Every language is unique and it identifies and portrays different cultures. In everyday life, we need to communicate with each other to run a smooth functioning of life. Languages are indeed an integral part of humanity. If you ever wonder about how many languages in the world, here is your answer. 

Approximately there are 7,000 distinct languages that people speak around the globe.

According to scientists, these languages are not uniformly distributed in the world. Similar to how the variety of plant and animal species varies by location, so does the distribution of languages. Out of 6909 living languages in the world, 2197 are widespread in Asia while just 230 are what Europeans speak. Then there is an area like Papua New Guinea where around 3.9 million people speak over 830 languages. This is an example of regions that have high linguistic diversity in the world. It’s also stated that the people residing in the tropical regions of the world speak more languages than the people that reside in temperate areas.

Table of Content

  1. How Many Languages Are There In The World?
  2. Let’s Have a Look At the 20 Most Spoken Languages In The World [2024]
    1. English
    2. Mandarin Chinese
    3. Spanish
    4. French
    5. Portuguese
    6. Hindi
    7. Russian
    8. Bengali
    9. Arabic
    10. German
    11. Japanese
    12. Punjabi
    13. Swahili
    14. Javanese
    15. Turkish
    16. Korean
    17. Telugu
    18. Marathi
    19. Urdu
    20. Tamil
    21. Vietnamese

How Many Languages Are There In The World?

There are more than 7000 languages that people speak in the world. A few of the languages have become extinct and many others are obsolete too. Also a number of languages are the popular ones which are spoken quite a lot and then there are languages that come from the complex background and language families. 

As human beings, we cannot learn and retain all languages. Therefore, to communicate with the globalized world, we have to take the assistance of professional translation services. They can provide us with impeccable translation into the most spoken languages in the world.

Let’s Have a Look At the 20 Most Spoken Languages In The World [2024]

Most spoken languages in the world list 2023

1- English

English is from the family of West Germanic languages. It is the most spoken language in the world because it is the official language of six continents. English is also known as the magpie language because many loan words from other languages are part of it. Approximately, 1132 million people speak English. It is one of the most spoken languages on the earth. English is a global language. Therefore, people learn it as a secondary language. Parents from developing countries forced their children to learn the English language so that they pursue their careers in developed countries. It is a lingua franca because people speak this language widely on international platforms.

2- Mandarin Chinese

The main reason for Mandarin Chinese to be the most spoken language in the world is that it is the official language of the most populous country in the world, China. It is the second most spoken language in the world after English. Approximately, 1,1117 people speak this language. Many people are afraid of learning this language because Mandarin Chinese contains 50,000 different characters as compared to the English language’s 26-letter characters. But as Mandarin Chinese is the language of the next superpower of the world, therefore People are learning the Mandarin language. If you want to learn this most spoken language then you can learn 2,500 characters daily.

3- Spanish

Spanish is a beautiful romantic language. It originated from the Iberian Peninsula of Europe and people living in Spain and America speaks it widely. The largest Spanish-speaking community called Hispanics resides in the US. It is native to 537.9 million speakers and it is at 3rd number in the list of most spoken languages in the world. You can imagine the importance of the Spanish language in that it is the official language of 21 countries. The other name of the Spanish language is Castellano. Like other languages, the Spanish language has also taken loanwords from English like cava, tapas, tortilla, and siesta. Moreover, Spanish is not mutually intelligible with the English language. Many people consider Spanish difficult to learn because of the roller, complex conjugations, and gender. However, we still find several people learning Spanish.

4- French

French is known as a romance language. It originated from Latin and it is one of the most beautiful languages in the world. Approximately, 190 million People around the world speak French as a second language. Moreover, according to experts 274 million people in the world speak it as a first or a second language. Furthermore, 212 million people speak it daily. It is an official language in Europe and people living in North America, South America, Asia, French Polynesia, and Africa also speak the French language. The amazing thing about French popularity is that it is the official language of 29 countries. Moreover, 87 major international organizations use French as an official admirative language. According to the France Diplomatic website, due to the increasing French people’s birth rate, French will become the most spoken mother tongue in Europe till 2025.

