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What Are the Most Common Languages Spoken in the UK

The UK is a beautifully diverse place, where many different languages are spoken. If you’re looking to learn a new language, or you’re hiring a voice over agency for a business like https://matinee.co.uk/voice-over-agency/, it’s important to know which languages are the most common across the UK. This will help you choose the most useful and impactful language to learn yourself, or place on your content.

Here are the most common languages spoken in the UK:


Over 90% of people in the UK speak English as their first language, with only around 770,000 people in Britain having little to no English skills overall.

Indigenous Languages

Indigenous languages of the UK are extensive, but the most commonly used are Scots and Gaelic in Scotland, Welsh in Wales and Irish in Ireland. Welsh is spoken by around 30% of people in Wales, which is a high number compared to other indigenous languages of the UK. In fact, Welsh is the only Celtic language that is not on the endangered list from UNESCO.


Polish is spoken by over half a million people in the UK and could be spoken by Polish people, or people from Belarus, the Ukraine, Russia, Lithuania and Germany as it’s a popular first or second language in many countries worldwide.


Around 275,000 people speak Punjabi in the UK and represents the largest portion of British Asian language in the country.


Urdu is spoken extensively across the UK with over 269,000 speakers, and with particular areas of the Pakistani community seeing higher numbers of Urdu speakers than elsewhere.


Bengali is spoken across the UK but is spoken more often in certain areas. In Tower Hamlets, in London, for example around 18% of the population speak Bengali as their main language.


Gujarati is spoken across the UK, but is more prevalent in certain areas. Leicester, for example, has a high 11% of Gujarati speakers, so if your company is based in Leicester or other areas with a high level of Gujarati speakers,


Arabic is spoken across the UK, but large numbers of London residents speak the language making it the second most commonly spoken language in the capital, with over 11,000 people speaking it as their mother tongue, and 6,000 speaking it at home.


There are over 147,000 French speakers in the UK and so a French voice over for a UK project may not be your first choice compared to other languages. However, if your project is going to be used overseas, it is still worth considering as French is widely spoken globally.

Chinese Languages

Lots of Chinese languages are spoken in the UK, including Cantonese and Mandarin. There are parts of the UK where there are large Chinese communities, with Manchester being the third largest after London and the Southeast, giving it a much higher percentage of Chinese language speakers.


There are over 133,000 speakers of Portuguese in the UK, making it a top ten language.


Over 120,000 people in the UK state that Spanish is their main language, making it a top ten language, but on the lower end.

Which Language Will You Choose?

If you want to learn a new language or apply different languages to a business project, do a little more research to pick the perfect option for your chosen application.

If you do use a company to do a voice over or subtitles, do ensure they are experienced in what they do so that the translation and pronunciation is accurate and brings you the kind of brand boost you’re expecting from creating multilingual content.

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