Arbëresh dialect: Sicily, Calabria, Apulia, Molise, Basilicata, Abruzzo, Campania, |
Montenegro (Ulcinj, Tuzi)
|Aragonese||an||Indo-European, Romance, Western, West Iberian||25,000||55,000||Aragon (Spain)|
|Aromanian||rup||Indo-European, Romance, Eastern||114,000||North Macedonia (Kruševo)|
|Asturian (Astur-Leonese)||ast||Indo-European, Romance, Western, West Iberian||351,791||641,502||Asturias|
|Austro-Bavarian||bar||Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, Upper, Bavarian||14,000,000||Austria (as German)|
|Avar||av||Northeast Caucasian, Avar–Andic||760,000||Dagestan (Russia)|
|Azerbaijani||az||Turkic, Oghuz||500,000||Azerbaijan||Dagestan (Russia)|
|Bashkir||ba||Turkic, Kipchak||1,221,000||Bashkortostan (Russia)|
|Basque||eu||Basque||750,000||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||Belarus|
|Bosnian||bs||Indo-European, Slavic, South, Western, Serbo-Croatian||2,500,000||Bosnia and Herzegovina||Kosovo , Montenegro|
|Breton||br||Indo-European, Celtic, Brittonic||206,000||None, de facto status in Brittany (France)|
|Bulgarian||bg||Indo-European, Slavic, South, Eastern||7,800,000||Bulgaria||Mount Athos (Greece)|
|Catalan||ca||Indo-European, Romance, Western, Occitano-Romance||4,000,000||10,000,000||Andorra||Balearic Islands (Spain), Catalonia (Spain), Valencian Community (Spain), Aragon (Spain) , Pyrénées-Orientales (France) , Alghero (Italy)|
|Chechen||ce||Northeast Caucasian, Nakh||1,400,000||Chechnya & Dagestan (Russia)|
|Chuvash||cv||Turkic, Oghur||1,100,000||Chuvashia (Russia)|
|Cimbrian||cim||Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, Upper, Bavarian||400|
|Cornish||kw||Indo-European, Celtic, Brittonic||557||Cornwall (United Kingdom)|
|Corsican||co||Indo-European, Romance, Italo-Dalmatian||30,000||125,000||Corsica (France), Sardinia (Italy)|
|Crimean Tatar||crh||Turkic, Kipchak||480,000||Crimea|
|Croatian||hr||Indo-European, Slavic, South, Western, Serbo-Croatian||5,600,000||Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia||Burgenland (Austria), Vojvodina (Serbia)|
|Czech||cs||Indo-European, Slavic, West, Czech–Slovak||10,600,000||Czech Republic|
|Danish||da||Indo-European, Germanic, North||5,500,000||Denmark||Faroe Islands (Denmark), Schleswig-Holstein (Germany)|
|Dutch||nl||Indo-European, Germanic, West||22,000,000||Belgium, Netherlands|
|English||en||Indo-European, Germanic, West, Anglo-Frisian, Anglic||63,000,000||260,000,000||Ireland, Malta, United Kingdom|
|Erzya||myv||Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Mordvinic||120,000||Mordovia (Russia)|
|Estonian||et||Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Finnic||1,165,400||Estonia|
|Extremaduran||ext||Indo-European, Romance, Western, West Iberian||200,000||Extremadura (Spain)|
|Faroese||fo||Indo-European, Germanic, North||66,150||Faroe Islands (Denmark)|
|Finnish||fi||Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Finnic||5,400,000||Finland|
|Franco-Provençal (Arpitan)||frp||Indo-European, Romance, Western, Gallo-Romance||140,000||Aosta Valley (Italy)|
|French||fr||Indo-European, Romance, Western, Gallo-Romance, Oïl||71,500,000||135,000,000||Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Monaco, Switzerland||Aosta Valley (Italy), Jersey (United Kingdom), El Pas de la Casa (Andorra)|
|Indo-European, Germanic, West, Anglo-Frisian||470,000||Friesland (Netherlands), Schleswig-Holstein (Germany)|
|Friulan||fur||Indo-European, Romance, Western, Gallo-Italic||600,000||Friuli (Italy)|
|Gagauz||gag||Turkic, Oghuz||140,000||Gagauzia (Moldova)|
|Galician||gl||Indo-European, Romance, Western, West Iberian||2,400,000||Galicia (Spain), Eo-Navia (Asturias) , Bierzo (Province of León) and Western Sanabria (Province of Zamora)|
|German||de||Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German||97,000,000||170,000,000||Austria, Belgium, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Switzerland||South Tyrol, Friuli-Venezia Giulia (Italy)|
