This fascinating infographic by Alberto Lucas López shows how 23 of the world’s mother tongues are proportioned, and how they’re distributed around the globe.

Of the 7,102 languages around today, a mere 23 of them are the mother tongue of 50 million people or more. These select languages are spoken by a total of 4.1 billion people.


“We represent each language within black borders and then provide the numbers of native speakers (in millions) by country,” writes López at the South China Morning Post. “The colour of these countries shows how languages have taken root in many different regions.”

Globally, here’s how it breaks down:


A zoomed-in version of the English portion, plus the list of Chinese macrolanguages:


You can find a full resolution version of the map here.

H/t Mental Floss!

Note: This article was modified to distinguish between native languages and spoken languages.


Images: Alberto Lucas López/The South China Morning Post.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter