There are thought to be more than 7,000 languages across the globe. Asia has the largest number (2,301), followed by Africa with 2,138. In the Pacific region there are 1,313 tongues spoken; in the Americas, 1,064.

Papua New Guinea has 839 different living languages, nearly three times as many as Europe, which has 286, according to Ethnologue, a catalogue of the world’s known living languages. A “living” language is defined as having at least one speaker for whom it is their first language. Languages used only as a second language are not included in this ranking.

1510B15-countries most spoken languages statista

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Author: Niall McCarthy is Media Relations Manager at Statista. 

Image: A man speaks on a mobile phone in front of a closed shop displaying an advertisement for Uninor on its shutters in Mumbai February 6, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui