Languages knowledge in the EU


Passione Mediterranea
Reaction score
Ethnic group
mtDNA haplogroup

Ireland 98,37%
Uk 97,74%
Norway 91%
Sweden 89%
Malta 88%
The Netherlands 87%
Denmark 86%
Israel 84,97%
Cyprus 76%
Finland 63%
Switzerland 61,28%
Luxembourg 60%
Belgium 59%
Austria 58%
Slovenia 57%
Germany 56%

Croatia 49%
Greece 48%
Estonia 46%
Bosnia Herzegovina 45%
Latvia 39%
France 36%
Portugal 32%, Slovakia 32%, Lithuania 32%
Italy 29%, Poland 29%, Romania 29%
Spain 27%
Czech Rep. 24%
Hungary 23%, Bulgaria 23%
Turkey 17%


Italian is the official language of Italy and San Marino, and one of the official languages of Switzerland, spoken mainly in the cantons of Ticino and part of Graubünden (Grigioni in Italian), which together are a region referred to as Italian Switzerland.
It is also the official language with Croatian and Slovenian in some areas of Istria, where an Italian minority exists.
It is the primary language of the Vatican City and is widely used and taught in Monaco and Malta.
It is also spoken to a significant extent in France, with over 1,000,000 speakers (especially in Corsica and the County of Nice, areas that historically spoke Italian dialects before annexation to France), and it is understood by large parts of the populations of Albania, coastal Montenegro and western Slovenia, reached by many Italian television channels.

in the European Union, Italian is spoken as a mother tongue by 13% of the population or 65 million people, mainly in Italy.In the EU, it is spoken as a second language by 3% of the population or by 14 million people. In addition, among EU states, the Italian language is most likely to be learned as a second language in Malta by 61% of the population, as well as in Slovenia by 15% the population, in Croatia by 14% of the population, Austria by 11% of the population, Romania by 8% of the population, and by France and Greece by 6% of the population. Italian is also one of the national languages of Switzerland, which is not a part of the European Union. Italian language is known and studied in Albania, another non-EU member, due to the historical and geographical proximity between the two countries.

German is primarily spoken in Germany (where it is the first language for more than 95% of the population), Austria (89%) and Switzerland (65%). German is also spoken by the majority of the populations of Luxembourg and Liechtenstein.
Other European German-speaking communities are found in Northern Italy (in the Province of Bolzano-Bozen and in some municipalities in other provinces), in the East Cantons of Belgium, in the French regions of Alsace and Lorraine, and in some border villages of the former South Jutland County (in German, Nordschleswig, in Danish, Sønderjylland) of Denmark.
German-speaking communities can also be found in parts of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Russia and Kazakhstan. In Russia, forced expulsions after World War II and massive emigration to Germany in the 1980s and 1990s have depopulated most of these communities. German is also spoken by foreign populations and some of their descendants in Bosnia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Morocco, Netherlands, Portugal, Scandinavia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

German is the main language of about 90–95 million people in Europe (as of 2004), or 13.3% of all Europeans, being the second most spoken native language in Europe after Russian, above French (66.5 million speakers in 2004) and English (64.2 million speakers in 2004).
The European countries with German-speaking majorities are Germany (95%, 78.3 million), Austria (89%, 7.4 million), Switzerland (65%, 4.6 million) ("D-A-CH"), Luxembourg (0.48 million) and Liechtenstein (0.03 million).

D-A-CH or DACH is an synonym used to represent the dominant states of the German language Sprachraum. It is based on the official automobile license plate abbreviations for:
Germany (D for Deutschland)
Austria (A for Austria, in German "Österreich")
Switzerland (CH for Confoederatio Helvetica, in German "(die) Schweiz")
"Dach" is also the German word for "roof", and is used in linguistics in the term Dachsprache, which standard German arguably is in relation to some outlying dialects of German, especially in Switzerland and Austria.
The term is sometimes extended to D-A-CH-Li, DACHL or DACH+ to include Liechtenstein. Another version is DACHS (with Dachs meaning "Badger" in German) with the inclusion of the German speaking region of South Tyrol in Italy.