|Greek||el||Indo-European, Hellenic||11,000,000||Cyprus, Greece||Albania (Himara, Finiq, Dervican and other southern townships)|
|Hungarian||hu||Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Ugric||13,000,000||Hungary||Burgenland (Austria), Vojvodina (Serbia), Romania, Slovakia, Subcarpathia (Ukraine), Mur region, (Slovenia), northern Croatia|
|Icelandic||is||Indo-European, Germanic, North||330,000||Iceland|
|Ingrian||izh||Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Finnic||120|
|Ingush||inh||Northeast Caucasian, Nakh||300,000||Ingushetia (Russia)|
|Irish||ga||Indo-European, Celtic, Goidelic||240,000||1,300,000||Republic of Ireland||Northern Ireland (United Kingdom)|
|Istro-Romanian||ruo||Indo-European, Romance, Eastern||1,100|
|Italian||it||Indo-European, Romance, Italo-Dalmatian||65,000,000||82,000,000||Italy, San Marino, Switzerland, Vatican City||Croatia Istria County (Croatia), Slovenia Slovenian Istria (Slovenia)|
|Italiot Greek||mis||Indo-European, Hellenic, Greek, Attic-Ionic||20,000 native speakers in 1981||50,000||Calabria (Bovesia), Apulia (Salento), (Italy)|
|Judeo-Italian||itk||Indo-European, Romance, Italo-Dalmatian||250|
|Judaeo-Spanish (Ladino)||lad||Indo-European, Romance, Western, West Iberian||320,000||few||Bosnia and Herzegovina , France|
|Kabardian||kbd||Northwest Caucasian, Circassian||530,000||Kabardino-Balkaria & Karachay-Cherkessia (Russia)|
|Karelian||krl||Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Finnic||36,000||Karelia (Russia)|
|Karachay-Balkar||krc||Turkic, Kipchak||300,000||Kabardino-Balkaria & Karachay-Cherkessia (Russia)|
|Kashubian||csb||Indo-European, Slavic, West, Lechitic||50,000||Poland|
|Komi||kv||Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Permic||220,000||Komi Republic (Russia)|
|Latin||la||Indo-European, Italic, Latino-Faliscan||extinct||few||Vatican City|
|Ligurian||lij||Indo-European, Romance, Western, Gallo-Italic||500,000||Liguria (Italy)|
|Lombard||lmo||Indo-European, Romance, Western, Gallo-Italic||3,600,000||Lombardy (Italy)|
|Low German (Low Saxon)||nds|
|Indo-European, Germanic, West||1,000,000||2,600,000||Schleswig-Holstein (Germany)|
|Luxembourgish||lb||Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German||336,000||386,000||Luxembourg||Wallonia (Belgium)|
|Macedonian||mk||Indo-European, Slavic, South, Eastern||1,400,000||North Macedonia|
|Mainfränkisch||vmf||Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, Upper||4,900,000||Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria & Thuringia (Germany)|
|Manx||gv||Indo-European, Celtic, Goidelic||230||2,300||Isle of Man|
|Uralic, Finno-Ugric||500,000||Mari El (Russia)|
|Megleno-Romanian||ruq||Indo-European, Romance, Eastern||3,000|
|Mirandese||mwl||Indo-European, Romance, Western, West Iberian||15,000||Miranda do Douro (Portugal)|
|Moksha||mdf||Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Mordvinic||2,000||Mordovia (Russia)|
|Montenegrin||cnr||Indo-European, Slavic, South, Western, Serbo-Croatian||240,700||Montenegro|
|Neapolitan||nap||Indo-European, Romance, Italo-Dalmatian||5,700,000||Campania (Italy)|
|Nenets||yrk||Uralic, Samoyedic||4,000||Nenets Autonomous Okrug (Russia)|
|Norman||nrf||Indo-European, Romance, Western, Gallo-Romance, Oïl||50,000||Normandy (France), Jersey (United Kingdom)|
|Norwegian||no||Indo-European, Germanic, North||5,200,000||Norway|
|Occitan||oc||Indo-European, Romance, Western, Occitano-Romance||500,000||Catalonia (Spain)|
|Ossetian||os||Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Eastern||450,000||Georgia||North Ossetia-Alania (Russia)|
|Palatinate German||pfl||Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, Central||1,000,000||Germany|
|Picard||pcd||Indo-European, Romance, Western, Gallo-Romance, Oïl||200,000||Wallonia (Belgium)|
|Piedmontese||pms||Indo-European, Romance, Western, Gallo-Italic||1,600,000||Piedmont (Italy)|
|Polish||pl||Indo-European, Slavic, West, Lechitic||38,500,000||Poland|
