Top 10 Spoken Languages in the World

Have you ever wondered what the top spoken languages around the world are? Or wanted to choose a second language to learn based on geographical popularity? We have listed the top 10 spoken languages in the world based on M. Paul Lewis Ethnologue: Languages of the World, sixteenth edition.

Top 10 Most Popular Languages

Top 10 Most Popular Languages

10- German spoken by 90,30,000

German was on the rise as one of the most spoken languages in the world just before World War II and during the 1930s. Its popularity was to over take the English language and it grew up to the fall of the Nazi regime. It is currently spoken by millions of people outside of Germany in countries like the USA, Brazil, Argentine and other parts of the world.

 9- Japanese spoken by 122,100,000

Mostly spoken by the Japanese population and at times learnt by enthusiasts. Before and during World War II, occupied Korea, Taiwan, parts of China and Philippines were forced to learn Japanese, in a attempt to extend the Japanese empire.

8- Russian spoken by 143,600, 000

Russian is the most geographically widespread language in Asia and Europe. The Slavic language is spoken outside today’s Russia as the official lanauge, in countries like Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan and Uzbekistan. It is also unofficially spoken in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Estonia.

7- Portuguese spoken by 178,000,000

The Portuguese were amongst the first Europeans to set out for the rest of the world on the ships in Age of Exploration. This opened the roads of colonisation of new lands and the Portuguese language became a widely spoken language in the world until the expansion of English. Currently, Brazil and Portugal are two primary Portuguese-speaking nations, however, the language is unofficially spoken in many other African countries.

6- Bengali spoken by 181,300,000

Bengali is spoken in South Asian and is classified as an Indo-Aryan language. The area is known as Bengal, which covers today’s Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal, and parts of the Indian states of Tripura and Assam. Bengali is derived from the ancient Sanskrit language, which is also the root language for Indo-European languages like Latin and Persian. Bengali is exclusively a native spoken language rarely spoken by others as a second language.

5- Hindi spoken by 181,700, 000

The middle of the list of top 10 spoken languages in the world sits Hindi. Hindi is one of the primary official languages of India. Many incorrectly, label the language of India as “Indian”, there’s not such language. India has 22 official languages, which includes Hindi and Bengali.

4- Arabic spoken by 340,000, 000

Arabic is the most widely spoken of the 3 known Semitic languages, which also includes Hebrew and Aramaic. Arabic is the officially language of 26 states in Asia, Middle East and Africa but is learned as the second and religious language by nearly 1.7 billion Muslims around the world, making the most popular religious language in the world. Although Arabic has many different spoken dialects and varieties, Classical Arabic is usually taught, in schools and universities and spoken in formal gatherings. Arabic has lent many words to other languages within the Islamic world and outside of it. During the Middle Ages, Arabic was a major vehicle of culture in Europe, especially in science, mathematics and philosophy. As a result, many European languages have also borrowed numerous words from it.

3- English spoken by 390,000,000

The West Germanic Language of English started with the arrival of three Germanic tribes who invaded Britain during the 5th century AD. The Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes, crossed the North Sea and over to today’s southern England. Historically, English was born from the mixture of different dialects and languages termed Old English. It was then brought to the eastern coast of England and German settlers around the 5th century. Today English is probably the most well-known language and for certainty the most popular second language learned by nearly 2 billion people globally.

2- Spanish spoken by 450,000,000

Many people are surprised to find out that Spanish – also known as Castilian – is actually more widely spoken than English. In the Americas all countries from Mexico to the most southern parts speak Spanish as the official language with the exception of Brazil, which has adopted for Portuguese. Because of its popularity Spanish is known to borrow variety of words from other languages. Much like English, French and Portuguese, the Spanish taken to the Americas as well as Asia Pacific and Africa, with the expansion of the Spanish Empire. The expansion of language was at the peak of its push during the 15th and 19th centuries. Spanish is the second most spoken language in United States and is highly viewed with within the Commonwealth.

1- Chinese (Cantonese) 1,300,000,000

Number 1 on the top 10 spoken languages in the world seats Chinese with over a billion people speaking it. Although Chinese has many forms and varieties with Mandarin being the most popular (over 800 million), standard Chinese is officially spoken by most of the Chinese and is the official language of the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan as well as Singapore. Chinese is in itself is a language family and is also known to be sixth official language of the United Nations

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  • Sandeshrai90

    hey nice ha

  • Jua31

    That info is wrong, Mandarin is more popular than Cantonese.

  • Jaswsunny

    Mandarin is actually standard Chinese–the official language. Cantonese is mostly spoken in Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Macau.

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  • BL

    i was so surprised when i see they put cantonese on top of the list

  • Joe

    Correction: Portuguese is officially spoken in 6 African countries: Angola, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde, Sao Tome & Principe, Equatorial Guinea. Additionally, Portuguese is the official language of Portugal, Azores, Madeira, Brazil, East Timor, and Macau, China. And until 1965 Portuguese was also the official language of Goa, Daman and Diu in India. As a first language, Portuguese is spoken by 225 million, and is a lot more spoken as a first language than even French.

  • Tom

    Yes, you are absolutely correct Joe. Portuguese should actually be ranked in 5th, or at least in 6th position given the great number of people (225 million) who speak Portuguese as a 1st language.

  • ahmed

    Arabic is not 340 million is 452 million

  • JuneBug

    This is actually a list of native speakers – in other words, number of population in countries. The list of actual spoken, or popular languages is this …