German was once the lingua franca of Central, Eastern and Northern Europe and remains one of the most popular foreign languages in Europe and it is the second most popular after English. Thirty-two percent of citizens of the EU-15 countries say they can converse in German (either as a mother tongue or as a second/foreign language). This is assisted by the widespread availability of German TV by cable or satellite. German competence in countries where it is no official language is highest in the Netherlands, Denmark, Bosnia and Herzegovina (historical connections) and in Slovenia (historical connections). Relatively high German competence is also found in Sweden, Belgium (German community), the Czech Republic (historical connections), Slovakia (historical connections), Hungary (historical connections), Poland (much of northern, southern, and western Poland had previously been German territory) and Croatia (historical connections). German is the third most taught foreign language worldwide,[dubious – discuss] including the United States;[5] it is the second most known foreign language in the EU, due to its wider use in the "new" EU countries. It is one of the official languages of the European Union, and one of the three working languages of the European Commission, along with English and French.
The learning of German as a foreign language is promoted by the Goethe Institute, which works to promote German language and culture worldwide. In association with the Goethe Institute, the German foreign broadcasting service, Deutsche Welle offers a range of online German courses and radio broadcasts produced with non-native German speakers in mind.
Wow I knew about Greece, they are great English-speakers, and Spain (they are like us, even a bit less)...But France percentage surprised me! I thought that more Italians could speak English than French people!
The quantity of how many people speak a language doesn't say anything about the quality. Germany is a country in which almost everyone claims to speak some English, although no one does it properly. In Turkey, or Southeastern Europe in general, fewer people speak English, but those who do can do it quite well.
Very interesting study, I'd like to see some other languages...English especially. I know there was the stats on the top post, but the colors were confusing and my simple brain got bored real quick.
You cant find a Albanian from Albania that doesnt speak Italian or greek.

French (le français [lə fʁɑ̃sɛ] or la langue française [la lɑ̃ɡ fʁɑ̃sɛz]) is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, theRomandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the province of Quebec and the Acadia region in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere.

French is a descendant of the spoken Latin language of the Roman Empire, as are languages such as Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Romanian,Sardinian and Catalan. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl, languages historically spoken in northern France and Belgium which have largely been supplanted by French today. The development of French was also influenced by the native Celtic languages of Roman Gauland by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders.

It is an official language in 29 countries, most of which form what is called, in French, la francophonie, the community of French-speaking countries.
According to the European Union, 129 million, or twenty-six percent of the Union's total population, speak French, of whom 72 million are native speakers (65 million in France, 4.5 million in Belgium, plus 2.5 million in Switzerland which is not part of the EU) and 69 million are second-language or foreign language speakers, thus making French the third language in the European Union that people state they are most able to speak, after Englishand German. Twenty-percent of non-Francophone Europeans know how to speak French, totaling roughly 145.6 million people in Europe alone.

French is the second-most widely spoken mother tongue in the European Union.[13] It is also the third-most widely understood language in the EU, after English and German, and is one of the three working languages of the European Commission, again, along with English and German.

According to the Constitution of France, French has been the official language since 1992[15] (although previous legal texts have made it official since 1539, seeordinance of Villers-Cotterêts). France mandates the use of French in official government publications, public education except in specific cases (though these dispositions are often ignored) and legal contracts; advertisements must bear a translation of foreign words.
In addition to French, there are also a variety of regional languages and dialects. France has signed the European Charter for Regional Languages, but has not ratified it since that would go against its 1958 Constitution

French is one of the four official languages of Switzerland (along with German, Italian and Romansh) and is spoken in the western part of Switzerland called Romandie, of which Geneva is the largest city. The language divisions in Switzerland do not coincide with political subdivisions and some cantons have bilingual status for example, cities such Biel/Bienne or cantons such as Valais-Fribourg-Berne. French is the native language of about 20% of the Swiss population and is spoken by 50.4%[17] of the population.
Most of Swiss French is mutually compatible with the standard French spoken in France, but it is often used with small differences, such as those involving numbers after 69 and slight differences in other vocabulary terms.

In Belgium, French is the official language of Wallonia (excluding a part of the East Cantons, which are German-speaking) and one of the two official languages—along with Dutch—of the Brussels-Capital Region, where it is spoken by the majority of the population, though often not as their primary language.[18] French and German are not official languages nor recognized minority languages in the Flemish Region, although along borders with the Walloon and Brussels-Capital regions, there are a dozen municipalities with language facilities for French speakers. A mirror situation exists for the Walloon Region with respect to the Dutch and German languages. In total, native French speakers make up about 40% of the country's population, while the remaining 60% speak Dutch as a first language. Of the latter, 59% claim French as a second or third language, meaning that about three quarters of the Belgian population can speak French.