|Portuguese||pt||Indo-European, Romance, Western, West Iberian||10,000,000||Portugal|
|Indo-European, Romance, Western||370,000||Switzerland||Veneto Belluno, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, South Tyrol, & Trentino (Italy)|
|Ripuarian (Platt)||ksh||Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, Central||900,000||Germany, Netherlands, Wallonia (Belgium)|
|Romani||rom||Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Western||1,500,000||Kosovo|
|Romanian||ro||Indo-European, Romance, Eastern||24,000,000||28,000,000||Moldova, Romania||Mount Athos (Greece), Vojvodina (Serbia)|
|Russian||ru||Indo-European, Slavic, East||106,000,000||160,000,000||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||Norway||Sweden, Finland|
|Sardinian||sc||Indo-European, Romance||1,350,000||Sardinia (Italy)|
|Scots||sco||Indo-European, Germanic, West, Anglo-Frisian, Anglic||110,000||Scotland (United Kingdom), Ulster (Republic of Ireland), Northern Ireland (United Kingdom)|
|Scottish Gaelic||gd||Indo-European, Celtic, Goidelic||57,000||Scotland (United Kingdom)|
|Serbian||sr||Indo-European, Slavic, South, Western, Serbo-Croatian||9,000,000||Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo , Serbia||Croatia, Mount Athos (Greece), North Macedonia, Montenegro|
|Sicilian||scn||Indo-European, Romance, Italo-Dalmatian||4,700,000||Sicily (Italy)|
|Silesian||szl||Indo-European, Slavic, West, Lechitic||522,000||Upper Silesia (Poland, Czech Republic & Germany), Silesia (Poland)|
|Silesian German||sli||Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, Central||11,000||Upper Silesia (Poland, Czech Republic & Germany), Silesia (Poland)|
|Slovak||sk||Indo-European, Slavic, West, Czech–Slovak||5,200,000||Slovakia||Vojvodina (Serbia), Czech Republic|
|Slovene||sl||Indo-European, Slavic, South, Western||2,100,000||Slovenia||Friuli-Venezia Giulia (Italy)|
|Sorbian (Wendish)||wen||Indo-European, Slavic, West||20,000||Brandenburg & Sachsen (Germany)|
|Spanish||es||Indo-European, Romance, Western, West Iberian||38,000,000||76,000,000||Spain||Andorra, Gibraltar (United Kingdom)|
|Swabian German||swg||Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, Upper, Alemannic||820,000||Germany|
|Swedish||sv||Indo-European, Germanic, North||11,100,000||13,280,000||Finland, Sweden|
|Swiss German||gsw||Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, Upper, Alemannic||5,000,000||Switzerland (as German)|
|Tabasaran||tab||Northeast Caucasian, Lezgic||126,900||Dagestan (Russia)|
|Tat||ttt||Indo-European, Iranian, Western||30,000||Dagestan (Russia)|
|Tatar||tt||Turkic, Kipchak||4,300,000||Tatarstan (Russia)|
|Turkish||tr||Turkic, Oghuz||12,000,000||Turkey, Cyprus||Northern Cyprus|
|Udmurt||udm||Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Permic||340,000||Udmurtia (Russia)|
|Ukrainian||uk||Indo-European, Slavic, East||32,600,000||Ukraine||Transnistria Transnistria (Moldova)|
|Upper Saxon||sxu||Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, Central||2,000,000||Sachsen (Germany)|
|Vepsian||vep||Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Finnic||1,640||Karelia Karelia (Russia)|
|Venetian||vec||Indo-European, Romance, Italo-Dalmatian||3,800,000||Veneto (Italy)|
|Võro||vro||Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Finnic||87,000||Võru County (Estonia)|
|Walloon||wa||Indo-European, Romance, Western, Gallo-Romance, Oïl||600,000||Wallonia (Belgium)|
|Walser German||wae||Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, Upper, Alemannic||20,000|
|Welsh||cy||Indo-European, Celtic, Brittonic||562,000||750,000||Wales (United Kingdom)|
|Wymysorys||wym||Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German||70|
|Yenish||yec||Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German||16,000||Switzerland|
|Yiddish||yi||Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German||600,000||Bosnia and Herzegovina , Netherlands , Poland , Romania , Sweden , Ukraine|
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.
