The Second Most Spoken Languages Around the World
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Mexico
Population: 122.3 million
Second languages: Mayan, Nahuatl
National languages: Spanish

Description: Indigenous languages are the most common second languages, with six million speakers throughout the country. The most commonly spoken indigenous languages are Mayan and Nahuatl, concentrated primarily in the southwest of the country.

United States
Population: 319 million
Second languages: Spanish
National languages: English

Description: Spanish is the most common second language throughout the country, but in several states (Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont) French is the most commonly spoken second-language. More than 60 million Americans speak a language at home other than English; the majority of these (>58%) self-reported to the U.S. Census Bureau that they spoke English “very well.”

Canada
Population: 35.16 million
Second languages: Chinese
National languages: English, French

Description: Chinese languages (Cantonese, Mandarin, and/or other dialects) are, by far, the most common second languages in Canada besides English or French, spoken by more than a million people, followed by Punjabi, spoken by nearly half a million.

Belize
Population: 331,900
Second languages: Spanish
National languages: English

Description: Approximately 50% of Belizeans self-identify as Mestizo, Latino or Hispanic. Spanish is spoken as a native tongue by about 30% of the population and is taught in schools as a second language for those who do not speak the language.

Costa Rica
Population: 4.87 million
Second languages: English
National languages: Spanish

Description: Costa Rica is a linguistically diverse country and home to at least five living local indigenous languages spoken by the descendants of pre-Columbian peoples: Maléku, Cabécar, Bribri, Guaymí, and Buglere.

El Salvador
Population: 6.34 million
Second languages: Indigenous
National languages: Spanish

Description: The most common second language is one of several indigenous languages such as Pipil, a derivation of the more common Nahuatl language.

Guatemala
Population: 15.47 million
Second languages: Indigenous
National languages: Spanish

Description: The most common second language is one of the 23 Amerindian languages native to Guatemala; 40% of Guatemalans identify primarily as speakers of indigenous languages.

Honduras
Population: 8.1 million
Second languages: Indigenous
National languages: Spanish

Description: Several indigenous languages are used in Honduras as second languages, among them Garifuna, the only example of an Arawakan language to be found outside of South America.

Nicaragua
Population: 6.08 million
Second languages: Indigenous
National languages: Spanish

Description: Indigenous languages are the most common second languages in Nicaragua; they are found most commonly along the Carribean coasts. 2.2% of Nicaraguans identify primarily as speakers of the Miskito language, making it the most common indigenous language in Nicaragua.

Panama
Population: 3.86 million
Second languages: English
National languages: Spanish

Description: Many Panamanians are bilingual in Spanish and English; 14% of all Panamanians identify primarily as English speakers. This is due to several historical factors such as proximity to the United States and the Carribean, and the presence of American military bases.

Argentina
Population: 41.48 million
Second languages: Italian
National languages: Spanish

Description: The most common second language is Italian, as much of the 97% of Argentina’s population identifying as “white” (i.e. European) identifies as ethnically Italian; there are reported to be around 600,000 Italian speakers in Argentina.

Bolivia
Population: 10.67 million
Second languages: Indigenous
National languages: Spanish, All Indigenous Languages

Description: The most commonly spoken indigenous language in Bolivia is Quechua, spoken as a primary language by just over 21% of the population. Bolivia's 2009 constitution designates Spanish and all indigenous languages as official; 36 indigenous languages are specified, including some that are extinct.

Brazil
Population: 200.4 million
Second languages: German
National languages: Portuguese

Description: The most common secondary language is German, which is estimated to have 3 million speakers in Brazil, both of the traditional language and Brazilian dialects thereof.

Chile
Population: 17.62 million
Second languages: English
National languages: Spanish

Description: The most common second language is English, according to the 2012 census, which just over 10% of the population claimed to speak as a primary language.

Colombia
Population: 48.32 million
Second languages: Indigenous
National languages: Spanish

Description: Indigenous languages are the most common secondary languages, with around 101 languages spoken by an estimated 850,000 people.

Ecuador
Population: 15.74 million
Second languages: Indigenous
National languages: Spanish

Description: The second most common is the indigenous Quechua language, spoken by just over 4% of the population.

Guyana
Population: 799,613
Second languages: Guyanese Creole
National languages: English

Description: The most common second language (first language in many cases, though it has no official standing) is Guyanese Creole, a Carribean Creole language combining elements of English, African, and European languages. It is said to be spoken by around 650,000 people in Guyana, though this number is not well documented.

Paraguay
Population: 6.8 million
Second languages: Indigenous
National languages: Spanish, Guarani

Description: The secondary official language is Guarani, spoken by more than half of Paraguay’s population. It has the distinction of being the only indigenous language in South America spoken by a large non-indigenous population, with 73% of Paraguay’s population reportedly being bilingual in both Spanish and Guarani. Paraguay is unique in the fact that there are only 2 languages widely spoken in the country, both being official languages.

Peru
Population: 30.3 million
Second languages: Ashaninka
National languages: Spanish, Quecha, Aymara

Description: Only 1.7% of the population speaks Ashaninka, mainly due to the fact that there are three official languages in Peru.

Suriname
Population: 566,846
Second languages: Sranan (Indigenous)
National languages: Dutch

Description: The most common language besides Dutch is Sranan, a Surinamese Creole derived from Dutch, Portuguese, and West African languages, which is considered the primary language of street life in Suriname.

Uruguay
Population: 3.3 million
Second languages: Portunol
National languages: Spanish

Description: The most common second language is Portunol, a dialect of Portuguese with Spanish influences, most commonly found in areas near Uruguay’s Brazilian border.

Venezuela
Population: 30.2 million
Second languages: Indigenous
National languages: Spanish

Description: The most common secondary languages are the various regional indigenous dialects which have yet to be fully counted.

Albania
Population: 3 million
Second languages: Greek
National languages: Albanian

Description: The single most common second language is Greek, spoken by .5% of the population as a first language.

Armenia
Population: 3 million
Second languages: Kurdish
National languages: Armenian

Description: The most common second language is Kurdish, spoken almost exclusively by the Yezidi minority, about 1% of the population, who are of Kurdish extraction.

Austria
Population: 8.5 million
Second languages: Turkish, Serbian
National languages: German

Description: The most common second language is Turkish, spoken by 2.3% of the population, followed closely by Serbian, spoken by 2.2%.

Azerbaijan
Population: 9.4 million
Second languages: Russian
National languages: Azerbaijani

Description: Russian is the most common second language, spoken as a second language by many and as a primary language by Azerbaijan’s sizeable Russian minority.

Belarus
Population: 9.4 million
Second languages: Polish
National languages: Belarusian, Russian

Description: A small amount of Belarus' population speak Polish (3.1%).

Belgium
Population: 11.1 million
Second languages: French
National languages: Dutch

Description: The most common second language is French, spoke by 40% of Belgians as a first language.

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Population: 3.8 million
Second languages: Croatian
National languages: Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian

Description: The most common second language is Croatian, which is an official language of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnia and Herzegovina has three official languages, and no other major languages are widely spoken.

Bulgaria
Population: 7.3 million
Second languages: Turkish
National languages: Bulgarian

Description: The most common second language is Turkish, spoken by 8.2% of the population as a first language.

Croatia
Population: 4.2 million
Second languages: Serbian
National languages: Croatian

Description: The single most common second language is Serbian, spoken by 1.2% of the population as a first language.

Czech Republic
Population: 10.5 million
Second languages: Slovak
National languages: Czech

Description: The single most common second language is Slovak, spoken by 1.6% of the population as a first language.

Denmark
Population: 5.6 million
Second languages: English
National languages: Danish

Description: There are several native second languages, but English is the most commonly spoken second language among Danes.

Estonia
Population: 1.3 million
Second languages: Russian
National languages: Estonian

Description: The most common second language is Russian, spoken by 29.6%, most of whom belong to the sizeable Russian minority living in Estonia.

Finland
Population: 5.4 million
Second languages: Indegenous
National languages: Finnish, Swedish

Description: The most common second language is Sami, an indigenous language closely related to Finnish, spoken by .2% of the population.

France
Population: 66.6 million
Second languages: German
National languages: French

Description: The most common second language is German, present mainly in a variety of dialects spoken in areas near France’s border with Germany. German and its dialects are spoken by about 3% of the population as a primary language at home.

Germany
Population: 80.7 million
Second languages: Turkish
National languages: German

Description: The most common second language is Turkish, spoken as a first language by 1.8% of the population, mainly Germany’s sizeable population of Turkish immigrants, who form the second largest distinct ethnic group in the country.

Iceland
Population: 325,671
Second languages: Danish, English
National languages: Icelandic

Description: There are no significant minority languages in Iceland, but Danish and English are widely learned and spoken.

Ireland
Population: 4.6 million
Second languages: Gaelic
National languages: English

Description: Though it is an official language of government, Irish Gaelic is less widely spoken than English, and is therefore the most common second language of Ireland, spoken by about 30% of the population, and regularly used by about 5%.

Italy
Population: 60.7 million
Second languages: Regional dialects
National languages: Italian

Description: The most common second languages tend to be regional dialects, which are often considered to be separate languages because they are not always mutually understandable. The most common of these seems to be Friulian, spoken by around 1% of the total Italian population.

Kazakhstan
Population: 17.9 million
Second languages: Kazakh
National languages: Russian

Description: While Russian serves as a common language for government, business, and daily life in multi-ethnic Kazakhstan, most Kazakhs are able to speak the native language as well.

Latvia
Population: 1.9 million
Second languages: Russian
National languages: Latvian

Description: The most common second language is Russian, spoken by 28.9% of the population.

Lithuania
Population: 2.9 million
Second languages: Russian
National languages: Lithuanian

Description: Russian is the most common second language, spoken by 8% of the population.

Luxembourg
Population: 549,680
Second languages: French, German
National languages: Luxembourgish

Description: French and German are learned by most as second languages for administrative purposes.

Macedonia
Population: 2 million
Second languages: Turkish
National languages: Macedonian, Albanian

Description: Turkish is spoken by 3.5% of Macedonia's population, making it the second most spoken language out side of Macedonian and Albanian.

Moldova
Population: 3.5 million
Second languages: Romanian
National languages: Moldovan

Description: Romanian, which is virtually identical in most ways to Moldovan, is the most common second language in Moldova.

Montenegro
Population: 647,905
Second languages: Serbian
National languages: Montenegrin

Description: Although the Serbian language is spoken by a large amount of the population (42.9%), it is not an official language and is therefore the most spoken second language in Montenegro.

The Netherlands
Population: 16.8 million
Second languages: Frisian
National languages: Dutch

Description: The most common second language is Frisian, a regional dialect from the northern province of Friesland. It is spoken by around 350,000 people, or 2.2% of the population.

Norway
Population: 5.1 million
Second languages: Indigenous
National languages: Norwegian

Description: The most common second language is Sami, an indigenous language closely related to Finnish, spoken by .9% of the population.

Romania
Population: 19.9 million
Second languages: Hungarian
National languages: Romanian

Description: Hungarian is the most common second language, spoken by about 7% of the population, mainly centered in the region of Transylvania.

Russia
Population: 143.8 million
Second languages: English
National languages: Russian

Description: English is the most common second language, spoken by 78% of all foreign language speakers in Russia, or roughly 11.7% of the population.

Slovakia
Population: 5.4 million
Second languages: Hungarian
National languages: Slovak

Description: The most common second language is Hungarian, spoken by about 10% of the population.

Slovenia
Population: 2 million
Second languages: Serbo-Croatian
National languages: Slovenian

Description: Serbo-Croatian is the most common second language, spoken by 4.5% of the population.

Spain
Population: 46.7 million
Second languages: Catalan
National languages: Spanish

Description: The most common second language is Catalan, a dialect of Spanish influenced heavily by French and Provencal, used mostly in and around Barcelona.

Sweden
Population: 9.7 million
Second languages: Finnish
National languages: Swedish

Description: The most common second language is Finnish, spoken by 3% of the population.

Switzerland
Population: 8.1 million
Second languages: French
National languages: German

Description: The most common second language is French, spoken by 20% of the population.

Turkey
Population: 76.6 million
Second languages: Kurdish
National languages: Turkish

Description: The most common second language is Kurdish, spoken by 5% of the population.

Ukraine
Population: 44.2 million
Second languages: Russian
National languages: Ukrainian

Description: The most common second language is Russian, spoken by 22% of the population.

United Kingdom
Population: 64.1 million
Second languages: South Asian (Bengali, Punjabi, Hindi, Gujarati)
National languages: English

Description: The largest group of second languages are South Asian, with 2.7% of the population speaking a language such as Bengali, Punjabi, Hindi, and/or Gujarati.

Algeria
Population: 38.7 million
Second languages: French
National languages: Arabic

Description: The most common second language is French, which is used by many as a literal and figurative “lingua franca.”

