Most Spoken Languages In The World

Have you ever wondered about the  most spoken languages in the world?

With over 7,000 languages in existence, more than half of the world’s population primarily speaks just 23 of them.

Whether it’s the melodious tones of Spanish, the intricate beauty of Mandarin, or the rhythmic cadence of English;

Mastering these top languages opens doors to diverse cultures and countless opportunities.

This knowledge is essential for global expansion strategies and personal development.

Multilingualism broadens our horizons and enhances cultural understanding.

From languages English speakers find easy to learn to the more challenging ones, we’ve compiled this comprehensive list based on real data.

Top 20 Most Spoken Languages In The World

1.English (1,452 million speakers)

First language: 372.9 million

Total speakers: 1.4+ billion

According to Ethnologue, English is the most-spoken language globally, including native and non-native speakers.

It serves as the universal language in international business, tourism, technology, and more.

A bilingual person who speaks Spanish and English can understand one in three people connected to the Internet and access over 60% of online content.

2.Mandarin (1,118 million speakers)

First language speakers: 929 million

Total speakers: 1.1+ billion

Mandarin is the second most widely spoken language globally, counting only first-language (native) speakers due to China’s significant population.

It’s a set of dialects of the Chinese language, with speakers understanding each other.

3.Hindi (602+ million speakers)

First language speakers: 343.9 million

Total speakers:602+ million

Hindi, one of India’s 22 official languages, has over 121 languages coexisting within the country.

India’s linguistic diversity explains the high rate of non-native speakers using Hindi as a lingua franca.

4.Spanish (548+ million speakers)

First language speakers: 474.7 million

Total speakers: 548+ million

Spanish is the second most widely spoken language globally in terms of native speakers and the third most used on the internet.

There are 21 Spanish-speaking countries worldwide, and the United States ranks as the second-largest Spanish-speaking country.

5.French (280 million speakers)

First language speakers: 79.9 million

Total speakers: 274+ million

French spread across the world with the French colonial empire, making it one of the most spoken languages.

It’s the language of culture and ranks third in terms of non-native speakers.

6.Modern Standard Arabic (274 million speakers)

First language speakers: 0 million

Total speakers: 274 million

Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is the only language without native speakers on this list.

It’s used in literature and politics but not in everyday life.

7.Bengali (272+ million speakers)

First language speakers: 233.7 million

Total speakers: 272.7 million

Bengali is the official language of Bangladesh and spoken in parts of India and Burma.

8.Russian (258+ million speakers)

First language speakers: 154 million

Total speakers: 258.2 million

Russian’s inclusion is due to Russia’s vast territory and its prevalence in 19 countries.

9.Portuguese (257+ million speakers)
First language speakers: 232.4 million

Total speakers: 257.7 million

Portuguese colonial expansion during the European colonial period led to its spread across Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia.

10.Urdu (231.3 million speakers)
First language speakers: 70.2 million

Total speakers: 231.3 million

Urdu is one of Pakistan’s official languages and used in some Indian regions.

It’s highly intelligible with Hindi, despite differences in script.

11.Indonesian (199 million speakers)
First language speakers: 43.6 million

Total speakers: 199.0 million

Bahasa Indonesian is the official language of Indonesia and serves as a second language to facilitate understanding in a multilingual country.

12.German (134.6 million speakers)
First language speakers: 75.6 million

Total speakers: 134.6 million

German is primarily spoken in Europe, with a small population. However, it ranks as the fifth most studied language globally.

13.Japanese (125.4 million speakers)
First language speakers: 125.3 million

Total speakers: 125.4 million

Japanese is spoken mainly in Japan, with over 99% of the population being native speakers.

14.Nigerian Pidgin (120.7 million speakers)
First language speakers: 4.7 million

Total speakers: 120.7 million

Nigerian Pidgin is expected to rise in the rankings due to Nigeria’s rapid population growth.

15.Marathi (99.1 million speakers)
Marathi boasts a concentration of speakers in Maharashtra, India.

First language speakers: 83.1 million

Total speakers: 99.1 million

As the third most prevalent language in India, Marathi finds its main base in the state of Maharashtra.

It has a history dating back around 1,300 years, making it one of the world’s oldest languages.

16.Telugu (95.7 million speakers)
First language speakers: 82.7 million

Total speakers: 95.7 million

Telugu, India’s fourth most common language, follows closely behind Marathi.

It predominantly flourishes in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Additionally, it serves as the official language in several other states.

Telugu belongs to the ancient Dravidian language family, which spans over 5,000 years.

17.Turkish (88.1 million speakers)
First language speakers: 82.2 million

Total speakers: 88.1 million

Turkish, the official language of Turkey, is distinct for having used a modified Arabic alphabet until 1928, when it transitioned to the Roman alphabet.

Beyond Turkey, substantial Turkish-speaking communities are found in Cyprus, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, and other European nations.

18.Tamil (86.4 million speakers)

First language speakers: 78.4 million

Total speakers: 86.4 million

Tamil, India’s fifth most prevalent language, holds a significant presence in the state of Tamil Nadu.

It’s also widely spoken by Tamil communities in Sri Lanka and Singapore.

With a history spanning over 5,000 years, Tamil is regarded as the world’s oldest living language.

19.Yue Chinese (85.6 million speakers)

First language speakers: 85.2 million

Total speakers: 85.6 million

Yue Chinese encompasses a cluster of closely-related dialects.

The most prominent of these is Cantonese, predominantly spoken in China’s Guangdong province, as well as in Hong Kong and Macau.

Cantonese also enjoys popularity among overseas communities, establishing it as one of the most widely spoken Chinese dialects outside China.

20.Vietnamese (85.3 million speakers)

First language speakers: 84.6 million

Total speakers: 85.3 million

Vietnamese, predominantly spoken in Vietnam, features six distinct tones.

Interestingly, it holds the status of an official language in the Czech Republic, enabling its use in courts and official radio and television broadcasts.

 

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