|Classification||Speakers in expanded geopolitical Europe||Official status|
|Abkhaz||ab||Northwest Caucasian, Abazgi||Abkhazia/Georgia: 191,000 |
|Adyghe (West Circassian)||ady||Northwest Caucasian, Circassian||Turkey: 316,000|
|Albanian||sq||Indo-European, Albanian||Turkey: 66,000 (Tosk)|
|Arabic||ar||Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, West||Turkey: 2,437,000 Not counting post-2014 Syrian refugees|
|Armenian||hy||Indo-European, Armenian|| Armenia: 3 million |
Artsakh/Azerbaijan: 145,000 [ citation needed ]
Georgia: around 0.2 million ethnic Armenians (Abkhazia: 44,870 )
Cyprus: 668 :3
|Azerbaijani||az||Turkic, Oghuz||Azerbaijan 9 million[ citation needed ] |
Georgia 0.2 million
|Batsbi||bbl||Northeast Caucasian, Nakh||Georgia : 500 [ needs update ]|
|Bulgarian||bg||Indo-European, Slavic, South||Turkey: 351,000|
|Crimean||crh||Turkic, Kipchak||Turkey: 100,000|
|Georgian||ka||Kartvelian, Karto-Zan|| Georgia: 3,224,696 |
Azerbaijan: 9,192 ethnic Georgians
|Greek||el||Indo-European, Hellenic||Cyprus: 679,883 :2.2|
|Juhuri||jdt||Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Southwest||Azerbaijan: 24,000 (1989) [ needs update ]|
|Kurdish||kur||Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Northwest||Turkey: 15 million |
Georgia: 14,000 [ citation needed ]
Azerbaijan: 9,000 [ citation needed ]
|Laz||lzz||Kartvelian, Karto-Zan, Zan||Turkey: 20,000 |
|Meglenian||ruq||Indo-European, Italic, Romance, East||Turkey: 4–5,000|
|Mingrelian||xmf||Kartvelian, Karto-Zan, Zan||Georgia (including Abkhazia): 344,000|
|Pontic Greek||pnt||Indo-European, Hellenic||Turkey: greater than 5,000 |
Armenia: 900 ethnic Caucasus Greeks
Georgia: 5,689 Caucasus Greeks
|Romani language and Domari language||rom, dmt||Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indic||Turkey: 500,000|
|Russian||ru||Indo-European, Balto-Slavic, Slavic||Armenia: 15,000 |
|Armenia: about 0.9 million |
Azerbaijan : about 2.6 million
Georgia: about 1 million
|Svan||sva||Kartvelian, Svan||Georgia (incl. Abkhazia) : 30,000|
|Tat||ttt||Indo-European, Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Southwest||Azerbaijan: 10,000 [ needs update ]|
|Turkish||tr||Turkic, Oghuz||Turkey: 66,850,000 |
Cyprus: 1,405 < + 265,100 in the North
Recent (post–1945) immigration to Europe introduced substantial communities of speakers of non-European languages.
