With LOTS of opportunities for expansion:
Around 72% of the world does not speak English (That’s 6.1 billion people).
The US has over 60 million Hispanics of whom around 41 million speak Spanish at home. Are you targeting them? Plus, almost 65 million people in the US do not speak English at home. And most prefer to be addressed in their native languages. If you lived abroad, wouldn’t you?
According to Common Sense Advisory:
Other important reasons:
With over 30 years’ experience as a professional language translation service and working in over 120 languages, with Auerbach International you can get:
Amateurs, students, non-professionals and native speakers can all say they are linguists. But only professionally trained linguistic translation experts such as ours can guarantee accuracy and do your project right the first time.
They also culturally adapt your file to your target markets. Have you ever wondered why organizations somehow find funds for second-round fixes but balk at paying slightly more for first-time accuracy? With us, there’s no worry.
If you like your professional language translation and localization services delivered…
…we would like to work with you!
In reality, we can do at least 120 languages but we prefer to be modest. Instead, we are pleased to present just the top 80 into which we translate, interpret and localize. In addition, we provide many dialects such as Canadian French, Argentine Spanish or UK English for translating, and Mandarin and Cantonese for interpreting which we don’t even count as part of our list. Need others not shown? Please ask—our linguistic translation professionals just might surprise you!
Afrikaans is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European branch. It is also called Cape Dutch. Although the language is predominantly of 18th century Dutch origin, the current version is also influenced by German and Khosian languages. With about 7 million native speakers in South Africa, or 13.5% of the population, it is the third-most-spoken language in the country.
Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the Southern branch of the Slavic language family. It is native to Bulgaria, and the only official language in the country. Bulgarian is also spoken in Serbia, Albania, Kosovo, the Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and among communities the world over. Around 8 to 9 million people are native speakers of the language.
Creole was coined in the 16th century and applied to people born in the colonies, to distinguish them from European-born immigrants. In Portuguese, the term referred to people of mixed European and non-European ancestry. Most English Creoles were formed in the British colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries. They are spoken on the islands of the Caribbean, in Africa, and on the islands of the Pacific Ocean. French Creoles are spoken today mainly in the Caribbean, in the U.S., and on several islands in the Indian Ocean. Portuguese-based Creoles are presently spoken by over a million people in São Tomé e Principe, Cape Verde Islands, and Guinea-Bissau.
Dutch is a West Germanic language and is also called Netherlandic. Around 24 million people speak the language worldwide and it is the national language of the Netherlands. Although there exists a variety of local dialects in the country, Standard Dutch is used for instruction as well as official and public purposes. Dutch is the third most widely spoken Germanic language, after English and German.
Finnish belongs to the Finnic group of the Uralic family of languages. It is the official language of Finland and spoken by five million people, most of whom live in Finland. Finnish-speaking minorities can also be found in Sweden, Norway, Russia, Estonia, Brazil, Canada, and the United States. Most of the population of Finland speak Finnish as their first language.
German is a member of the West Germanic group of the Indo-European language family and it is mainly spoken in Central Europe. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English, and is the first language of about 95 million people worldwide. It is the most widely spoken native language in the European Union.
Hindi is a language of the Indo-Aryan group within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. Hindi is the official language of India, followed by English. In India, Hindi is spoken as a first language by nearly 425 million people and as a second language by some 120 million more. Significant Hindi speaking communities are also in South Africa, Mauritius, Bangladesh, Yemen, and Uganda.
Italian is a Romance language that evolved from commonly spoken Latin, the language of the late Roman empire. There are 69 million native speakers of Italian in the EU, and 16 million in other parts of the globe such as, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Canada, the USA and the UK. Standard Italian developed in the 13th and 14th centuries as a literary dialect. In modern Italy, dialects are still the primary spoken idiom, though the standard Italian is virtually the only written language.
Lao, sometimes referred to as Laotian, belongs to the Tai–Kadai language family. The Lao language descended from southern China and northern Vietnam. It is the official language of Laos, and spoken in the northwest of Thailand, where it is also known as Isan. There are 3.2 million native speakers of Lao, 3 million of whom are in Laos itself. Since Laos consists of multiple ethnic groups speaking 86 different languages, Lao serves as an important unifying language.
