Posts

Search This Page

Thursday, February 29, 2024

English

Ranked: The Top Languages Spoken in the World

The top languages spoken in the world reflect economic trends, populated countries, and even colonial history.

Here are the most spoken languages around the world as of 2023. These figures come from Ethnologue, which publishes a list of the largest languages every year.

The 12 Most Spoken Languages on Earth

English was born in the United Kingdom but today belongs to the modern world as the main international language of business and politics.

That’s why it’s not very surprising to find English as the world’s most spoken language, with 1.5 billion speakers as of 2023.

RankLanguage# of Speakers (2023)
1English1,500,000,000
2Mandarin1,100,000,000
3Hindi609,500,000
4Spanish559,100,000
5French309,800,000
6Standard Arabic274,000,000
7Bengali272,800,000
8Portuguese263,600,000
9Russian255,000,000
10Urdu231,700,000
11Indonesian199,100,000
12German133,200,000

In second place is Mandarin, the most spoken Chinese language dialect with 1.1 billion speakers. Originating in North China, it has become the most spoken language in China and Taiwan, as well as having millions of speakers spread across Southeast Asia and the world.

India is also represented in this ranking, but despite being the world’s most populated country, its speakers are spread out over multiple different languages. Hindi is the main language spoken in North India and an official language of the government, but other languages like Bengali are widely spoken in other regions, in this case in East India (and neighboring Bangladesh).

It’s also notable how languages from former colonial powers—like English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese—all have hundreds of millions of speakers, despite their mother countries accounting for a fraction of that total.

 

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." - John Quincy Adams