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What are Facts About the World’s Most Spoken Language?

What are Facts About the World’s Most Spoken Language?  

Another snapshot of our wonderful talking world.


What is the world’s most spoken language? Here, let’s focus on the most widely spoken languages by number of native speakers.

  1. Mandarin Chinese (1197 million)
  2. Spanish (406 million)
  3. English (335 million)
  4. Hindi-Urdu (260 million)
  5. Arabic (223 million)
  6. Portuguese (202 million)
  7. Bengali (193 million)
  8. Russian (162 million)
  9. Japanese (122 million)
  10. Javanese  (84.3 million)

What is the world’s most spoken language by total speakers? This combines native speakers with non-native speakers.

  1.  English (1,000 million)
  2. Mandarin Chinese (1,000 million)
  3. Hindi/Urdu (900 million)
  4. Spanish (450 million)
  5. Russian/Belarusian (320 million)
  6. Arabic (250 million)

What is most widely spoken by number of countries/dependencies where the language has official or defacto status? Note that Arabic provides the greatest challenge because the spoken languages that fall under the umbrella of “Arabic” are not all mutually intelligible.  However, Standard Arabic is used as the written language in countries where dialects of Arabic are spoken

  1. English (101)
  2. Arabic (59)
  3. French (51)
  4. Spanish (31)
  5. Russian/Portuguese (11)

This list shows the influence of European Colonial histories on the world’s linguistic map.  Languages with a large number of native speakers like Japanese and Mandarin have not traveled far beyond Asia, unlike the West European languages that colonists spread to all corners of the earth.

Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercise.

Rerun from 09/25/2013 and 11/02/2016

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