Maori is an Eastern Polynesian language belonging to the Malayo-Polynesian language family. It is spoken by the Māori people, the indigenous population of New Zealand. It became one of New Zealand’s official languages in 1987. Statistics vary in reports regarding the number of speakers who are fluent in the language. One census conducted in 2013 reported approximately 125,000 people could hold a conversation in Māori about everyday things.
Polish is a member of the Lechitic subgroup of the West Slavic languages. Polish is the official language of Poland with over 38.5 million people who speak it as their first language. There are also Polish communities in Czech Republic and Slovakia, Hungary, western parts of Belarus and Ukraine, and central-western Lithuania. Due to emigration from Poland after World War II, millions of Polish speakers can be found in countries such as Israel, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the United States.
Russian belongs to the family of Indo-European languages and is one of the four living members of the East Slavic languages. It is the official language in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and other territories in Eastern Europe, the Baltics, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. With over 144 million native speakers, Russian is the largest native language in Europe, and the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages. It is ranked as the eighth most spoken language in the world and the second most widespread language on the Internet after English.
Slovenian or Slovene is a member of the South Slavic branch of the Slavic languages under the Indo-European language family. There are 2.5 million native speakers of Slovenian worldwide, the majority of whom live in Slovenia. It is also native to Italy (in Friuli Venezia Giulia), Austria (in Carinthia and Styria), Croatia (in Istria), Hungary (in Vas), and emigrant communities in various countries.
Tagalog is a member of the Malayo-Polynesian language family. Its standardized form, officially named Filipino, is the national language of the Philippines, and is one of two official languages alongside English. Being Malayo-Polynesian, it is related to other Austronesian languages, such as Malagasy, Javanese, Malay (Malaysian and Indonesian), Tetum (of Timor), and Yami (of Taiwan). Approximately 64 million Filipinos speak the language, in the country and abroad.
Ukrainian belongs to the East Slavic group of the Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family. The Modern Ukrainian language has been in common use since the late 17th century and it is the official language of the Republic of Ukraine. There are 47.5 million native speakers of Ukrainian in the country and around the globe.
Yiddish is a Germanic language belonging to the Indo-European language family that is spoken by Ashkenazi Jews. Literally speaking, Yiddish means “Jewish”. The basic vocabulary of Yiddish is derived from West Medieval German with influences from Hebrew, Aramaic, Slavic, and Romance languages. Yiddish was declared as the national language of the Jewish people in 1908. Yiddish speakers were previously recorded to be between 11-13 million, but after the Holocaust, that number significantly decreased.
Amharic is an Afro-Asiatic language of the Southwest Semitic group and is considered the mother tongue of the Amhara. Amharic was considered the language of the ruling class of Ethiopia and is now the official working language of the country and several other states within the federal system. With approximately 22 million native speakers, Amharic is the second-most commonly spoken Semitic language in the world after Arabic. Amharic is also known as Abyssinian, Amarigna, Amarinya, or Ethiopian.
Burmese belongs to the Tibeto-Burmese branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. It is the official language of Myanmar and is spoken by 21 million people in the country and around 32 million worldwide. Modern spoken Burmese has influences from other languages that the Burmese people came in contact with in the 12th-13th centuries, as well as other European languages in the 16th century. However, the formal written form of Burmese has remained intact and continues to be used in textbooks, literature, newspapers, and prose.
Croatian is a Southern Slavic language spoken principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Romania, the Serbian province of Vojvodina, and other neighboring countries. It is the official language of the Republic of Croatia. The language can be traced back to 9th century and is a native language of around 5.5 million people.
English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family. English was first spoken in early medieval England and is now the third most widespread native language in the world. Modern English, is often referred to as the first world language and the global language of commerce. There are 400 million native speakers of English and around 500 million who use English as a second language.
Flemish, also called Belgian Dutch, refers to the Dutch language dialect spoken in the northern part of Belgium called Flanders. It differs from the Dutch of Netherlands in intonation, pronunciation, and in some vocabulary as well as due to English and French influences. Approximately 6.5 million people speak Flemish.
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. The language is native to Greece and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, going back at least as early as the thirteenth century BCE. In its modern form, the Greek language is the official language in two countries, Greece and Cyprus. It is also a recognized minority language in seven other countries and is one of the 24 official languages of the European Union. At least 13.2 million people speak the language today in Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Albania, Turkey, and the Greek diaspora.
