The World’s Most Common Languages

There are thousands of languages spoke all over the world, many more than you would believe in fact. However, the vast majority of these have very few speakers and are dying out. In the modern age, everyone is connected and the world’s biggest languages are the ones that everyone wants to learn, the ones that everyone wants to speak. Because of this, there is little interest in “niche” languages and they are dying out.

Britain is a great example of this. It is a tiny island and one where English dominates in many different dialects. However, there are many smaller languages such as Welsh, Gallic and even Cornish, all of which are spoken by very few people. The older generations try to teach these languages to the newer generations who speak English as a first language, but they are simply not interested. This is repeated all over, and it seems likely that in a few years the world’s biggest languages will become even more dominant than they already are.

10. Punjabi

This is one of the fastest growing languages in the world. It recently made its way onto this list and it seems inevitable that it will climb even higher in years to come, as the population of India and Pakistan grows.

9. Japanese

There are 125 million speakers of Japanese, with only 1 million of those living outside of Japan. Japanese is not an easy language to learn and although Japan do business with many other countries, they are usually ones learning English, Spanish and other languages in order to communicate, as opposed to expecting others to learn Japanese.

8. Russian

Russia is vast, but a lot of the country is empty, devoid of life. There are still over 150 million speakers of this language though.

7. Bengali

As the second most popular language in India, spoken throughout India and Bangladesh, Bengali has over 200 million speakers around the world, most of which live on the subcontinent.

6. Portuguese

The Portuguese used to own vast portions of the world, and that influence remains to this day. As well as being spoken in Portugal, it is also the official language of Brazil (where most of the speakers live) and some North African countries.

5. Arabic

There are close to 300 million speakers of Arabic around the world. It is the official language of the Muslim world and as Arabic armies swept through large parts of Spain in the past, its history, culture and its language is also intertwined with the Spanish one.

4. Hindu/Urdu

The most common language in India, there are over 300 million speakers of Hindu and Urdu. These two languages are not the same, but they are very close and often go hand in hand.

3. English

English is spoken by around 360 million people. It originated in England and thanks to the British Empire and their occupation of countries such as the US, Australia and large parts of Africa, it is widespread. It is also the world’s most common second language and is spoken by more people in this way than any other language.

2. Spanish

Like the Portuguese and the British, the Spanish owned large parts of the globe in antiquity, and their language spread as a result. As well as being spoken in Spain, it is also spoken in large parts of South America and Central America.

1. Mandarin

Spoken by close to a billion people, there are more people speaking Mandarin than any other language. The majority of those speak it as a first language and live in China, but it is becoming increasingly popular as a second language elsewhere.

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