Egypt
Population: 87.5 million
Second languages: English, French
National languages: Arabic

Description: English and/or French are widely learned and understood.

Libya
Population: 6.2 milllion
Second languages: English
National languages: Arabic

Description: English is commonly understood among the educated classes, and in major cities.

Morocco
Population: 33.2 million
Second languages: French
National languages: Arabic

Description: French is a commonly used second language in business and government.

Sudan
Population: 37.2 million
Second languages: Indigenous languages
National languages: Arabic

Description: Beja is a native Cushite language spoken by around 2 million speakers in Sudan, making it the most common second language.

Tunisia
Population: 10.9 million
Second languages: French
National languages: Arabic

Description: French is the most common second language and is used especially in the business world.

Ethiopia
Population: 87.9 million
Second languages: Oromo
National languages: Amharic, Somali

Description: The most commonly spoken second language is Oromo, spoken by 33.8% of the population. The second language is actually spoken by more Ethiopians than the official language (Amharic), of which 29.33% of the population speaks.

Mozambique
Population: 23.9 million
Second languages: Emakhuwa
National languages: Portuguese

Description: Emakhuwa is spoken by 25.3 % of people in the country.

Rwanda
Population: 12 million
Second languages: Swahili
National languages: Kinyarwanda, English, French

Description: Swahili is the most common spoken language outside of the official languages.

South Sudan
Population: 8.2 million
Second languages: Arabic
National languages: English

Description: The most common second language is Arabic, a remnant from when South Sudan was united to Sudan.

Tanzania
Population: 47.4 million
Second languages: Arabic
National languages: Kiswahili, English

Description: Outside of Tanzania's official languages, Arabic is the second most spoken language (widely spoken in Zanzibar).

Uganda
Population: 35.8 million
Second languages: Ganda
National languages: English

Description: Ganda is the most widely used second language, and is the preferred language for native publications.

Zambia
Population: 14.3 million
Second languages: Nyanja
National languages: Bembe, English

Description: Nyanja is the most common second language, spoken by 14.7% of the population.

Cameroon
Population: 22.5 million
Second languages: Indigenous languages
National languages: English, French

Description: The most common second language is one of the many native languages of Cameroon, as very few Cameroonians speak both English and the country’s other official language, French.

Central African Republic
Population: 4.7 million
Second languages: Indigenous languages
National languages: Sangho, French

Description: The most common spoken language, outside of the official languages of French and Sangho are native languages. Nearly all of the native languages of the CAR belong to the Ubangian languages.

Namibia
Population: 2.1 million
Second languages: Oshiwambo
National languages: English

Description: The Oshiwambo languages are spoken by 48.9% of the country.

South Africa
Population: 54 million
Second languages: Xhosa
National languages: Zulu

Description: The most commonly used second language is Xhosa, used by 16% of the population.

Burkina Faso
Population: 17.3 million
Second languages: Indigenous languages
National languages: French

Description: Individual tribal languages are typically the most commonly spoken language in daily life.

Cote d'Ivoire
Population: 23.9 million
Second languages: Dioula
National languages: French

Description: Dioula is the most common second language, as it is the most common of the tribal languages.

Ghana
Population: 27 million
Second languages: Asante
National languages: English

Description: The most common second language is the Asante tribal language, used by 14.8% of the population.

Liberia
Population: 4 million
Second languages: Indigenous languages
National languages: English, Liberian, Kreyole

Description: The various tribal languages of Liberia are the most common second language, being the primary speaking language of many people, though they are often not usable in writing.

Mali
Population: 14.5 million
Second languages: Bambara
National languages: French

Description: The most commonly spoken language outside of French is Bambara. In total, 13 languages are considered official languages of the country.

Niger
Population: 17.1 million
Second languages: Hausa
National languages: French

Description: Hausa is the most commonly used language outside of the official language of French.

Nigeria
Population: 174.5 million
Second languages: Hausa
National languages: English

Description: Hausa is the most commonly used language outside of the official language of English.

Senegal
Population: 13.5 million
Second languages: Wolof
National languages: French

Description: Wolof is the most commonly used language in Senegal.

Afghanistan
Population: 31.8 million
Second languages: Turkic languages
National languages: Afghan, Persion, Pashto

Description: Turkic languages, primarily Uzbek and Turkmen are spoken by 11% of the population.

