The most widely spoken language on the planet
was born in the most populated country. It is spoken by over 1 billion people
around the world. Learning Mandarin can be really tough, because each word can
be pronounced in four ways (or 'tones'), and a beginner will invariably have
trouble distinguishing one tone from another.
Although English isn’t the most spoken language
in the world, it is the official language of more countries than any other
language. It is spoken by approximately 508 million people. Its speakers hail
from all around the world, including New Zealand, the US, Australia, the UK,
Ireland, Zimbabwe, the Caribbean, Hong Kong, South Africa, and Canada. It can
be said that English is the most popular language in the world.
Hindustani is the primary language of India’s
crowded populace. It contains a huge number of dialects, of which the most
commonly spoken is Hindi. While most people predict that India’s population
will soon surpass China’s, the importance of English in India prevents
Hindustani from surpassing the most popular language in the world. It’s spoken
by around 497 million people.
Spanish is spoken widely in just about every
South & Central American country, not to mention Spain, Cuba, and the U.S.
There is a particular interest in Spanish in the US as many English words are
borrowed from the language, including: tornado, bonanza, patio, quesadilla,
enchilada, and taco grande supreme! To reach fourth place, the language is
spoken by 392 million people around the world.
Russian is spoken in the not only mother land,
but also in Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, and it’s considered an
unofficial lingua franca in Ukraine and many former Soviet countries. There’s also a notable
contingent of Russian-speakers in Cyprus, Finland, Hungary, Mongolia, Poland,
China, the U.S. and Israel. Altogether, it is spoken by more than 275 million
Arabic, one of the oldest languages, is widely
spoken in the Middle East. Furthermore, because Arabic is the language of the
Koran, millions of Muslims in other countries speak Arabic as well. Globally it
is spoken by about 246 million people.
In Bangladesh, a country of 120+ million people
surrounded completely by India, just about everybody speaks Bengali. The
population is growing so fast that the number of Bengali speakers in the world
is much higher than most people would expect. The estimated number of speakers
is around 211 million.
After gaining independence from Spain, Portugal
got in early on the exploring game, so their language established itself all
over the world, especially in Brazil (where it’s the national language), Macau,
Angola, Venezuela, and Mozambique. Thanks to this expansion, now over 190
million people speak Portuguese around the world.
Malay-Indonesian is spoken in Malaysia and
Indonesia. Actually, numbers on this one is combined because there are many
dialects of Malay, the most popular of which is Indonesian. But they’re all
pretty much based on the same root language, which makes it the ninth most
spoken language in the world with 159 million speakers.
Often called the most romantic language in the
world, French is spoken in tons of countries besides France, including Belgium,
Canada, Rwanda, Cameroon, and Haiti. More than 129 million people around the
world speak this language.