Mariel Norton, Content Manager   30 March 2017

Are you bilingual, trilingual or even multilingual? According to Ethnologue, over 7,000 languages are spoken today – with more and more people adding a second language to their mother tongue.

As it’s International Mother Language Day, have a look at the table below to find out which countries speak the most languages:

Countries with the most languages. Source: Ethnologue 2016.

1. Papua New Guinea: As a nation of islands, it’s no surprise to find they speak a multitude of languages in the archipelago – a staggering 840, in fact.

2. Indonesia: Next door neighbour Indonesia clocks in at 709 languages. The official language is Indonesian, a variant of Malay (borrowing from local languages of Indonesia including Sundanese and Javanese).

3. Nigeria: And the African country with the most languages is…Nigeria. The official language is English, while 24 million people speak Igbo.

4. India: Can you guess the total count of languages India speaks? To date, it’s 453.

5. United States: Across the Atlantic, America plays host to 430 languages.

6. China: With at least eight different linguistic groups in China, this country speaks a total of 301 languages.

7. Mexico: How many languages do you reckon is spoken in Mexico? It’s 290.

8. Cameroon: Its two national languages are English and French, but overall the country speaks an impressive 280 languages.  

9. Australia: Meanwhile in Australia, 260 languages are spoken – including Greek, Cantonese, Vietnamese and Arabic.

10. Brazil: Last but not least, as well as Portuguese, Brazilian Sign Language helps make up the country’s incredible total of 228 languages.

Do you speak more than one language? If so, what’s your mother tongue? Let us know in the comments below.

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