The most spoken languages in the world

Curious about which languages are the most spoken in the world? Discover it in 2 minutes.

According to the Ethnologue, one of the most authoritative sources on world languages, there are more than 7000 languages in the world, and of those, only about 10% are most commonly used. If you are reading and understanding this article, you already speak the 3rd most spoken language in the world by number of native speakers, but not the 1st.

Due to China’s large population, Chinese Mandarin is currently the language spoken by the most native speakers in the world (917 million), while Spanish is second with 460 million. English ranks third with nearly 380 million. Below you can see the different circles representing the proportionate number of native speakers for each language.

It is also true that while Chinese is fairly concentrated in a few countries in Asia, Spanish and English spread more throughout the world. This wider spread of Spanish and English is mainly due to Spanish and British colonialism between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. Just think of all the American series or the recent boom of Latin American songs around the world.

This is not to say that people whose first language is Chinese, English, or Spanish should not learn another language. As the famous Italian film director Federico Fellini said, “A different language is a different vision of life”, meaning that learning a new language gives you the opportunity to open a new window onto a culture you didn’t know before.

“A different language is a different vision of life.”

Federico Fellini

So, as a final thought, always be open to learning a new word in a new language and you will discover the beauty of our diverse and unique world 🌎


Source: Ethnologue

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