Hmong is a language belonging to the Hmong-Mien language family. There are some 3.7 million native speakers of Hmong, including over 280,000 Hmong living in America. Over half of all Hmong speakers know the various dialects in China, where the Dananshan dialect forms the basis of the standard language. However, Hmong Daw and Mong Njua are widely known only in Laos and the United States; Dananshan is more widely known in the native region of Hmong.
Japanese is an East Asian language belonging primarily to the Japanese-Ryukyuan language family. It is the only language whose genetic affiliation is unknown. Japanese is the national language of Japan and is spoken by 126 million people. Although Japanese has no genetic relationship with Chinese, it extensively uses Chinese characters, called kanji, in its writing system. The Japanese writing system primarily uses two syllabic scripts, hiragana for writing non-character words and inflections of main words and katakana for writing words coming from other languages.
Latin is an Indo-European language in the Italic group and the ancestor to the modern Romance languages. Latin was founded in 5th century BC and was primarily spoken in Rome. Along with the rise of the Roman Empire came the birth of Classical Latin which was the language of historians, poets, and intellectuals. Modern day instructional grammar traces its roots from Classical Latin. Although Latin issno longer used conversationally, it is still considered the language of scholarship by the Catholic Church.
Mongolian is the most widely-spoken and best-known member of the Mongolic language family. Mongolian is the official national language of Mongolia, where it is spoken (but not written) by 3.6 million people. Both spoken and written forms of the language could also be found in Inner Mongolia, China, where there are at least 4.1 million ethnic Mongols. Across the whole of China, the language is spoken by roughly half of the country’s 5.8 million ethnic Mongols.
Portuguese is a Romance language that descended from Latin and brought to the Iberian Peninsula by Roman soldiers. Portuguese is the official language of Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola, and São Tomé and Príncipe. It is also spoken in East Timor, Equatorial Guinea and Macau in China. With approximately 215 to 220 million native speakers and 260 million total speakers, Portuguese is considered the sixth most natively spoken language in the world.
Samoan is a member Malayo-Polynesian or Austronesian language family and is considered the oldest form of Polynesian that exists to this day. Samoan is the official language of the Independent State of Samoa and the United States territory of American Samoa. It the first language of the Samoa Islands’ population of about 246,000 people with a total number of speakers worldwide estimated at 510,000. It is the third most widely spoken language in New Zealand, where around 86,000 people are able to speak it well.
Somali is a member of the Cushitic branch of the Afroasiatic language family. It is the official language of Somalia, along with Arabic, with approximately 16.6 million speakers, of which around 8.3 million reside in the country. Somali is also considered a national language in Djibouti and a working language in Ethiopia. Since Standard Somali, as well as its written form, was only established in 1972, the Somali people are known for their ability to memorize prose, stories, songs, plays and proverbs, earning them title of being a “Nation of Poets and Bards”.
Thai is a member of the Tai group of the Tai–Kadai language family. It is the national and official language of Thailand and the first language of the Thai people. Over half of its words are borrowed from Pali, Sanskrit, Mon, and Old Khmer. Spoken Thai is mutually intelligible with Laotian, the language of Laos. The two languages are written with slightly different scripts but are linguistically similar. There are over 20 million native Thai speakers.
Urdu is a member of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family. It is closely related to Hindi and are so similar in phonology and grammar that they appear to be one language. It is the official language of Pakistan and is also officially recognized in the constitution of India. There are 65 million native speakers of Urdu who reside in India, 16 million who reside in Pakistan, and several hundred thousand speakers in other countries.
Yoruba is a member of the Volta-Niger branch of the Niger-Congo language family. Yoruba is a tonal language with about 30 million native speakers in Nigeria and in the neighboring countries of the Republic of Benin and Togo. It is one of the four official languages of Nigeria, along with English, Hausa and Igbo, and is also used in many other Afro-American religions in the Americas and the Caribbean.
Cambodian (Khmer) is the second most widely spoken Austroasiatic language and is known for having the largest set of alphabets. It is the official language of Cambodia is spoken by approximately 16 million people worldwide. Although Khmer consists of regional dialects, Standard Khmer is the language taught in Cambodian schools.
Czech is a West Slavic language of the Czech–Slovak group which is spoken in Central Europe. It was formerly known as Bohemian. Spoken by over 10 million people, it serves as the official language of the Czech Republic.