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). Armenians, Berbers, and Kurds have diaspora communities of c. 1–2 million each. The various languages of Africa and languages of India form numerous smaller diaspora communities.
|Name||ISO 639||Classification||Native||Ethnic diaspora|
|Arabic||ar||Afro-Asiatic, Semitic||> 4 million||12 million|
|Turkish||tr||Turkic, Oghuz||3 million||7 million|
|Armenian||hy||Indo-European||1 million||2-3 million|
|Kurdish||ku||Indo-European, Iranian, Western||600,000||1 million|
|Bengali–Assamese||bn as syl||Indo-European, Indo-Aryan||600,000||1 million|
|Kabyle||kab||Afro-Asiatic, Berber||500,000||1 million|
|Chinese||zh||Sino-Tibetan, Sinitic||300,000||2 million|
|Urdu||ur||Indo-European, Indo-Aryan||300,000||1.8 million|
|Uzbek||uz||Turkic, Karluk||300,000||1–2 million|
|Persian||fa||Indo-European, Iranian, Western||300,000||400,000 million|
German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol in Italy, the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The German language is most similar to other languages within the West Germanic language branch, including Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, Scots, and Yiddish. It also contains close similarities in vocabulary to Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although they belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus, Albania, other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning at least 3,500 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.
Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian is, by most measures and together with Sardinian, the closest language to Latin, from which it descends via Vulgar Latin. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor), Greece and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it still plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. Italian is included under the languages covered by the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Romania, although Italian is neither a co-official nor a protected language in these countries. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both Italian and other regional languages.
Romanian is a Balkan Romance language spoken by approximately 24–26 million people as a native language, primarily in Romania and Moldova, and by another 4 million people as a second language. According to another estimate, there are about 34 million people worldwide who can speak Romanian, of whom 30 million speak it as a native language. It is an official and national language of both Romania and Moldova and is one of the official languages of the European Union.
Spanish or Castilian is a Romance language that originated in the Iberian Peninsula of Europe; today, it is a global language with nearly 500 million native speakers, mainly in Spain and the Americas. It is the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese, and the world's fourth-most spoken language, after English, Mandarin Chinese and Hindi.
Yiddish is a High German-derived language historically spoken by the Ashkenazi Jews. It originated during the 9th century in Central Europe, providing the nascent Ashkenazi community with a High German-based vernacular fused with elements taken from Hebrew and Aramaic, as well as - later on - Slavic languages, and traces of Romance languages. Yiddish writing uses the Hebrew alphabet. As of the 1990s, there were around 1.5–2 million speakers of Yiddish, mostly Hasidic and Haredi Jews.
Although the United States does not have an official language, the most commonly used language is English, which is the de facto national language. Many other languages are also spoken in the United States, especially Spanish. These include indigenous languages, languages brought to the country by colonists, enslaved people and immigrants from Europe, Africa and Asia. There are also several languages, including creoles and sign languages, that developed in the United States. Approximately 430 languages are spoken or signed by the population, of which 176 are indigenous to the area. Fifty-two languages formerly spoken in the country's territory are now extinct.
Uzbek is a Turkic language that is the first official and only declared national language of Uzbekistan. The language of Uzbeks is spoken by some 27 million native speakers in Uzbekistan and elsewhere in Central Asia (2015), making it the second-most widely spoken Turkic language after Turkish.
The Iberian Romance, Ibero-Romance or simply Iberian languages, is an areal grouping of Romance languages that developed on the Iberian Peninsula, an area consisting primarily of Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar and Andorra, and in southern France which are today more commonly separated into West Iberian and Occitano-Romance language groups.
