How many people in the world speak a European language?

Europe has more than 50 total languages that include over 100 regional dialects most of which typically fall under some branch of the following: Romance, Germanic, or Slavic. Listed below are the most common languages spoken. If your don’t see a language on the following list, it’s probably because the number of total speakers almost exactly matches the country’s population.

Incidentally, the last one on the list is a bit of a wildcard. It is totally synthetic universal language called Esperanto. It was designed to be a simple, easy to learn language (10 times faster than other languages) that incorporated basic Latin principles with English and German without irregularities and conjugations. Its appeal was that it did not impose a cultural bias (it was neutral) and it was international. In fact, it nearly caught on for larger applications like the United Nations. Being very popular until World War I, it soon fell under severe scrutiny by the Fascists, Stalinists, and Nazis (i.e. Hitler banished it from being spoken). Despite the continuing efforts of its many followers, English by far seems to have supplanted their mission as the new universal language. For more info, see (an excellent webring) or if in Vienna, stop by and visit the Esperanto museum expressly dedicated to promoting their cause at:

Esperanto Museum- Hofburg Palace, Vienna, Austria .Website:


Language Est. Native Speakers Est. Total Speakers
English 427 million 800 million
Spanish 266 million 400 million
Portuguese 165 million 275 million
Russian 150 million 280 million
German 100 million 121 million
French 90 million 116 million
Italian 60 million 65 million
Dutch 20 million NA
Euskara 3 million NA
Gaelic 1 million NA
Welsh 500,000 NA
Esperanto NA 2 million

*NA-not available