The Most Spoken Languages in the World

The Most Spoken Languages in the World

Content most spoken languages

Most Spoken Languages Worldwide and Popular Language Groups

There are thousands of languages in the world, but which one is the most popular language? Speaking the same language does not only allow people to interact but also share their life's experiences, knowledge, express their emotions and introduce one another to a different culture. Some dialects became the most popular languages over time because people have been passionate about learning foreign tongues for centuries! 


Nowadays, learning is easiest it's ever been – we have many helpful tools at our disposal, but even back in the day people invested their time and energy learning foreign languages. Some languages ended up being more favored than others. Care to discover what’s the most spoken language in the world? Let’s find out! 


List of Most Popular Languages

10. French (150 million users). French takes last place among the most popular languages to learn. It’s spoken in 53 countries. French is official for many international organizations like European Union. 


9. Indonesian (200 ml). Indonesian is spoken in 16 countries, including Indonesia, being the most common dialect of Malay. 


8. Portuguese (240 ml). Portuguese is spoken in 12 countries around the globe. 


7. Bengali (250 ml). Bengali is spoken within Bangladesh, some India states. Bengali is official tongue of Bangladesh, also second most popular in India. 


6. Russian (260 ml). It’s spoken in 17 countries. Russian is official in Russia, Belarus Kazakhstan, etc. It’s among six tongues spoken in UNO, most-spoken Slavic tongue worldwide. 


5. Arabic (267 ml). Arabic is spoken in 58 countries. Largest number of Arabic speakers is concentrated in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Syria. Spread of tongue is facilitated by popularity of Koran and Islam. If you require translations from or to this tongue for study, work, or travel, check out these top Arabic translation companies for immaculate results. 


4. Spanish (427 ml). Spanish is spoken in 31 countries. It’s official UNO, EU, Union of South American Nations. 


3. Hindi (490 ml). Hindi can be heard in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan. Many predict that Hindi will soon become the most spoken tongue in the world, even overtake Chinese.


2. English (1,26 billion speakers). Runner-up world's most spoken language in the world is used among 106 countries. English is a primary tongue in UK and US, being official for 55 countries. 


1. Chinese (1.3 billion native speakers). Is English the most spoken language? No! It’s Chinese. It’s official in China, Singapore. Chinese is considered the most difficult tongue and among UNO’s six official tongues. That’s why Chinese translation is often required for business, but due to its difficulty, we advise getting professional help with translations. Not to worry, there are many great Chinese translation companies to help you out. To conclude, Chinese officially takes the cake as the most spoken language in the world!


Development of the Most Spoken Language іn the World 

Language is a sign system developed for communication. It contains phonetic, lexical, grammatical norms, serves for expression of thoughts, feelings, and helps with manifestations, serves as primary mean of interaction between people. Languages’ development is inseparably connected and intertwined with human development, creation, evolution of groups and collectives – tongue being an organic social phenomenon. It goes together with thinking since both are co-dependent and mutually stimulating. Learning foreign tongues was driven by people's need to travel for business and trade. That influenced emergence of most spoken language in world.


Ability to use a tongue is among main features that distinguish a human in animal world. One should remember that languages did not appear out of the blue or overnight – it took a considerable time for our ancestors to build and master art of speech and develop a language. Also, dialects strongly correlate with culture. Having originated from a specific region, each language was shaped under influence of local culture and traditions. Even now dialects keep changing along with world around us.

Find out more: Pick the best Russian translation service to get a translation of your documents quickly and correctly.


Origin of Most Common Languages 

All languages that we love and use now belong to their specific language families. Tongues within a single-family evolved from a common ancestral language, therefore have distinct similarities in their vocabulary as well as structure. 


Forming of families, which contain most common world languages, and their distinction from one another lasted centuries and gets associated with mankind’s settlement. Dialects with most common features are found, as a rule, among people that have a common origin and those who took residence on neighboring territories. 


