Most Spoken Languages By Number Of Native Speakers

Batul Nafisa Baxamusa May 9, 2019
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English, a universal language, is kind of a magpie language that has been influenced by different languages and cultures it came in contact with. Many other languages than English are widely spoken around the world. Most of the native speakers are multilingual, making the probability of people speaking the other languages quite high.
So, this makes us wonder about the most widely spoken languages in the world. The answer is quite astounding based on the total number of speakers, geographic locations, and the reason why the language is so important to the world.

1. Mandarin Chinese

Around 1.2 billion people (about 16% of the world's population) speak some variety of Chinese language as their first language. Around 960 million people out of it speak Southwestern Mandarin making it the most widely spoken language.

2. Spanish

Thinking of learning a foreign language? Then Spanish is an easier option as compared to Chinese.
There are between 470 to 500 million speakers of Spanish in the world. While it is the official language in Spain, Equatorial Guinea, and 19 countries in the Americas, it also is one of the six official languages of United Nations and the most common language spoken in the U.S.

3. English

English is one of the most widely spoken languages.
There are about 360 million people who speak English as their first language and more than half a billion people speak English as their second language.

4. Hindi

One of the official languages of India - the world’s largest democracy, Hindi is spoken by around 322 million native speakers.
It is widely spoken also in India's neighboring countries such as Pakistan in form of Urdu. Thanks to Bollywood and the geographical influences, Hindi is also spoken and understood by many from Bangladesh, Nepal, as well as Bhutan.

5. Arabic

There are around 422 million speakers.
Just like Chinese, there are many Arabic dialects or varieties which are all grouped under Arabic. Thus, among the 422 million speakers, about 310 million are native Arabic speakers.

It is definitely spoken worldwide. In terms of vocabulary, it has influenced most of the European languages among which Spanish is the most influenced one.

6. Malay

There are about 281 million Indonesian speakers in the world, out of which 77 million are native speakers.
Malay is the official language of Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia. While people of Singapore and Brunei call it 'Bahasa Melayu', people of Indonesia call it 'Bahasa Indonesia' and people of Malaysia call it 'Bahasa Malyasia'.

7. Portuguese

There are over 215 million native speakers of Portuguese in Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Goa, etc.
The global spread of Portuguese language is the result of Portuguese traders and conquerors established across the world during 15th century.

8. Bengali

Bengali is another widely spoken language of the Indian sub-continent.
Also known as Bangla, Bengali language is spoken by about 260 million native speakers. It is widely spoken in India, Bangladesh and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as well.

9. Russian

Russian is yet another the most widely spoken language in the world with 150 million native speakers.
However, the number of speakers is decreasing gradually after the breaking up of the Soviet Union and the rise of other languages in the newly formed nations.

10. French

Over 275 million people around the world speak French, out of which about 76 million are native speakers.
It is the official language of 29 countries. It is widely spoken in France, Canada, Belgium, some parts of Switzerland and a few other regions.
These were some of the most widely spoken languages. If you want to learn a new language, you could try learning any of these widely spoken languages.

By the way, did you find a language you can speak, apart from English, in this list of most spoken languages in the world?