China
Population: 1.3 billion
Second languages: Cantonese
National languages: Mandarin

Description: The most common second language is Cantonese, which is not always mutually intelligible with Mandarin and is therefore considered a separate language.

India
Population: 1.2 billion
Second languages: Bengali
National languages: Hindi, English

Description: Bengali is spoken by 8.1% of India's population, as opposed to Hindi's 41% stronghold.

Indonesia
Population: 252.1 million
Second languages: English, Dutch
National languages: Bahasa, Indonesia

Description: The most common second languages are English and Dutch, which act as common languages in an island nation of more than 700 native languages.

Iran
Population: 77.1 million
Second languages: Azeri (Turkish)
National languages: Persian

Description: Azeri, a variety of Turkish, is the most common second language, spoken by 18% of the population.

Israel
Population: 8.2 million
Second languages: English
National languages: Hebrew

Description: English is the most common second language because of close ties between Israel and the U.S., and the origins of many Israelis in the U.S.

Japan
Population: 126.4 million
Second languages: English
National languages: Japanese

Description: English is the most common foreign language used in Japan; it is learned from a young age.

Jordan
Population: 6.6 million
Second languages: English
National languages: Arabic

Description: English is the most common second language; it is widely understood among educated upper and middle class people.

Lebanon
Population: 4.8 million
Second languages: French
National languages: Arabic

Description: French is the most common secondary language, being taught in 70% of schools, compared to 30% of schools which teach English as a second language.

Malawi
Population: 45 million
Second languages: Chichewa
National languages: English

Description: Chichewa is the second most spoken language in Malawi and most common language in the country.

Malaysia
Population: 30.3 million
Second languages: English
National languages: Bahasa, Malaysia

Description: English is the most common second language and is used as a common language between speakers of different ethnic languages.

Mongolia
Population: 2.9 million
Second languages: Russian
National languages: Khalkha, Mongol

Description: The single most used second language is Russian.

Nepal
Population: 26.4 million
Second languages: English
National languages: Nepali

Description: English is a common second language used to bridge gaps between speakers of various ethnic and tribal languages.

Pakistan
Population: 196.1 million
Second languages: English
National languages: Punjabi

Description: English is used as a common language for administration, and as a lingua franca among educated classes.

Philippines
Population: 100.6 million
Second languages: Indegenous
National languages: Filipino, English

Description: Multiple dialects and indegenous versions of the official languages serve as the 2nd most spoken language.

Qatar
Population: 2.1 million
Second languages: English
National languages: Arabic

Description: English is commonly understood and used as a second language.

Saudi Arabia
Population: 29.9 million
Second languages: English
National languages: Arabic

Description: As is the case with much of the Middle East, English is commonly used and understood as a secondary language among educated classes.

Singapore
Population: 5.4 million
Second languages: Hokkien
National languages: Mandarin, English, Malay, Tamil

Description: Nearly 8.1% of the population speaks Hokkien in Singapore.

South Korea
Population: 51.3 million
Second languages: English
National languages: Korean

Description: Like schools in Japan, South Korean schools teach English from a very early age, and the language is therefore commonly understood by Koreans and used as a second language.

Syria
Population: 17.9 million
Second languages: Indigenous languages
National languages: Arabic

Description: Various ethnic and tribal languages make up the secondary languages of most multilingual Syrians, with English being less commonly used than elsewhere in the region.

United Arab Emirates
Population: 9.3 million
Second languages: Persian
National languages: Arabic

Description: Persian is the most common secondary language due to relations with Iran and a large Persian minority.

Vietnam
Population: 92.4 million
Second languages: English
National languages: Vietnamese

Description: While French was previously the most common second language due to Vietnam’s history as a French colonial possession, English is increasingly favored as a second language among Vietnamese.

Australia
Population: 23.6 million
Second languages: Mandarin
National languages: English

Description: The most common second language is Mandarin, due to a large Chinese minority, used by 1.6% of the population.

New Zealand
Population: 4.5 million
Second languages: Maori
National languages: English

Description: Maori is the most common second language, used by 14.1% of the population.

Kenya
Population: 45 million
Second languages: Tribal languages
National languages: Kiswahili, English

Description: Both Kiswahili and English are official languages in Kenya, and serve as linguae francae for the speakers of tribal second languages, of which there are no fewer than 69 in Kenya, usually spoken exclusively in tribal communities.