A common question asked about Esperanto is “how many speakers does it have?”. Well, the exact number of speakers, like many languages, isn’t known. Without a worldwide language census the answer can’t be preciously found out.
However, there have been numerous studies that estimate how many people are able to communicate using Esperanto.
A reputable study was done by Professor Sidney S. Culbert at the University of Washington. He interviewed people from dozens of countries who claimed to speak the language and tested if they could communicate at a proficient level (more than just a few basic phrases). The conclusion was that Esperanto has between 1 – 2 million speakers. The study also covered other languages with more than one million speakers.
Is Esperanto the most spoken constructed language?
Although Klingon is often thought of as the most widely spoken “made-up” language by some people (possibly due to being frequently mentioned in the media) it doesn’t have as many speakers as you might think. Only an estimated 2000 humans speak the language.
|Language||Estimated Number of Speakers|
As you can see from the table above, Esperanto has more speakers than other popular conlangs by a large amount. Some conlangs like Klingon are probably held back because of their more complex grammar and lack of everyday words.
However, according to Guinness World Records Klingon is the most widely spoken fictional language. Presumably, Esperanto doesn’t count because it isn’t fictional (as in created specifically for a piece of entertainment).