Discover the top 10 most spoken languages in the world, including interesting facts and figures about each language. Expand your linguistic knowledge today!
The most spoken languages in the world
Have you ever wondered which languages are the most widely used? Even though there are currently more than 7,000 languages spoken worldwide, more than half of people only speak 23 of them. Understanding this is essential for developing a global expansion strategy and succeeding in business.
Also, being fluent in several languages allows us to explore new realms and enhance our understanding of diverse cultures, which may be beneficial for both professional and personal development. This extensive list, which we’ve put together for you based on true data, covers everything from the easier languages that English speakers will find to learn to the more difficult languages.
English (1,132 million speakers)
Germanic is a branch of the Indo-European language family. Frisian, Dutch, and German are related. With more than 1.130 million speakers, English is the most commonly used language in the world. Many industries, including technology, tourism, and international trade, use it as their primary language. Every third individual who connects to the Internet can be understood by a bilingual person who speaks both Spanish and English.
Furthermore, they have access to more than 60% of all online information. Shakespeare is revered for more than only his work as one of the greatest playwrights in history; he is also known for the astonishing 1,700 words he added to the English language during his lifetime. All pilots must communicate in English because it is the language of the air.
Mandarin (1,117 million speakers)
Sino-Tibetan language family. Cantonese, Tibetan, and Burmese are connected. When native speakers and non-native speakers are taken into account, Mandarin is the second most spoken language in the world.
But the first if only native speakers are taken into account. Mandarin is not a single language but a collection of Chinese dialects. What unites speakers of many dialects under the same name is the ability to understand one another.
It’s interesting to note that although fewer than 1% of online content is published in Mandarin, 20% of internet users are Chinese speakers. With more than 50,000 characters, it is one of the hardest languages to learn. But, there aren’t any verb conjugations, tenses, or gender-specific nouns either, so don’t worry.
Hindi (615 million speakers)
The Indo-Ayran branch of the Indo-European language family. Bengali, Punjabi, Marathi, Kashmiri, and Nepali are all related languages. With approximately 615 million native speakers, Hindi is the third most widely used language in the world. Nations like Nepal, Fiji, Mauritius, and Guyana all use it. India’s national language is it.
Hindi, which is named after the Persian term hind and means “Country of the Indus river,” had a considerable influence from Sanskrit. If you speak English, you most likely already have some knowledge of Hindi. Can you think of words like “guru,” “jungle,” “karma,” “yoga,” and “avatar”? These words, along with numerous more, were directly translated from Hindi.
Spanish (534 million speakers)
Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family. Romanian, Portuguese, Italian, and French are related languages. Spanish is the second most widely used language in the world in terms of native speakers. Moreover, it is the Romance language that is most commonly spoken and third-most utilized online.
Its extensive colonial expansion took it to Asia, Africa, and not simply America. The second-largest number of Spanish speakers in the world live in the United States as a result of migration.
French (280 million speakers)
Romance languages make up a family. Romanian, Portuguese, Italian, and Spanish are related languages. The global proliferation of the French language was aided by French colonialism. In 29 countries spanning several continents, it is now the official language.
French is regarded as the lovely language of culture if English is the language of commerce. Its significant relevance is evidenced by the fact that it is the third language with the biggest proportion of non-native speakers.
Arabic (274 million speakers)
A subfamily of the Afro-Asiatic language family is Semitic. Aramaic, Amharic, and Hebrew are related languages. Arabic has been designated as the official language of 26 countries.
Due to its geographic dispersion, it is a collection of dialects. It serves as the liturgical language of Islam. It acts as a crucial business tool in that region of the world in addition to helping to conserve the rich cultural history of the Arab world.
The Arabic term for love has at least 11 different meanings, each of which reflects a different stage of romance. Isn’t it enough just to begin learning? Also, it has impacted how English is now used. The word “coffee,” for instance, is derived from the Arabic word “qahwa.”
Bengali (265 million speakers)
The Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family. Hindu, Punjabi, Marathi, Kashmiri, and Nepali are all related. Bengali is the official language of Bangladesh. and it is also widely spoken in parts of India and Burma. You might be shocked to learn that one of the world’s most commonly spoken languages is only spoken in a small region. Yet that makes sense when you take into account how crowded that region is.
Russian (258 million speakers)
East Slavic is a member of the Indo-European language family. Ukrainian and Belarusian are related. The presence of Russian among the most widely spoken languages worldwide becomes less surprising when we take into account Russian history and geographical location. It is widely used throughout the former Soviet Union and is the official language of four countries.
The majority of native speakers in all of Europe are there. Russian only has roughly 200,000 words (compared to about one million in English), thus even if the grammar is notoriously difficult, most of the words have more than one meaning.
Interesting fact: As if being an astronaut weren’t challenging enough, international astronauts are required to learn a certain amount of Russian due to Russia’s impact on space technology.
Portuguese (234 million speakers)
The Romance language family is a division of Indo-European. Romanian, Spanish, French, and Italian are related languages. Portuguese is yet another language that emerged during the era of European colonization.
It is currently the official language in nine nations located in Europe, America, Africa, and Asia. Brazil is the country with the most Portuguese speakers out of the nine countries, as well as being the biggest. In the southern hemisphere, it is also the language that is most widely spoken.
Indonesian (198 million speakers)
Austronesian language family. Madurese, Javanese, Sundranese, and Malay are related languages. The fourth most populous country in the world, Indonesia, speaks Bahasa Indonesia as its official language. Interestingly, the majority of its native speakers do not do so. Instead, in a country where more than 200 languages are spoken, it is a second language necessary for communication.
Interesting fact: It is one of the politest languages spoken in the Eastern part of the world, along with Malay.
How about Spanish?
Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the world, with an estimated 460 million native speakers. It is the official language of Spain and most of Latin America, as well as Equatorial Guinea in Africa. Spanish is a Romance language, descended from Latin, and is closely related to other Romance languages like Italian, French, and Portuguese.
Which of the aforementioned foreign languages do you speak? And which one are you interested in learning? Continue to translate in your mind. Want to practice your Spanish? Check out Stefano’s courses if you want to speak and think fluently in Spanish quickly!