Paris-based Semiocast, which helps brands understand and interact with real-time Web services, has performed a study of Twitter based on an analysis of 2.8 million tweets.

Their study shows that around half the tweets are posted in English. The analysis further showed that the top 5 languages used on Twitter are English, Japanese, Portuguese, Malay and Spanish.

English is still the most used language on Twitter, with 50% of messages. However, the study forecasts that its share will get smaller as Twitter becomes more internationalised. Japanese comes in second with 14% of messages. The third most-used language is Portuguese with 9% of all messages, mirroring the success of social networks in Brazil.

The rapid adoption of Twitter in Malaysia and Indonesia, where Twitter has partnerships, shows in the rankings as well. Malay languages, including Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia, now represent the fourth most used language on Twitter, with 6% of messages. Spanish comes in fifth with 4% of all messages.

European languages, namely Italian, Dutch and German, account for about 1% to 2% of total messages. French represents a little less than 1% of total messages.