The Top 5 Languages Spoken in Europe (+ Other European Languages)

The Top 5 Languages Spoken in Europe (+ Other European Languages)

Do you think that the French language is the symbol of love and romance?

Or you prefer passion, so you favor Spanish?

Or perhaps you are amazed by polar nights, and your choice is Norwegian or Swedish?

 

Oh yes, all those languages are fascinating.

They are so fascinating that you can’t make up your mind which one to learn first.

 

And why don’t you start with the journey throughout the European continent and find out which language you favor?

We can help you with that.

Keep reading about the languages spoken in Europe.

Fun Facts About Languages Spoken in Europe

The European continent is not only one of the cradles of civilization, democracy, culture, fashion, but also a part of the world where you can find so many varieties between countries, and, yet, so many similarities.

That is why it is always fun to share some fun facts about languages spoken in Europe.

  • The old continent is the home of around 200 different languages, including some of the most spoken ones, such as Spanish, French, English, German.
  • In the European Union, there are 24 official languages. They are:some text
    • Bulgarian
    • Croatian
    • Czech
    • Danish 
    • Dutch
    • English
    • Estonian
    • Finnish
    • French
    • German
    • Greek
    • Hungarian
    • Irish
    • Italian
    • Latvian
    • Lithuanian
    • Maltese
    • Polish
    • Portuguese
    • Romanian
    • Slovak
    • Slovenian
    • Spanish
    • Swedish
  • The most spoken language in the world is English. In Europe, however, it comes in fifth place. It is the favorite second language Europeans speak and learn.
  • More than half of the Europeans, 54% of them, are bilinguals. A little less, around 24% of people are trilinguals, while 10% of them speak four languages.
  • Europeans mainly learn foreign languages by watching movies, listening to podcasts and radio, or speaking with friends. It means that they learn languages using the immersion approach.
  • The reason why many European languages sound similar is that the majority of them belong to the same language family, the Indo-European. Several languages don't belong to this language family. Some of them are Finnish, Hungarian, and Basque.
  • The Basque language doesn’t belong to the Indo-European language family. It doesn’t belong to any language family. That’s why it’s called an isolate.
  • Most of the languages in Europe use the Latin alphabet. Languages that use the Cyrillic ones are Belarussian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Russian, Serbian, and Ukrainian.

 

5 Most Popular Languages Spoken in Europe

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for!

We are pleased to present you with the five most popular languages spoken in Europe.

The following list of languages is based on native speakers, so don’t be surprised if some of the languages aren’t in the first place.

Are you ready?

Let’s go!

 

Russian

Russia is a huge country. Only a small part is in Europe, but still, it is one of the Indo-European languages, the member of the Slavic language family worth mentioning.

For many of you, this may be a surprise. With around 120 million speakers Russian is the first most spoken language in Europe.

The interesting part you should know about the Russians is that they mainly speak only one language. So, if you think your French, Spanish or German can help you in Russia, we rather suggest you start learning Russian with fairy tales.

German

On the list of the five most spoken languages in Europe, there is one member of the Germanic languages, German.

Right after Russian, German is the most widely-understood language and the most popular second language in most countries. It is also the official language in Germany, Austria, and Liechtenstein, and co-official language in Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Belgium.

With around 95 million speakers it is expected that German takes second place, especially because Germany is the economic power in Europe.

However, since more and more immigrants come to Germany, the number of speakers rises. Don’t be surprised if, very soon, this language takes the first place.

French

With around 80 million speakers worldwide and 70 million only in Europe, French takes the third place. It is 12% of the European population that marks French as their native language. 

It is the official language in France and co-official in Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Monaco.

Also, over 30% of the Europeans speak French as a foreign language, raising it to a higher level and making a great solution while traveling around the continent.

As a member of Romance languages, French is similar to Catalan, Spanish, Italian, or Portuguese, which makes it easy to learn if you already know some of them.

About 45% of French words are used in English today, so if you were having second thoughts about learning it, this information should make your decision easier.

English 

With 38% of the speakers, English takes the fourth place among the most spoken languages. 

If you are disappointed, don’t be. This is the list of the languages spoken by native speakers in Europe.

With over 400 million native speakers, English is still one of the most spoken languages in the world.

Moreover, if you add almost half of the European population that speaks English as a foreign language, then no one has to be afraid that they won’t be understood in Europe. Speakers aged 15 to 35 speak English fluently.

Being the de facto language in the United Kingdom, and one of the official languages in Ireland, the popularity of English keeps growing day by day.

As you can see, there are many good reasons why English is important to learn.

Spanish

Spain has always been one of the most attractive tourist destinations, not only for the Europeans but for the rest of the world, too.

With 7% of the speakers, this member of the Romance languages takes fifth place.

The Spanish language is considered as one of the most useful languages to learn.

It is also an official language in most countries in Latin America, which makes this part of the continent even more attractive for Latin Americans. 

If you, however, come from one of the Spanish-speaking countries, let’s say, Mexico, don’t forget about the slight differences between Mexican and European Spanish.

And did you know that Spanish is the easiest language to learn?

Other Minor Languages Spoken In Europe

As we mentioned, there are around 200 different languages in Europe.

More than half of them are the minor ones, which means that they don’t have so many speakers as German English, or French, for example. However, that doesn't mean that they are less important.

Every language is pretty in its own way.

Most languages spoken in Europe are a part of the Indo-European language family, with around 94% of speakers. Three main language family branches come from this one: Germanic, Romance, and Slavic. 

Other families are Hellenic, Albanian, Baltic, Celtic, and Indo- Arayan.

Within non- Indo-European languages, there are Uralic, Turkic, and Caucasian families with less than 1% of speakers.

Now you see how many different languages there are on the European continent, and how difficult it is to decide which one to learn.

 

Which of The Languages Spoken in Europe to Choose?

We’ll be honest. 

It’s hard to say which of these languages spoken in Europe you should choose.

There are so many of them, and every one of them is worth learning.

We can give you some of the tips, but it’s up to you which one you will choose.

  • If you don’t have much free time and you are looking for some easy languages to learn, then try learning Spanish, Italian, English, or maybe Swedish. If you already speak a language from the same language family, then you’ve got the jackpot. Learning a new sibling language will be much easier and faster.
  • In case you are an adventurous soul, and you aren’t afraid of challenging languages, then why don’t you give a chance to Albanian, Finnish, Hungarian, or Turkish.
  • Language lovers don’t mind if the language is popular, worldwide spoken, or helps with the  business. They learn languages because the feeling of learning them is priceless. For those souls, we recommend trying Czech, Greek, Romanian, or Slovenian perhaps.

 

Final Thoughts

This was an introduction to languages spoken in Europe. 

We gave you some useful suggestions which one you may choose, introduced the five most spoken ones, and also showed you some of the fun facts about European languages.

However, the hard part of choosing the right language to learn is up to you.

Whichever languages you choose, you won’t regret it.

How many languages are spoken in Europe?

There are more than 200 languages spoken in Europe, but 24 of them are official.

What are the most common languages spoken in Europe?

Russian, English, German, French, Spanish.

What is the most common second language in Europe?

English.

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