Estonian is a member of the Finnic branch of the Uralic language family. It is the official language of Estonia of which one million people are native speakers. It is closely related to Finnish. The main difference between these two languages is that Finnish has many borrowed words from Swedish, while Estonian contains many words of German origin, plus some from Russian, Latin, Greek and English.
French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. As with all Romance languages, which include Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian, French originated from the Latin of the Roman Empire. Twenty nine countries designate French as their official language. It is considered the first language of France, the Canadian provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick as well as Monaco, Belgium and Western Switzerland, and some states in the USA. French is estimated to have about 76 million native speakers, and another 77 to 110 million secondary speakers who speak it to varying degrees of proficiency, mainly in Africa. By 2025, an estimated 500 million people will be native French speakers.
Gujarati is a member of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. Gujarati is descended from Old Gujarati (circa 1100–1500 AD). In India, it is the official language in the state of Gujarat, as well as an official language in the union territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. Gujarati is spoken by 46 million speakers in India. Altogether, there are about 50 million speakers of Gujarati worldwide.
Hungarian is a member of the Uralic language family and is the official language of Hungary. Outside Hungary it is also spoken by Hungarian communities in Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Poland, Croatia, and Slovenia. Hungarian diaspora communities also speak it worldwide, especially in North America (particularly the United States). Hungarian is spoken by about 12.6 million people of whom around 9.8 million are in Hungary itself.
Kannada belongs to the Dravidian language family and is the most well-known among the Dravidian languages of India. Kannada is predominantly spoken by the Kannada people in India, as well as minorities in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Kerala, Goa and abroad. The language has roughly 38 million native speakers and 51 million total speakers. Kannada was appointed as the classical language of India due to its unbroken literary history of over 1,000 years.
Latvian is a Baltic language under the Indo-European language family and is one of Europe’s most ancient languages. Latvian has very distinct features and is closely related to only one other language, which is Lithuanian. Latvian is the official language of Latvia and is spoken by around 1.4 million people.
Nepali (also called Nepalese) belongs to the Indo-Aryan group of the Indo-European language family. It was also known as Khas or Gorkhali before obtaining its official name of “Nepali” after the growth of nationalism in the country. It is spoken mainly in Nepal by more than 17 million people and is also spoken in neighboring parts of India. The vocabulary and written form of Nepali has influences from Sanskrit.
Punjabi descended from the Shauraseni language of medieval northern India and is considered the most widely spoken Indo-Aryan language. It is the official language of the Indian state of Punjab and is also spoken in West Punjab in Pakistan. There are over 100 million native speakers of Punjabi worldwide, and it is ranked as the tenth most widely spoken language in the world.
Serbian is a member of the Serbo-Croatian language under the Indo-European language family. Serbian is the official language of Serbia and Kosovo and shares co-official status with two other languages in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is also recognized as a minority language in Montenegro where it is spoken by a large number of the population. Serbian is the only European standard language whose speakers use both the Cyrillic and Latin alphabets. There are between 9-10 million people who speak Serbian worldwide.
Spanish is a member of the Ibero-Romance group of languages under the Indo-European language family. Like the other Romance languages, Spanish descended from commonly spoken Latin, the language of the Roman Empire. More than 437 million people speak Spanish as a native language making it the world’s second-most spoken native language after Mandarin Chinese. Spanish is the national language in Spain, Equatorial Guinea, and 19 countries in Central and South America.
Tongan is a member of the Polynesian branch of the Austronesian languages, along with Hawaiian, Maori, Samoan and Tahitian. It is one of the oldest Polynesian languages and is the national language of Tonga. There are approximately 100,000 native speakers of Tongan residing in the country and another 20,000 worldwide.
Uzbek is a member of the Turkic branch of the Altaic language family and is the sole official language of Uzbekistan in Central Asia. The language is spoken in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, northern Afghanistan, and northwestern China. Uzbek is descended from Chagatai Turkic, an extinct Turkic language which once served as the main Central Asian language. There are 32 million native speakers of Uzbek in Uzbekistan and elsewhere in Central Asia.
Xhosa is a member of the Bantu group of the Niger-Congo language family and is one of the 11 official languages in South Africa. The name of the language sounds like “Kosa” when pronounced. Spoken Xhosa is characterized by click consonants which are borrowed from the indigenous Khoisan people, while written Xhosa uses the Latin alphabet created by Christian missionaries during the early 19th century. There are 8.2 million native speakers of Xhosa and it is considered as one of the most widely spoken languages in South Africa.
Armenian is part of the Indo-European family of languages and is considered one of the oldest languages in the world. Armenian is the official language of the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh. The two main variants today are “Western Armenian”, spoken mainly by Armenians raised outside of Armenia and “Eastern Armenian” spoken by Armenians raised in Armenia, Iran and the states of the ex-USSR. There are 8-12 million native speakers of Armenian today.
Catalan is a Western Romance language derived from commonly spoken Latin and named after the medieval Principality of Catalonia, in northeastern modern Spain. It is spoken by 9 million people in Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Islands in Spain; in Andorra; and in the town of Alghero in Sardinia.
Danish belongs to the North Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. It is one of the descendants of the Old Norse language and is greatly influenced by German and, at the turn of the century, by English. It is spoken by around six million people in Denmark and Greenland and has a minority language status in Northern Germany.
Persian (Farsi) is a member of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian languages and is known as the language of Iran. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, as well as by significant populations worldwide. It is written in the Persian alphabet, a modified variant of the Arabic script. There are approximately 110 million Persian speakers all over the world, with the language holding official status in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan.
Gaelic is an English word for any of three languages which form one half of the Celtic language family group. The three Gaelic languages are Irish Gaelic, Manx Gaelic, and Scottish Gaelic. These three languages are spoken in Ireland, the Isle of Man and Scotland. There are 57,000 fluent native speakers of the language. Gaelic was in danger of being exterminated in many of the traditional Gaelic speaking areas, but now a Gaelic renaissance has slowed this trend, if not yet reversed it. Outside Scotland, Canadian Gaelic is spoken mainly in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
Hausa belongs to the Western branch of the Chadic language under the Afro-Asiatic language family and is the native language of the Hausa people. Hausa is the common language in West and Central Africa and is one of the largest languages in the African continent. It is spoken in northern Nigeria and the Republic of Niger, and is also the language of trade in Ghana, Cameroon, Benin, Togo, Sudan and the Ivory Coast. Around 27 million people use Hausa as a first language.
Icelandic is a North Germanic language, and the language of Iceland. It is an Indo-European language belonging to the Nordic branch of the Germanic languages. Icelandic is the closest of the Northern Germanic languages to Old Norse, and it is possible for Icelandic speakers to read the Old Norse sagas in the original without too much difficulty. The vast majority of Icelandic speakers—about 339,000—live in Iceland. The total number of Icelandic speakers is about 350,000.
Kazakh belongs to the Kipchak branch of Turkic languages. Kazakh is the official state language of Kazakhstan, with nearly 10 million speakers. There are also one million ethnic Kazakhs and Kazakh speakers in China and approximately 500,000 ethnic Kazakhs throughout the former Soviet Union, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, and Germany.
Lithuanian is a Baltic language and the oldest surviving Indo-European language. Being the most conservative living Indo-European language, it retained many features of Proto-Indo-European now lost in other languages. There are 3.2 million native speakers in Lithuania as well as in Poland, the USA, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, the UK and Uruguay.
Norwegian belongs to the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. It is one of the three languages that descended from Old Norse and is closely related to Swedish and Danish. There are two official norms in written Norwegian, Bokmål (literally “Book Language”) and Nynorsk (literally “New Norwegian”). Spoken Norwegian in general refers to the different dialects in use. Norwegian is the official language of Norway, where it is spoken by 4.6 million people. It is also spoken in the U.S., Canada, and Sweden. There are over 4.7 million speakers of Norwegian worldwide.
Quechua is considered as one of the world’s primary languages and was the language of the Inca Empire. It is an indigenous language spoken by the Quecha people who live in the Andes and in the higher regions of western South America. The language is spoken by around 7 million people in Peru and about 8-10 million worldwide.
Sinhala or Sinhalese is a member of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family and is one of the official and national languages of Sri Lanka. It is the native language of the Sinhalese people, who are the largest ethnic group in that country. The Sinhalese alphabet, which descended from the ancient Indian Brahmi script, was developed in 2nd-3rd BCE and is still being used today. Sinhalese is spoken as a first language by 16 million people and as a second language by 2 million people worldwide.
