What Are the Most Spoken Languages in the World?

Most Spoken languages of the World?To many people it may seem that English is the most widely spoken language in the world, this is sort of true to the extent that it is the most popular secondary language, it is after all the official language of the Business World as well as the language used in international relations. There are many languages out there which are more widely spoken than  English and in this article I am going to discuss a few of them.

What Are the Most Spoken Languages in the World? The answer to this question is a rather complex one. The problem is that there are many dialects of various languages; in fact European Spanish is totally different to South American Spanish although this quite often comes under the heading of being the same language as they are able to understand each other. Further confusion also arises as the statistics that researchers have come out with varies wildly from study to study. For example in many studies the ‘Hindi’ Language is one of the most spoken languages in the world, but in some studies it is ranked as 5th or 6th. The most widely accepted accurate list comes from SIL Ethnologue which contains statistics of all the languages of the world. This is the list they have for the top 10 most widely spoken languages:

  1. Mandarin
  2. Spanish
  3. English
  4. Hindi-Urdu
  5. Arabic
  6. Bengali
  7. Portuguese
  8. Russian
  9. Japanese
  10. Punjabi

Each of these languages have over one hundred million native speakers. For some reason only one of these languages is widely taught in English Schools, this language being Spanish, although the reasons for this is out of the scope of this article. Many of these languages are so widely spoken due to the European Settlement of the Americas, which is where the majority of Spanish and Portuguese Speakers can be found. Interestingly the most popular language; Mandarin is only widely spoken in one country in the world, that of course being China, this due to the huge area of the country as well as high population. If  I was going to learn a Language from this list then I would choose Spanish as it is spoken in numerous places in the world and it’s also an incredibly beautiful language.

Internet is a huge place, although we tend to only find websites that are written in English. However there is a wealth of information out there that is not written in the language that we speak. In the past we would have had to either hire a translator which is expensive or just give the information a skip.  However, in the era of  internet there is a wealth of translation tools that we have at our disposal and we can covert a document into our own language, which of course has made information sharing much more global. The only problem is that many of these translation machines are not always accurate due to differing grammatical structures, but there are plenty of places we can turn to for translation help including Internet Forums and Yahoo Answers.

English may be the language for communicating on the internet for the most popular websites, although it should be remembered that internet is incredibly global. Translation Tools nowadays make the process of learning a language simple, in fact many of them will also tell you how the word is meant to sound. They also enable us to communicate with people who do not have English as their primary language, although they are of course no substitute for learning a new language.

 

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15 Responses to What Are the Most Spoken Languages in the World?

  1. Brandon says:

    Wow, I had no idea Spanish would come out so high on this list. I am looking to employ a document translation service to handle our overseas business and documentation, but working out of Southern California means I already have a handful of employees that can translate the 2nd most spoken language in the world! That is great news, it should save us a lot of money in the future.

  2. Luan says:

    The Portuguese language is fast-growing too. This list is wrong. In various other lists, Portuguese is 5th, in others 6th. In these cases is acceptable, because it’s true. In USA, for exemple, Portuguese is largely studied, in common schools and Universities. The same happen in England. It’s happening because the Brazilian economical-boom, and her strong govern.

  3. Iina on Multilizer Translation Blog says:

    Thank you Luan for your comment! I think you have a point. Portuguese is a very, very popular language. Maybe the differences between these kinds of listings can be found in the definition of Portuguese. Some data handles for example Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese separately. Together they truly are big, like you said.

  4. Joao says:

    Portuguese and Spanish will’ve in a near future much more importance that they actually do right now. Spain, Portugal but much more relevant in the cases of the ‘new’ growing countries like Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Angola,etc, will expand the study of these two languages around the world.

  5. KC Bird says:

    Los invito a todos ustedes a la http://www.lingohut.com sitio web. Usted puede aprender idiomas sin costo. Visite hoy para ver lo divertido que es aprender un nuevo idioma gratis. Usted puede aprender portugués, chino, holandés, alemán, italiano, Inglés y Francés. Iremos añadiendo nuevos idiomas en el futuro cercano

  6. Et le Français? Vous l’avez oublier peux-être? C’est la 5ème langue la plus parlée au monde. Dans certains cas on la même vue en 2ème place après l’anglais. Et les 500 MILLIONS de locuteurs qui le parle, il son imaginaire peur-être?

  7. Iina on Multilizer Translation Blog says:

    Thank you Jérémie Selmeci for a good comment. It is true that French is also spoken a LOT, but still it isn’t in the list. I think the case is similar to the one with Portuguese (see Luan’s comment). Maybe all the speakers of the different French dialects are not calculated together in this listing.

    If interested the used methodology and the updated list are available here: http://www.ethnologue.com/ethno_docs/distribution.asp?by=size

  8. dan says:

    Where is french?

  9. yes acho língua portuguesa bem linda

  10. Stephane says:

    Non desoler mais le francais ne fais pas partis des 10 langues …

  11. Karl says:

    You are mistaking the meaning of “widely” spoken with “most spoken” here. I see a lot of people making this mistake. English in-fact is still the most widely spoken language on the planet, not according to population but by SPREAD and INFLUENCE across international borders, communication and in Business and Education. To re-iterate with some examples, English is present in the UK, Canada, America, Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand and is the ‘subsidiary official language’ in India, which many will not actually believe, there are over 80 states in which English is official language too.

    As far as your list is concerned, which is about population, it is wholly correct. But English is still the most widely spoken, even in 2013.

  12. luis sousa says:

    o karl essa filosufia a respeito do inglês não vale nada o que aqui esta em causa é em termos de numeros de falantes na lingua mãe e ai o inglês deixa muito a desejar e a qualificação esta mais que correta por muito que lhe custe tem que ter calma porque a sua lingua já conheceu melhores dias

  13. fatma says:

    a mon opinion la langue francaise est tres poublaire car il y a beaucoup de genes la parlee par exemlpe < moi , je parle la francais , arabe et anglais en plus j'aime bien la france

  14. احمد says:

    اللغه العربيه نعم هنالك الكثير من المتحدثين بهاا

  15. فضل زليل says:

    Arabic

    يوجد ملايين الناس تتحدث اللغة العربية

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