Qualitative changes have occurred due to the geographical isolation of their carriers. Severe and prolonged geographical isolation led to emergence of new tongues or local dialects. Contacts between representatives of different linguistic families contribute to numerous borrowings between dialects and bilingualism.

Most Widely Spoken Languages within Language Families 

1. Indo-Europian 


Includes approximately 150 dialects with 1 billion speakers. If you wonder what language is used the most within this family, answer is as follows: most popular are Hindi and Urdu, Bengali, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Russian, and English. These are used by 45% of world’s population and are often required if you want to apply for immigration. Remember that most VISA and immigration documentation must be submitted with certified translations, so better contact certified USCIS translation services rather than attempting translating on your own. 


2. Sino-Tibetan 


This family includes about 250 lingos, among which Standard Chinese (Mandarin) is the most spoken language – used by 1 billion people! 


3. Afro-Asiatic


Large linguistic group containing 240 tongues spoken by 250 million humans. It includes Ancient Egyptian, Hebrew, Aramaic, Nigerian Hausa. Some Arabic dialects are used by approximately 200 million people.

4. Austronesian


This family includes 1000 different dialects, which are spoken by 250 million people. Malay and Indonesian are spoken by approximately 140 million people. Other dialects in this family include Madagascar, Africa, Tagalog, the Philippines, Aboriginal tongues of Formosa (Taiwan), now almost superseded by Chines, along with many dialects of Pacific Islands, from Hawaiian, Pacific North to Maori, New Zealand.


5. Japonic


Counts merely two main lingos – Japanese and Ryukyuan, which are, however, used by over 140 million – about 2.5% of world’s entire population. These tongues are spoken on Japanese archipelago and Ryukyu Islands. Japanese is often required if you want to do business abroad. But you don’t need to bury yourself in books just yet – best business translation services will do your translation in no time. 


6. Niger-Congo


This largest sub-Saharan African family contains about 1,400 tongues and counts up to 200 million speakers. Most common African languages that are popular for this group include Mandinka, Shona, Swahili, Yoruba, Zulu.


7. Dravidian


These are the ancient Indian tongues, there are about 25, yet, surprisingly, the number of speakers equals about 150 million. People still use it for communication nowadays. Most spoken tongues of this family are Tamil and Telugu. 


8. Turkic


Family spread from Turkey in the west to Xinjiang in the east, as well as from the coast of East Siberian Sea in the north to Khorasan in the south. Most popular spoken languages are Turkish, Azerbaijani, Uzbek. Spoken in most states of former USSR, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Mongolia, China, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania. At present, total number of Turkic speakers equals about 120 million. Turkic family is part of Altai family. 


9. Koreanic


What is the most commonly spoken language within Koreanic group? Korean family is represented by Korean – an isolated tongue that’s sometimes placed within Altai family. Used by 78 million humans, which is about 1.4% of world’s population.


10.  Kra-dai


Widespread in Mainland Southeast Asia and in adjacent regions of southern China. Main tongues within this group are Thai and Lao. They are used by over 90 million people – about 1.15%. 


11. Uralic


This family includes 20 dialects with over 20 million speakers. Most famous are Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian, Sami that belong to Laplanders’ languages. 

Read also: Choose the best Hebrew translation service if you need to translate your business documents.


Learning is Essential

So, what language is spoken the most? There are many, indeed! We believe it's important to mention that different linguists have varying opinions over structure of existing families, so you may encounter diverse information on the matter. However, most specialists are consistent with their determination of main families. Due to abundance of dialects worldwide, there is no surprise that people often rely on professional translation agencies. Give best translation services reviews a good read if you shall ever require their services – it's easy to get confused by number of online offers nowadays. 


When you think about it, it is most peculiar as well as wonderful how people seem to find common ground and means to communicate, even despite linguistic barriers set upon us by geography or history. Despite our differences, we humans refuse to limit ourselves to languages that we were exposed to from birth. On the contrary, we seek new knowledge and do not shy away from challenging task of learning foreign tongues. This is a positive side of humanity we should take inspiration from!

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