Have you ever wondered what the top 10 languages in the world are? Chances are that because you are reading this in English, you may believe that it is that one. Although the English language ranks among the top of the list, it is not in first place. The truth is that the vast majority of people are often surprised when they do find out which one tops the list. Below are the most popular spoken and used languages in the entire world.
There is one thing to take into consideration though. Since it is often very difficult to define the differences between a dialect and a language, the stats can vary. That’s due to the macrolanguage having several varieties. In any event, the following statistics are based on findings from the 2007 Nationalencyklopedin edition.
1.2 Billion – 14.4% of the world’s population
The Mandarin language tops the list 1,197,000,000 billion speakers. Keep in mind that the total (1.2 billion) refers to the Chinese language altogether. However, since close to a billion of those speak the Mandarin dialect, it is the most common. This stat is also based on professional translation services often required by the language. The official language of Taiwan and China is based on the Beijing dialect of Mandarin. It is a form of the spoken Chinese and the standard Chinese which include – Putonghua-Guoyu-Huayu as standardized form.
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413.5 Million – 5.85% of the world’s population
With 413.5 million speakers all across the Americas and Europe, Spanish is second on the list of the most common spoken and used languages of the world. The Spanish language tops the list as one of the languages more likely to open up whole continents for those that know it. Although there are several dialects, the Castilian in Spain is held are the normal standard. Still, the Catalan and Andalusian are also used and spoken.
365 Million – 5.52% of the world’s population
There are an estimated 365 million English speaking people in the world. It wasn’t until about 15 years ago that the English language was in second place on the list of most spoken languages in the world. However, Spanish speakers have increased so much in the last decade that it has moved into second place. Nevertheless, the English language is still considered the most influential language by scholars. That’s based on the number of countries it is spoken in as well as the number of English speakers.
310 Million – 4.46% of the world’s population
Hindi and Urdu are in 4th place with over 310,000,000 million speakers worldwide. However, it is important to note that Urdu and Hindi have different written forms. Still, they both share numerous common words, history and grammar. While India has a total of 23 official languages, Urdu and Hindi are at the top. Most linguists consider Hindi and Urdu different “registers” of the same language.
295 Million – 4.23% of the world’s population
Coming in 5th place, the Arabic language has over 295,000,000 million speakers of all over the world. Just like Chinese, Arabic has a huge number of different dialects. This leads to the language being grouped as one in order to make it easier to track. The Muslim holy writings are in the Arabic language. In addition, Arabic has influenced several of the most common languages. For instance, Spanish contains about 4,000 words which roots can be traced to Arabic.
205 Million – 3.08% of the world’s population
Most people tend to think of the Portuguese language as only being part of Brazil. However, that is not the case since out of the 215 million speakers, only about 150 of them speak Brazilian Portuguese. It is still the most common variant of the language though. Other countries which have Portuguese as its official language are Mozambique, Cape Verde, Macau, Portugal and Angola.
202 Million – 3.05% of the world’s population
A lot of people are actually quite surprised to see the Bengali language on the list of the top ten languages. Still, with over 202 million speakers around the world, it is a very popular language. In India, Bengali is the second most spoken language. It is also the official language there as well as in Bangladesh.
161 Million – 2.42% of the world’s population
While the Russian language is only on the number 8th spot on the list, it is still one of the top six official languages of the United Nations. The other 5 are English, Chinese (Mandarin), Spanish, Arabic and French. In any case, there are over 155 million Russian speakers all over the world. The Russian language is well known for both its Cyrillic script and inscrutable grammar.
125 Million – 1.92% of the world’s population
Unlike other languages on this list, the majority of those that speak Japanese, are mostly located in 2 places – the island group of Okinawa and Japan. They make up 124 million of the world’s speakers. That unusual geographic concentration make it very different from other common languages. The Japanese language have two distinct writing systems. One is the Katakana and the other is the Hiragana. They also make extensive use of the Kanji characters from the Chinese language.
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100 Million – 1.44% of the world’s population
It wasn’t until 15 years ago that Punjabi was on the 11th spot of the world’s most spoken languages. Before that, the 10th spot, belonged to German language. However, Punjabi has climbed to the last place on the top ten list with 100 million plus speakers. Mostly spoken in Pakistan and India, Punjabi is used in 1.44% of the world’s population. The recent increased can be attributed to the rise in Punjabi songs which now account for more than fifty percent of chart topping hits.