The most spoken languages in the world


Curious about which language is the most spoken in the world? Discover it in 2 minutes.

According the Ethnologue, one of the most authoritative resource on world languages, there are more than 7000 languages in the world, and of these only about the 10% are mostly 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, however it is not the 1st.

Due to the large population of China, Chinese Mandarin is currently the language spoken by the largest amount of native speakers in the world (917 millions), while at the second place we have Spanish, with 460 millions. English ranks at the third place with almost 380 millions.

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 quite concentrated in a fewer countries in Asia, Spanish and English result to be more spread around the world. This wider spread of Spanish and English is mainly due to the Spanish and British colonialism between the late 16th and early 18th centuries, but also due to the influence of the American and Latin cultures in the last century. Just think about all the American series or the recent boom of Latin songs around the world.

However, this doesn’t mean that people with Chinese, English or Spanish as mother tongue shouldn’t learn any other 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 will give you the opportunity to open a new window on a culture that you did not know before.

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

Federico Fellini

So, as a last thought, always be open to learn 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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