Although Monégasque is the national language of the Principality of Monaco, French is the only official language, and French nationals make up some 47% of the population.
Catalan is the only official language of Andorra; however, French is commonly used because of the proximity to France and the fact that France is, with the Urgel's Bishop, part of the government. French nationals make up 7% of the population.

French is one of three official languages of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, alongside German and Luxembourgish, the natively spoken language of Luxembourg. French is primarily used for administrative purposes by the government, and is also the language used to converse with foreigners.[24]Luxembourg's education system is trilingual: the first years of primary school are in Luxembourgish, before changing to German; while in secondary school, the language of instruction changes to French.

French is also an official language in the small region of Aosta Valley, Italy.[25] Though most non-Italophone people in the region speak Franco-Provençal,[26]they use standard French to write. That is because the international recognition of Franco-Provençal as a separate language (as opposed to a dialect or patois of French) was quite recent.

French is a large minority language and immigrant language in the United Kingdom, with over 300,000 French-born people in the UK. It is also the most popular foreign language. French is spoken and understood by 23% of the UK population.[27]
Modern and Middle English reflect a mixture of Oïl and Old English lexicons after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, when a Norman-speaking aristocracy took control of a population whose mother tongue was Germanic in origin. As a result of the intertwined histories of England and continental possessions of the English Crown, many formal and legal words from Modern English have French roots. Thus whilst words such as buy and sell are of Germanic origin, purchase and vend are from Old French.
French is an official language in both Jersey and Guernsey. Both use French to some degree, mostly in an administrative or ceremonial capacity. Jersey Legal French is the standardized variety used in Jersey. However, Norman (in its local forms, Guernésiais and Jèrriais) is the historical vernacular of the islands.

You cant find a Albanian from Albania that doesnt speak Italian or greek.

yep, Albanians, here when arriving to work here, they know the languages to an almost mothertongue level. Very few of them, have a foreign accent
Very Surprised by the Spain statistic, would have expected a lot more of them to know English, at least more than France!
Very Surprised by the Spain statistic, would have expected a lot more of them to know English, at least more than France!

For the past 30 years has greatly improved, and now new generations increasingly dominate more foreign languages.

The situation of lack of English in Spain is subject to political conditions in the past when Spain is isolated and that isolation secondary Europe, coupled with the need not know or know people in the English language because we have a powerful language and national internationally.

How about a forgotten population maligned for Europe and why he needed to know English?

And now of course we will not know English to serve drinks to anyone.
It is indeed a puzzling thing, when you know then in a city like Barcelona, there is a language school in every street corner. The problem is that languages, across the EU, are not well-taught, and most people have no sufficient exposure to their target language. One exception is Holland, because TV programmes are not dubbed, so kids who cannot read have from an early age a wide exposure to English. That leads to teens that have a pretty heavy passive knowledge of English. By the time they learn the grammar formally at school, they are fluent.
French people are notorious for being bad and unwilling to speak foreign languages. They also suffer from the lack of prestige French has suffered over the last 20 years. In a country like Poland, francophile during the communist era, nobody learns French anymore.
My own experience shows that motivation is also an important factor in language learning. In my native Belgium, many students learn Dutch for anything from 6 to 10 years and by the time they get out of school, they cannot even hold a proper conversation with native speakers.
On another hand, I also believe the global use of English is not doing the language a huge favor as we can see new forms of English developing, that are far from the grammatical norm. I think the French would rather not hear French worldwide than to hear is massacred the way English is.
To conclude, I think a language is a big part of a national identity and it will stay so for a good few years to come. Time for the EU to review its priorities and put more money into subsidising languages through teachers educations, language method books subsidies and the set up of free language learning websites, like the admirable thing the French-speaking region of Belgium has done recently.
This of languages ​​works for fashion. Now there is a tendency to study Chinese, Japanese, German and other languages​​, English is becoming known as a language to ask for a chocolate store at any airport, not even necessary to have sex with strangers. There are entrepreneurs who speak Chinese because they have a driving school and half of their customers are Chinese. Finally there is to know or learn the local languages ​​of the places where someone plans to establish, is a canard to think that just knowing English is all solved internationally.
Very Surprised by the Spain statistic, would have expected a lot more of them to know English, at least more than France!

Why do you expect more from Spaniards at speaking English? I had lived in Spain for 4 years and they struggle a lot at learning foreign languages. As I learned Spanish I could understand why they have problems with other languages, because of their native language which lacks a lot of phonemes. I bet a Franch would learn English faster and better.

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