An Introduction to the World’s Alphabets


An introduction to the world's alphabets banner

Less than two months ago, the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbaev announced that the country would be switching to a latin-based alphabet for their native language. This will represent quite a significant change for the Kazakh language which has used a cyrillic-based alphabet for the past 80 years.

In light of this recent development, we have decided that this would be a good time to take a look at the different alphabets that are being used by countries around the world today.

The Latin alphabet is by far the most-used alphabet in the world with over 2.6 billion people, or 36% of the world’s population, relying on it as their form of written communication. However, there are many other alphabets and scripts that have been adopted by countries and cultures around the world. Among these writing systems, the most well-known and widely-used are the Chinese and Devanagari scripts, and the Arabic and Cyrillic alphabets.

Other notable examples include the Greek alphabet and Japanese script.

To find out more about what alphabets and scripts are used around the world and in what countries, take a look at this map from World Standards.

Alphabets being used around the world


We hope you enjoyed this brief introduction to the world’s alphabets. For a more in-depth look you can visit the sources below.


  • Nazarbaev Signs Decree On Kazakh Language Switch To Latin-Based Alphabet, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Available here [Accessed on 07/11/17].
  • The World’s Scripts and Alphabets, World Standards. Available here [Accessed on 07/11/17].


Written by Liam Kennedy – Schuman Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament. Graduate of Journalism with a Language (French) at Dublin Institute of Technology. Completed a Masters in Translation Studies at University College Cork.