Rhaeto-Romance, Rheto-Romance, or Rhaetian, is a traditional subfamily of the Romance languages that is spoken in north and north-eastern Italy and in Switzerland. The name "Rhaeto-Romance" refers to the former Roman province of Rhaetia. The linguistic basis of the subfamily is discussed in the so-called Questione Ladina. The Rhaeto-Romance languages form a group of Romance languages in the Alps region of northern Italy and Switzerland. Initially studied by Italian Linguist Graziadio Ascoli in 1873, Ascoli found these languages to share a number of intricacies and believed they belonged to a specific linguistic group. What distinguishes Rhaeto-Romance languages from Italian and other Western languages are its phonemic vowel length, consonant formation, and a central rounded vowel series. A few notable examples of these languages are Romansh, Friulian and Ladin, which are officially recognized alongside German, French and Italian, by the Swiss and Italian governments respectively. In total there are about 660,000 speakers of the Rhaeto-Romance languages combined, the vast majority of whom speak Friulian at approximately half a million.
Piedmontese is spoken by some 700,000 people mostly in Piedmont, northwestern region of Italy. Though considered by many linguists a separate language, in Italy it is often considered an Italian dialect. It is linguistically included in the Gallo-Italic languages group of Northern Italy, which would make it part of the wider western group of Romance languages, which also includes French, Occitan, and Catalan. It is spoken in Piedmont, Liguria and Lombardy.
The languages of the European Union are languages used by people within the member states of the European Union (EU).
This article details the geographical distribution of speakers of the German language, regardless of the legislative status within the countries where it is spoken. In addition to the German-speaking area in Europe, German-speaking minorities are present in many countries and on all six inhabited continents.
Baltic Romani is group of dialects of the Romani language spoken in the Baltic states and adjoining regions of Poland and Russia. Half of the speakers live in Poland. It also called Balt Romani, Balt Slavic Romani, Baltic Slavic Romani, and Roma. Romani began as an Indo-European language, which morphed into an Indo-Iranian language, and then into an Indo-Aryan language. After that the Romani language broke down into Balkan Romani and Central Romani. Baltic Romani came from the Central Romani dialect which branches off into other dialects. There are a total of around 35,000 users in all countries.
Swedish is the official language of Sweden and is spoken by the vast majority of the 10 million inhabitants of the country. It is a North Germanic language and quite similar to its sister Scandinavian languages, Danish and Norwegian, with which it maintains partial mutual intelligibility and forms a dialect continuum. A number of regional Swedish dialects are spoken across the county. In total, more than 200 languages are estimated to be spoken across the county, including regional languages, indigenous Sámi languages, and immigrant languages.
The official language of Greece is Greek, spoken by 99% of the population. In addition, a number of non-official, minority languages and some Greek dialects are spoken as well. The most common foreign languages learned by Greeks are English, German, French and Italian.
The official language of North Macedonia is Macedonian, while Albanian has co-official status. Macedonian is spoken by roughly two-thirds of the population natively and as a second language by much of the rest of the population. Albanian is the largest minority language. There are a further five national minority languages: Turkish, Romani, Serbian, Bosnian, and Aromanian. The Macedonian Sign Language is the country's official sign language.
The indigenous peoples of Europe are the focus of European ethnology, the field of anthropology related to the various indigenous groups that reside in the nations of Europe. Groups may be defined by common genetic ancestry, common language, or both. According to the German monograph Minderheitenrechte in Europa co-edited by Pan and Pfeil (2002) there are 87 distinct indigenous peoples of Europe, of which 33 form the ethnic majority population in at least one sovereign state, while the remaining 54 constitute ethnic minorities. The total number of national or linguistic minority populations in Europe is estimated at 105 million people, or 14% of 770 million Europeans. The Russians are the largest European ethnic group, with a population over 134 million. There are no universally accepted and precise definitions of the terms "ethnic group" and "nationality". In the context of European ethnography in particular, the terms ethnic group, people, nationality and ethno-linguistic group, are used as mostly synonymous, although preference may vary in usage with respect to the situation specific to the individual countries of Europe.
A world language is one that is spoken internationally and learned and spoken by numerous people as a second language. A world language is characterized not only by the total number of speakers but also by geographical distribution and its use in international organizations and diplomatic relations.
...Greek, the lingua franca of commerce and religion, provided a cultural unity to the Balkans...Greek penetrated Moldavian and Wallachian territories as early as the fourteenth century.... The heavy influence of Greek culture upon the intellectual and academic life of Bucharest and Jassy was longer termed than historians once believed.
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