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.
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.