Most Spoken Languages in the World

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Most Spoken Languages In The World
Most Spoken Languages In The World

The methods by which people communicate has changed vastly over the past century. Advancements in technology enable us to talk to people who are miles away from us and greatly diminish the difficulty of interacting with other people. The problem in communicating with others in faraway is no longer an issue because we are now living in a world of interconnectivity with different spoken languages all over the globe.

Nevertheless, amidst the advancements that we are achieving, the system by which we communicate with others has not changed. We speak of the most fundamental method of communication – Language. Whether in spoken or written forms, language has always been the key to effective communication.

Though the ranks of the most spoken languages may interchange slightly, we can safely assume that these languages are constantly on the top tier of spoken languages. According to Ethnologue’s 19th Edition, here is the list of top 10 most spoken languages in the world:

RankLanguagePrimary CountryTotal CountriesSpeakers
(millions)
1Chinese [zho]China351,302
2Spanish [spa]Spain31427
3English [eng]United Kingdom106339
4Arabic [ara]Saudi Arabia58267
5Hindi [hin]India4260
6Portuguese [por]Portugal12202
7Bengali [ben]Bangladesh4189
8Russian [rus]Russian Federation17171
9Japanese [jpn]Japan2128
10Lahnda [lah]Pakistan8117

Did the rankings surprise you?

While English might be the most common international spoken language, it was not the most spoken language in the world.  It only comes in 3rd place after Spanish and Chinese (Mandarin). Though this graph is an approximation, it gives you an idea of how spoken languages are ranking in terms of speakers around the world.

Being able to speak and understand from any of the most spoken languages in the world equips you for effective communication with a lot more speakers intentionally. In addition, if you have the capability to communicate with a secondary language, it allows you to express yourself better to more people and advance your career as economic powers shift. it helps you gain confidence in conveying yourself as well.

Source: Lewis, M. Paul, Gary F. Simons, and Charles D. Fennig (eds.). 2016. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Nineteenth edition. Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Online version: http://www.ethnologue.com