Rank 1: Smaller Alphabets (21 – 26 Letters)

Most of you reading this will be familiar with some of the languages in this ranking. We are including these to give context to the size of languages in the future ranks. Let’s start with some popular European languages. English, has 26 letters based on Latin Script, as is German and French with 26 as well, and Spanish with 27. Italian has a surprising 21 letters in its alphabet, giving it the lowest in our first rank.

Rank 2: Larger Alphabets (28 – 46 Letters)

So as we move past some of the languages we’re used to, we start to find larger and more complex writing systems. Arabic for example, has 28 letters in its language, all of which are considered consonants, Arabic does of course have vowels, but they are instead shown by a ‘diacritical mark’ or glyph that is added to the existing letters. Then there is the Russian alphabet consisting of 33 letters. 10 of these are vowels, 21 are consonants and an additional two ‘signs’ or ‘modifiers’ also used to make words. Finally, in our second rank, we have Japanese. Now, it’s true that Japanese is an ideographic language, with Kanji being the most famous of it’s three writing systems, but unlike Chinese, Japanese has two phonetic alphabets, hiragana and katakana, which can both be counted in our rankings. Both languages have a total of 46 letters.

The Biggest Alphabets (50 – 75 Letters)


Now we are in the upper echelon of alphabet lengths, and we start to break the 50 letters mark. Hindi, the most spoken language in all of India, has an alphabet consisting of 12 vowels, 33 consonants, and between 5 and 7 compound characters, giving it a total of between 50 and 52 letters (This number changes amongst different regions of India). Next up we have Nepali, a language that historically has grown out of a region with long and complex writing systems. Nepali has 64 letters in its alphabet, the largest we have talked about so far, but unfortunately, it doesn’t take the top spot. That pleasure falls to Khmer. According to the Guinness Book Of World Records, the Khmer Language has the largest alphabet in the world, with a total of 74 letters, consisting of 33 consonants, 23 vowels and 12 independent vowels. Often referred to as Cambodian, Khmer is actually spoken in many countries in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Vietnam, and some parts of Laos. The language has a total of 16 million native speakers.

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