What languages ​​are spoken in Europe?

what languages ​​do they speak in europe

Most of the languages ​​of Europe belong to the Indo-European family. Out of a total population of 740 million, there are 94% native speakers of some Indo-European language. Within this, the three largest groups are the Slavic, Germanic and Romance languages, with more than 200 million speakers each, representing a total of 90% of European languages. Other small groups of languages ​​are Greek (10 million), Baltic (7 million), Albanian (5 million), Romani (1.5 million), and Celtic (1 million). And what languages ​​are spoken in Europe?

Most spoken languages ​​in Europe

Sort from highest to lowest number of native speakers in Europe, the most widely spoken languages ​​in Europe.

106 million
97 million
66 million
65 million
60 million
39 million
38 million
33 million
24 million
22 million
14 million
13 million
12 million
11 million
11 million
10 million
9 million
9 million


Russian (русский язык) is the most widely spoken Slavic language in Europe and its alphabet is Cyrillic. Although 106 million in Europe speak it as their first language, this figure rises to 160 million in total in Europe if we count people who have learned it as a foreign language.

It has official status in the following countries: Russia and Belarus; and in the following regions: Gagauzia ( Moldova), Svalbard ( Norway) and some area of ​​ Ukraine.

Knowledge of Russian in the European Union


German (Deutsch) is the most widely spoken Germanic language in European lands, by 97 million natives and 170 million in total in Europe, making it the most widely spoken if the total figure is taken into account. It is official in the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Switzerland. In the Italy region of South Tyrol (bordering Austria) it also has official status.

Knowledge of German in the European Union


French (français ) is the most common Romance language in Europe, accumulating a total figure in Europe of 135 million (66 million natives). In the following countries it is official: Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Monaco and Switzerland. Likewise, it is in the areas of Valle d’Aosta ( Italy), Jersey ( Andorra) and El Pas de la Casa ( Andorra).

Knowledge of French in the European Union


Italian (Italian) , is the second most widely spoken Latin-derived language in Europe with 65 million native speakers (82 million total). It is official in the states of: Italy, San Marino, Switzerland and the Vatican City. It is also credited with such status in Istria County ( Croatia) and in Slovenian Istria ( Slovenia).

Knowledge of Italian in the European Union


English (English) is in the 5th position, with 60 million native speakers . However, the total number of speakers in Europe amounts to 260 million, a figure that makes English the most widely spoken language in Europe if we take non-native speakers into account. It is official in 3 states: Ireland, Malta and United Kingdom.

Knowledge of English in the European Union


Polish (język polski) is in sixth position, with 38.5 million native people. Due to Polish emigration, it is also spoken in different European countries and in the United States, with estimated figures of about 5 million more. It is official only in Poland.

knowledge of polish in europe


Spanish is the seventh most natively spoken language in Europe, with 38 million speakers (76 million in total in Europe). It is official only in Spain.

Knowledge of Spanish in the European Union

Foreign language proficiency by country

The following table shows the knowledge (native or as a secondary language), in the countries of the European Union (according to Eurobarometer 386 of 2012), of the 7 most widely spoken languages ​​(English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Italian and Polish).):

EU-28 51% 26% 32% fifteen% 6% 16% 9%
Germany 56% fifteen% 98% 4% 6% 3% 1%
Austria 73% eleven% 97% 4% two% 9% 1%
Belgium 38% 81% 23% 5% 1% 4% 0%
Bulgarian 25% two% 8% two% 23% 1% 0%
Croatia 49% 4% 3. 4% two% 4% 14% 0%
Cyprus 73% eleven% 5% two% 4% 3% 0%
Denmark 86% 9% 47% 4% 0% 1% 0%
Slovakia 26% two% 22% 1% 17% 1% 5%
Slovenia 59% 3% 48% 3% 5% 12% 0%
Spain 22% 12% two% 98% 1% two% 0%
Estonia fifty% 1% 22% 1% 56% 0% 0%
Finland 70% 3% 18% 3% 3% 1% 0%
France 39% 97% 8% 13% 1% 5% 1%
Greece 51% 9% 9% 1% 1% 8% 0%
Netherlands 90% 29% 71% 5% 0% two% 0%
Hungary twenty% 3% 18% 1% 4% 1% 0%
Ireland 99% 17% 7% 4% 1% 1% 3%
Italy 3. 4% 16% 5% eleven% 0% 97% 0%
Latvia 46% 1% 14% 1% 67% 0% two%
Lithuania 38% 3% 14% 1% 80% 1% 12%
Luxembourg 56% 96% 71% 5% 0% 6% 0%
Malta 89% 17% 3% 1% 0% 66% 0%
Poland 33% 4% 19% 1% 26% two% 99%
Portugal 27% 24% 1% 10% 0% 1% 0%
United Kingdom 97% 19% 9% 8% two% two% 1%
Czech Republic 27% 1% fifteen% 1% 13% 1% two%
Romania 31% 23% 7% 5% 3% 7% 0%
Sweden 86% eleven% 30% 5% 0% two% 1%

Alphabets used in Europe

The main alphabets in Europe are Latin and Cyrillic. The following map breaks down the scripts used in the national languages:

european language alphabets

Alphabet legend: Latin, Latin & Cyrillic, Cyrillic, Greek, Greek and Latin, Georgian and Armenian.

Latin alphabet

Also known as the Roman alphabet, it is the most widely used alphabet in the world. The classical Latin alphabet was made up of 23 letters:


These, in turn, evolved from the Etruscan alphabet, which can be seen in the following table in the row above and its Latin correspondence in the lower part:

A B. C D AND F Z H Yo K L M N EITHER P Q R yes T v X

Notable differences from the international Latin alphabet are the absence of the letters JU W. In addition, additional letters from the Roman alphabet are for example:

  • By ligature: Æ Œ ß ŋ Ȣ Ñ ä Ç @
  • By diacritical accents: Ñ Å Č Ų Ĉ Ĝ Ĥ Ĵ Ŝ Ŭ
  • By digraphs: IJ LL RR CH
  • By modification: Ø Ð Ȝ ə
  • Loans from other alphabets: Þ Ƿ

Cyrillic alphabet

The Cyrillic alphabet is the youngest of the alphabets used in countries of the old continent. It was invented by Kliment Ohridski in the 10th century in Preslav (capital of the First Bulgarian Empire). Kliment was a student of the brothers Cirilio and Methodius, and the first is the one that gives its name to the alphabet.

The following representations are divided into letters, italic letters and their Latin equivalent. Italic letters in the Cyrillic alphabet may vary from their original form.


б в г д ж з к л m н п р c you ф h ц ч ш щ
б в г д ж з к л m н п р c you ф h ц ч ш щ
b v g d zh z k he m n p r s you F j ts ch sh shh

Vowels and signs:

to е ё and й or u ъ ы ь э ю я
to е ё and й or u ъ ы ь э ю я
a ye me Yo Yo either or * Y ** and yu Already

* hard
sign ** soft sign

This alphabet is present in several languages ​​in Europe: Russian, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbo-Croatian and Ukrainian, among others.

Maps of different vocabulary by country

Visualization of different basic vocabulary through maps and the etymology of said words. You can zoom in on the maps by clicking on them.

How do you say thanks?

Large groups can be observed when expressing gratitude:

  • In dark red: from the Latin gratia (thank you).
  • In different yellows: from Proto-Germanic þankaz (thought, gratitude).
  • In pistachio green: from Proto-Slavic xvala (glory).
how to say thank you in different languages

Surprising long formations such as the Irish «go raibh maith agat» and the Basque «eskerrik asko». Respectively, a shorter version can be used (although it is very rare): “maith agat” and “mila esker”.

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