Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro

4 Most Spoken Languages in the Southern Hemisphere?

Southern Hemisphere is home to 800 million people, which is only 12% of the world’s population.

This is not surprising given the fact that the majority of the Earth’s land lies north of the equator.

South of the equator are located only most of South America, Australia, the southern smaller part of Africa and a very small part of Southeast Asia.

However, here you can find some of the biggest countries in the world both in territory and in population.

1. Portuguese

Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro
Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro by Dimitry B.

The most spoken language in the Southern Hemisphere is Portuguese. It is an official language in Brazil, which has a population of about 205,338,000 people.

Moreover, the majority of the population of the country lives south of the equator, which means that nearly 200 million people living in the southern hemisphere speak Portuguese only on the territory of Brazil!

Here we should note also one very interesting phenomenon – most of the Portuguese speaking countries in the world as a whole is located in the Southern Hemisphere.

This includes also Mozambique (25.8 million inhabitants), Angola (21.5 million) and East Timor (about 1.2 million), which means that about 48.5 million people live in Portuguese-speaking countries.

Even if we consider the fact that part of the population of these countries does not speak Portuguese but other local languages, we have to add at least 40 million people to those 200 million who live in Brazil, and the result is more than 240 million Portuguese-speaking people.

2. Spanish

Machu Picchu Peru
Machu Picchu, Peru by Dennis Jarvis

The second most spoken language in the Southern hemisphere is Spanish, which is the second most spoken language in the world after Chinese.

Spanish is the official language in many fast developing countries, including Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and Peru, all of which are entirely located south of the equator.

We must add also Ecuador, which is almost entirely located in the Southern Hemisphere, with the exception of a very small area in the northern parts of the country.

Spanish is a mother language for about 460,018 people in Brazil.

Of course, Spanish is spoken in many other countries, but here we would like to remind that we are talking only about those countries that are located south of the equator.

The population of these countries is more than 126 million inhabitants but there is one important detail.

Spanish is not the mother tongue for all these people who were born on the territory of these countries.

Actually, more than 10% of the population speak local languages. Estimates show that in the following countries live around 112 million people who speak Spanish as their mother tongue.

3. Javanese

Borobudur Temple, Indonesia
Borobudur Temple, Indonesia by alex hanoko

Javanese is spoken by about 84,300,000 people. It is the most common language in Indonesia and the primary means of communication for the residents of Java.

And since the island entirely lies in the Southern Hemisphere, the language is certainly one of the most important languages south of the equator.

Javanese today is spoken by about 9 and a half percent of the population of the Southern Hemisphere.

4. English

Queenstown New Zealand
Queenstown New Zealand by Tom Hall

The situation with English language is very interesting. In some countries such as New Zealand and Australia, it is the official language, but in others, even if widely spoken, it has no an official status.

There are also places where the language is widely accepted as a second official language.

There are also examples where English is used in the educational system, but people in the society communicate in other languages.

The population of countries where English is spoken to some extent in the Southern Hemisphere is about 220 million residents, but in most of these places it is spoken as a second language.

If we calculate only those people who speak English as a mother tongue, the figure will fall much below 50,000,000 people.