The top 20 oral languages by population (i.e., those with the most native speakers), according to the Ethnologue,were, in November 2000, as follows (numbers in millions):
1. Mandarin Chinese (885)
The list changes, so check (www.sil.org/ethnologue/top100.html) for a more recent list.
According to Erik Gunnemark (Countries, Peoples and their Languages. The Geolinguistic Handbook,1991), the following 208 languages had more than 1 million native users a decade ago:
Achinese, Afrikaans, Akan, Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Assamese, Aymara, Azerbaijani, Bai, Balinese, Baluchi, Bambara, Bashkir, Batak, Bemba, Bengali, Berber, Bete, Beti, Bhili, Bhojpuri, Bikol, Buginese, Bulgarian, Burmese, Buyi, Byelorussian, Catalan, Cebuano, Chinese, Chokwe, Chuvash, Congo, Czech, Danish, Dinka, Dong, Dutch, Edo-Bini, Efil-Ibibio, English, Estonian, Ewe, Finnish, Fon, French, Ful, Galician, Ganda, Garhwali, Georgian, German, Gisu, Gondi, Greek, Guaraní, Gujarati, Gurma, Hadiyya, Haitian, Hani, Hausa, Haya, Hebrew, Hehe, Hiligaynon, Hindi, Ho, Hungarian, Igbo, Ijo, Iloko, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Javanese, Kamba, Kannada, Kanuri, Karen, Kashmiri, Kazakh, Khmer, Kirghiz, Kisii, Konkani, Korean, Kumauni, Kurdish, Kurukh, Kuyu, Lao, Latvian, Li, Lingala, Lithuanian, Low German, Luba, Luhya, Luo, Macassar, Macedonian, Madurese, Magahi, Maguindanao, Maithili, Makonde, Makua, Malagasy, Malay, Malayalam, Malinke, Manipuri, Marathi, Marwari, Mbundu, Mende, Miao, Minangkabau, Mongolian, Mongo-Nkundu, Mordva, More, Mundari, Nahuatl, Nandi, Nandi-Kipsigis, Ndebele, Nepali, Nkore-Kiga, Norwegian, Nuer, Nupe, Nyamwezi, Nyanja, Occitan, Oriya, Oromo, Pampangan, Pangasinan, Panjabi, Pashto, Pedi, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Quechua, Romany, Romanian, Ronga-Tsonga, Russian, Rwanda-Rundi, Santali, Sasak, Senufo, Serbo-Croatian, Serer, Shan, Shona, Sindhi, Sinhalese, Slovak, Slovenian, Somali, Songe, Songhai, Sotho, Spanish, Sundanese, Swahili, Swazi, Swedish, Tagalog, Tajiki, Tamil, Tatar, Teke, Telugu, Temne, Teso-Turkana, Thai, Tibetan, Tigrinya, Tiv, Tonga, Tswana, Tulu, Turkish, Turkmen, Ukrainian, Umbundu, Urdu, Uygur, Uzbek, Vietnamese, Waray, Welamo, Wolof, Xhosa, Yao (Man), Yao (Chiyao), Yi, Yoruba, Zande, Zhuang, Zulu.
(Even here, mistakes can occur. Mordva, for instance, should not be on the list, according to a Mordva expert, Cornelius Hasselblatt — thanks! Gunnemark is in the process of revising his book).
The median number of speakers of a language is probably around 5-6,000. More than 95% of the world's spoken languages have fewer than 1 million native speakers. Half of all the languages have fewer than 10,000 speakers. A quarter of the world's spoken languages and most of the Sign languages have fewer than 1,000 users. (TSK)