Swahili, also known as Kiswahili, is a Bantu language and the first language of the Swahili people. The Swahili vocabulary is partly derived from Arabic and Sanskrit through contact with Arabic-speaking Muslim inhabitants and Indian merchants of the Swahili Coast. It is the main language of the African Great Lakes region and other parts of eastern and south-eastern Africa, including Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Estimates of the total number of Swahili speakers vary widely, from 50 million to over 100 million, and it serves as a national language of four nations: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and the DRC.
Turkish belongs to the Altay branch of the Ural-Altaic language family. It is the most widely spoken of the Turkic languages, with around 71 million native speakers and 17 million second language speakers. Outside Turkey, significant smaller groups of speakers exist in Germany, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Northern Cyprus, Greece, the Caucasus, and other parts of Europe and Central Asia. The version of Turkish bring used today is the result of the ‘new language movement’ brought on by Kemal Atatürk in 1928 in the early years of the Republic of Turkey.
Vietnamese is a member of the Vietic branch of the Austroasiatic language family. It is the national and official language of modern-day Vietnam. It is native to the Vietnamese people, as well as a second language for the many ethnic minorities of Vietnam, a number estimated at 75 million. Vietnamese speakers are found throughout the world and is even officially recognized as a minority language in the Czech Republic. Vietnamese vocabulary has borrowings from Chinese, and the Vietnamese alphabet in use today is a Latin alphabet with additional marks for tones and certain letters.
Zulu is a member of the Bantu family and the language of the Zulu people. It is one of the official languages of South Africa with 9 million native speakers who reside in Zululand (in the province of KwaZulu-Natal), Botswana, Mozambique, and Swaziland. Zulu has many borrowed words from Afrikaans and English, and also contains the click sounds distinctive of Khoisan languages. Zulu is the most widely spoken home language in South Africa and the second most widely spoken of the Bantu languages.
Bengali is an eastern Indo-Aryan language spoken in the region of Bengal, which comprises Indian states of West Bengal and the present-day nation of Bangladesh. It is the official and most widely spoken language of Bangladesh, and second most widely spoken language of India. There are 268 million native speakers of Bengali in Bangladesh and in India.
(Simplified Chinese; Traditional Chinese; pinyin: Hànyǔ; literally: “Han language”; or Zhōngwén) is a group of language varieties that belong to the Sino-Tibetan language family. Chinese is spoken by the Han people of Mainland China, who are considered the world’s largest ethnic group, as well as by many other ethnic groups in in the country. Nearly 1.2 billion people around the world speak some form of Chinese as their first language. Standard Chinese is a standardized form of spoken Chinese based on the Beijing dialect of Mandarin. It is the official language of China and Taiwan, as well as one of the four official languages of Singapore. Simplified Chinese (used in Mainland China) and Traditional Chinese (used in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and largely among Overseas Chinese in the U.S. and elsewhere) are the two standard character sets of the contemporary Chinese written language. Unlike languages with alphabets whose letters represent sounds, Chinese characters are not phonetic; they can be pronounced in hundreds of ways called Dialects. The most common of these (in the US) are Mandarin, the official dialect of both China and Taiwan, and Cantonese, spoken in Southern China and Hong Kong.
Dari is a member of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian family of languages. Dari is a variation of Persian spoken in Afghanistan and is the official name for the Persian spoken in the country. It should also not be confused with the Dari spoken in Iran which is also called Gabri. About half of the Afghan population are native Dari speakers and 12.5 million people speak the language worldwide.
Fijian is an Austronesian language of the Malayo-Polynesian family with 350,000–450,000 native speakers. Sometimes called Hindi or Hindustani, Fijian is completely different from the Hindi spoken in India. Fijian Indians call their language Fiji Bat (literally, ‘Fiji Talk’) or simply Fiji Hindi. This standard speech of Fijian Indians is a hybrid of many Indian languages, dialects and borrowed words from Fijian and English. The 2013 Constitution established Fijian as an official language of Fiji.
Georgian is a South Caucasian or Kartvelian language spoken by about 4.1 million people mainly in the Republic of Georgia, but also in Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Iran. Georgian is related to Mingrelian, Laz, and Svan, all of which are spoken mainly in Georgia, and has its own writing system, called the Georgian script or Mkhedruli or “Military” script.
