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LANGUAGES 101

There are more than 6,000 languages in use today, but I’m going to focus on only the most popular, shown in Table 2.1. If you were to localize your web site to include these languages, your site would be able to communicate with well over half of the world’s population—and more than 90% of all web users.

Table 2.1. Major Languages of the World
Language Primary Regions Spoken Estimated Number of Native Speakers (in Millions)
Chinese (Mandarin) China 874
Hindi-Urdu India, Pakistan 366
English North America, Great Britain, Australia, South Africa 341
Spanish Latin America, Spain 341
Arabic North Africa, Middle East 183
Portuguese Brazil, Portugal, Angola, Mozambique 176
Russian Former Soviet Union 167
Bengali Bangladesh, India 162
Japanese Japan 125
German Germany, Austria, Switzerland 100
Korean Korea 78
French France, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, Black Africa 77
Chinese (Wu) China (Shanghai) 77
Javanese Indonesia (Java) 75
Chinese (Yue) China (Guangdong) 71
Telugu South India 69
Vietnamese Viet Nam 68
Marathi South India 68
Tamil South India, Sri Lanka 66
Italian Italy 62
Urdu Pakistan 60
Ukrainian Ukraine 50
Source: Ethnologues, 14th Edition, 2000 (www.ethnologue.com).



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