Duolingo, the popular language-learning service, has recently hit more than 300 million users, across all 195 countries. This is a huge user database that can reveal a lot about what languages people around the world are learning, and this is where things get interesting.
As of January 2019, Duolingo offers language courses in 24 languages. But, which countries are trying to learn which of these 24 languages? To answer this question, Duolingo has run a survey on the 300 million users that span the entire planet to identify the most popular language for each country, and the results are in. Here is what they look like:
As you might have guessed, English is by far the most studied language around the globe. It’s studied by a staggering 52% of Duolingo users in 116 countries. This is not surprising considering the global interest in English as the language of the global market and science, among other reasons.
French and Spanish are in a tight compitition for number 2. Although French wins over Spanish in the number of countries (French is studied in 35 countries and Spanish in 32 countries), Spanish takes the lead in the overall number of users as it’s studied by 17% of the overall users, compared to 11% for French.
This and other data is summed up in the table below:
If you look closely at the map above, you can’t help but notice some oddities. For example, why is Swedish the top language in Sweden? Bozena Pajak, Duolingo’s head of research, explains that this is related to immigration. She writes that “one in six Swedish residents in 2015 was born outside of Sweden.”
Things get more interesting when you look at the second-most popular language by country. Take a look at the following graphs:
French takes the lead followed by Spanish, German, and Portuguese. This is summed up in the table below: