How many people speak Chinese
These are the most widely spoken languages in the world
How many languages do you think there are in the world? 1000? 3000? 5371? It's a tough question, and there isn't an exact answer to it.
According to the current directory from Ethnologue, there are 6900 different languages worldwide. Incidentally, this also means that I can order my food in only 0.0006% of all world languages.
Of the almost 7000 languages, only 230 are spoken in Europe and more than 2000 of them in Asia. Papua New Guinea, a small country in Oceania with a population of more than 3.9 million, is home to an astonishing number of 830 different languages.
But we don't want to go through all 6,900 languages and where they are spoken everywhere. Instead, we want to focus more on which languages are spoken the most.
Many think it is English - as the language is the main language in the USA as well as in Great Britain, Canada, South Africa and Australia. And it's true that good English is important, but it's not the most widely spoken language in the world.
Why? Just read on and you'll find out which are the five most widely spoken languages in the world.
5. Arabic, more than 295 million native speakers
Arabic is the fifth most widely spoken language in the world. This language knows a large number of dialects, which are not always understood among each other. Classical Arabic is also the holy language of Islam and during prayers the Koran is only recited in Arabic.
4. Hindi, more than 310 million native speakers
Hindi is also one of the most widely spoken languages, and it is mainly spoken in India and Nepal. More than 100 million additional people speak a language related to Hindi.
3. English, more than 360 million native speakers
Even if this language only lands in third place, English is still the most influential language in the world (let's consider the glass half full) and most people speak English as a second, third or even fourth language.
2. Spanish, more than 523 million native speakers
And the silver medal goes to Spanish and the 30 countries where the language is spoken - including Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Peru. ¡Olé!
1. Most spoken language: Mandarin, more than 1 billion native speakers
We have a winner! The most widely spoken language in the world is clearly Chinese! Mandarin is part of the Chinese language family and is mainly spoken in China, Taiwan and Singapore - that is, by a whole Crowd of people.
Those high numbers can be hard to get into your head. Even if I add up all of my 400 Facebook friends and “offline friends”, I can't imagine what nearly a billion people, all of whom speak Mandarin, might look or sound like. This great infographic cleverly shows all languages in a really great way: as a big party!
If you're going to a party with 100 guests, 17 of them could discuss the fruit punch and snacks on offer in Chinese. Six people in attendance could chat through the DJ's playlist in Spanish, and five of the guests could chat in English while waiting in line for the bathroom. There would be four people who could compliment each other in Hindi for their dance moves and three of the partygoers could present their #partyselfies in Arabic.
Speaking of three, three visitors could discuss in Portuguese or Bengali why they did not make it into the top 5 most spoken languages in the world, while the two guests, who only speak Russian, admire the two native Japanese challenge a limbo competition.
The remaining 55 guests had no one to speak to in their native language, so they probably stare at their cell phones the whole time, eating cubes of cheese.
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