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A Few Facts About European Languages

Updated: Jul 8, 2019

Most of the languages of Europe belong to the Indo-European language family. Out of a total population of 740 million, some 94% are native speakers of an Indo-European language; within Indo-European, the three largest phyla are Slavic, Germanic and Romance, with more than 200 million speakers each, between them accounting for close to 90% of Europeans.

Five languages have more than 50 million native speakers in Europe: German, Russian, French, English and Italian. While Russian has the largest number of native speakers (which is more than 100 million in Europe), English in Europe has the largest number of speakers in total, including some 200 million speakers of English as a second language.

Of c. 45 million Europeans speaking non-Indo-European languages, around 20 million each fall within the Uralic and  Turkic families. Still smaller groups (such as Basque and various languages of the Caucasus) account for less than 1% of European population between them. Immigration has added sizeable communities of speakers of African and Asian languages, amounting to about 4% of the population,[1] with Arabic being the most widely spoken of them.

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