Here are the most spoken languages in the world


Here are the most spoken languages in the world as measured by the number of most primary speakers.


1) Chinese

Total speakers: 1.2 billion. (All dialects)
Primary country: China.
Spoken in: 38 countries.



2) Spanish

Total speakers: 442 million
Primary country: Spain.
Spoken in: 31 countries.

Spanish is widely spoken and understood in South America and the US. It spread to South America due to Spanish colonialism and US due to immigration.



3) English

Total speakers: 378 million.
Primary country: United Kingdom.
Spoken in: 118 countries

English was spread across the world by the British Empire. Moreover, due to the USA achieving super power status after the end of the second world war, the language was adopted by international organisations and large multinational companies. USA’s cultural reach and technological breakthroughs such as the world wide web and computers also played a critical role in spread of English.
Today the language is considered a symbol of globalisation, spoken in every corner of the world.



4) Arabic

Total speakers: 315 million
Primary country: Saudi Arabia
Spoken in: 58 countries

The Arabic language is predominantly spoken in countries situated in the Middle-East and Northern Africa. The language spread from the 7th century onwards due to the expansion of the Arab Empire and the spread of Islam.



5) Hindi

Total speakers: 260 million
Primary country: India
Spoken in: Four countries

The language is primarily spoken in South Asia.


6) Bengali

Total speakers: 243 million.
Primary country: Bangladesh.
Spoken in: Four countries.


7) Portuguese

Total speakers: 223 million
Primary country: Portugal
Spoken in: 15 countries

Like its Spanish counterpart, the Portuguese language was also spread by the Portuguese Empire. It is widely spoken and understood in South America, and parts of Africa.



8) Russian

Total speakers: 154 million
Primary country: Russian Federation
Spoken in: 18 countries

The language is spoken in Russia, Eastern Europe and former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) countries in Central Asia.


9) Japanese


Total speakers: 128 million
Primary country: Japan
Spoken in: Two countries


10) Western Punjabi (Lahndi)

Total speakers: 119 million
Primary country: Pakistan
Spoken in: Six countries

The Lahndi group of dialects is considered by linguists to be consisting of dialects of Punjabi language spoken in the western districts of Pakistan’s Punjab province. It was first identified by Irish linguist Sir George Grierson and has been controversial since. Hindko, Saraiki, Jakati, Khetrani and Pahari-Potwari are part of Lahndi.


Notable mention:

18)  Urdu

Total speakers: 69.2 million
Primary country: Pakistan
Spoken in: seven countries



Data Source


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