Hebrew is a Northwest Semitic language of the Canaanite group. It is native to Israel and spoken by over 9 million people all over the world. Hebrew is historically known as the language of the Israelites and their ancestors and the earliest written works can be traced to 10th century BCE. Hebrew belongs to the West Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Modern Hebrew is one of the two official languages of the State of Israel (the other is Arabic) while Biblical Hebrew is used for prayer or study in Jewish communities around the world today.
Indonesian is the official language of Indonesia. It is a standardized register of Malay, an Austronesian language that has been commonly used in the multilingual Indonesian archipelago for centuries. The Indonesian name for the language is Bahasa Indonesia (literally “the language of Indonesia”). There are 23 million native speakers of the language. In addition, about 156 million people speak it as second language.
Korean is one of the world’s oldest languages with no known origins and therefore is classified as a language isolate. Korean is the official language of South Korea (Republic of Korea) and North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea). The differences between the two regions lie in matters of spelling, alphabetization, and vocabulary choice. However, both variants endorse the unified standards proposed by the Korean Language Society. Korean is spoken by more than 75 million people, of whom 48 million live in South Korea and 24 million in North Korea. There are more than 2 million speakers in China, approximately 1 million in the United States, and about 500,000 in Japan.
Malaysian or Bahasa Malaysia is branch of the Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) language family. It is the first language of the people of Malaysia and is similar to the Malay of bordering Indonesia. The Malaysian language is normally written using a Latin alphabet called Rumi, though an Arabic alphabet called Jawi also exists. The Latin alphabet, however, is still the most commonly used script in Malaysia, both for official and informal purposes. There are 20 million speakers of Malay nationwide.
Pashto is a member of the southeastern Iranian branch of Indo-Iranian language family and is one of the official languages of Afghanistan. Pashto was originally spoken by the Pashtun people and is now the native language of over 50 million people, most of whom reside in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The language has borrowed words from Tajik and Uzbek. Some Arabic has assimilated into the language as well.
Romanian is a part of the Balkan-Romance group and derives its name from the Latin word ‘Romanus’ (citizen of Rome). The language still contains some features of Latin which no longer exists in other Romance languages. Romanian is the official language of the Republic of Romania and is spoken by approximately 24–26 million people as a native language, both in Romania and Moldova. Elsewhere in the world, there are 4 million people who speak it as a second language.
Slovak is a Czech-Slovak language under the Indo-European language family. Slovak belongs to the West Slavic group of languages and should not be confused with Slovene, which belongs to the South Slavic group. Slovak is the official language of Slovakia where 5 million native speakers reside. It is also considered a minority language of one million people in Serbia, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
Swedish belongs to the North Germanic branch of the Germanic languages under the Indo-European language family. Swedish is a descendant of Old Norse, the common language of the Germanic peoples living in Scandinavia during the Viking Era. It is currently the largest of the North Germanic languages by number of speakers, estimated at 9.2 million. Standard Swedish is the national language established in the beginning of the 20th century. While distinct regional varieties still exist, the spoken and written language is uniform and standardized.
Turkmen belongs to the Turkic branch of the Altaic language family and is the official language of Turkmenistan in Central Asia. It is closely related to Turkish and Azeri, all of which are mutually understandable. There are 3.4 million speakers of Turkmen in Turkmenistan and about 2 million more speakers in Afghanistan and Iran. Originally written in Arabic, Turkmen was changed to the Latin alphabet in 1928 and 1940, then changed to the Cyrillic alphabet in 1940. Since Turkmenistan declared independence in 1991, Turkmen has been written with a version of the Latin alphabet based on Turkish.
Wolof belongs to the Atlantic group of the Niger-Congo language family and is the language of Senegal, Gambia and Mauritania in West Africa. It is the most widely spoken language in Senegal and is native to about 4.6 million speakers. The two main variants of Wolof are Senegal Wolof, which is the standard form of the language, and Gambian Wolof, which is the spoken mostly in Gambia. Although the official language in Senegal is French, Wolof is considered one of the national languages of the country.
American Sign Language or ASL is a natural language that makes use of hand signs in combination with facial expressions and body posture. It predominantly serves as the language of Deaf communities in the United States and some parts of Canada. ASL originated in the early 19th century in the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut. Since then, ASL use has propagated widely via schools for the deaf and deaf community organizations. ASL users range from 250,000 to 500,000.