Since we like languages and statistics so much, we decided to combine the two to make a list of the 10 most widely spoken languages worldwide. Contrary to popular belief, despite the fact that English is spoken all over the world, it is not, nor does it come close to being, the most widely spoken language. So, with the invaluable help of Postchronicle, which in turn has drawn information from the CIA’s World Factbook and Wikipedia, we have compiled a list of the 10 most widely spoken languages in the world in terms of the number of speakers.
- Chinese (Mandarin): no less than 1,365,000,000 people!
- Spanish: between 325 and 500 million speakers – it is known as Castilian. It is a Romance language that evolved from several languages and dialects in the north central region of the Iberian peninsula during the ninth century. It is spoken in 21 countries.
- English: Between 309 and 400 million people speak it natively, and between 500 million and 1.8 billion people speak it as a second language.
- Arabic: between 206 and 422 million speakers
- Hindi: 181 million speakers
- Portuguese: 178 million speakers
- Bengali: 173 million speakers
- Russian: 164 million speakers
- Japanese: 128 million speakers
- 10. German: 96 million speakers
Do any of the languages included in this list surprise you? You weren’t expecting to see some of these languages included, were you? In 20 years, which language do you think will be the most widely spoken? Which language do you think will disappear? We at SeproTec are particularly surprised that French does not appear on this list. Although, having said that, it must be taken into account that the list is based on the various languages’ number of native speakers. In this case, French has 69 million native speakers and 152.8 million non-native speakers. Place your bets…