5- Portuguese

Many people assume that Portuguese is the official language of Brazil and Portugal only. This is not true. Portuguese is also the official language of countries like Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Equatorial Guinea, Macau, Goa, and East Timor. Approximately, 270 million people speak this language. Portuguese is one of the 5th most spoken languages in the world according to the number of native speakers. Moreover, it is the second most Romance language in the world after Spanish. Portuguese is not the only popular language in non-Portuguese countries but it is also popular in non-Portuguese-speaking countries. The British council considers it one of the important languages for the UK’s future.

6- Hindi

The Hindi language is native to 260 million people. People mostly speak Hindi in India and Nepal. Approximately 120 million people in India use Hindi as a second language. In the 19th and early 20th century during the British rule on Indo-Pak, many people in the Hindi language gave many English loan words like avatar, coach, pajamas, shampoo, bungalow, and cheetah. When we talk about the Hindi language then a million-dollar Hindi cinema comes into our minds. Moreover, with the help of the Hindi language, you can explore a variety of different cultures. The origin of Hindi language is from Indo-European languages. It is mutually intelligible with Arabic and Urdu.

7- Russian

Russian is the official language of Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. Moreover, it is also an unofficial lingua franca in Soviet countries and Ukraine. As per Ethnology, 258 million people speak the Russian language There is a probability that this estimation is not true because the new generation is not speaking this language anymore. Approximately 153 million people are native to the Russian language. Moreover, there are 166 million native Russian speakers around the world which includes it in the list of most spoken languages around the world. Russia has 2.3 % of the global population. Therefore, this percentage of the population speaks it as a first language.

8- Bengali

The Bengali language is native to 228.3 million people. Moreover, 36.7 million people speak it as a second language. Globally, 265 million people speak this language around the world. It is known as Bangla and it is the official language of Bangladesh. Moreover, it is the second most language spoken in India after Hindi. Bengali is one of the most spoken languages in the world. This language gains popularity because of its language movements. Moreover, many people give their life for the sake of this language. Bangladesh, the name of the country is derived from this language. Bangladesh Has a very passionate and rich history and the Bengali language depicts it.

9- Arabic

Arabic is a very popular language. People around the world are speaking this language for many years. Arabic is originated from the Arabian Peninsula. At present, people living in North African countries and the Middle East are widely using this language. It is known as the language of Muslims because their holy book Quran is in the Arabic language. Approximately, 221 million people are native to the Arabic language. It is the official language of the United Nations and is a liturgical language of Muslims from all around the world. Arabic countries contain reserves of oil. Therefore, to get jobs in Arab countries, people learn this language. The interesting thing about the Arabic language is that the Spanish language has taken 4,000 loan words from the Arabic language.

10- German

German is the mother tongue of 130 million people worldwide. Therefore, it is the most spoken mother language. Moreover, it is the official language of countries like Germany, Belgium, Austria, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland. Furthermore, 7.5 million people residing in 42 countries depict the German-speaking minority. German is associated with French and its popularity has made it the second most learned language in the European Union. German is known as a language of innovators and it plays a significant role in the world, especially in Europe. The German language contains 5.3 million words. Therefore, it contains eight times more words than the English language.

11- Japanese

Japanese is the official language of only Japan but this does not mean it is not widely spoken. Approximately, 124 million people in Japan speak the Japanese language. Moreover, people residing in the Republic of Palau The island state of Angara and the Okinawa Island group speak this language. The Chinese language is close to the Japanese language, which is why Kanji characters are used in Japanese. According to the data of Ethnology, Japanese is the ninth most spoken language around the world with 124 million people living in Japan and 121,500 people living in other regions. Modern Japanese has taken many loanwords from other foreign languages.

12- Punjabi

Approximately, 100 million people around the world speak the Punjabi language. Therefore, it is the 10th most spoken native language. Like German, Korean, and French, many people speak Punjabi as their mother tongue. Most of the Punjabi speakers reside in India and Pakistan. Punjabi is one of the languages which are included in the 22 listed languages in India. Moreover, it is the official language in Delhi. When we talk about the UK and Canada, it is the third most spoken language in the UK whereas it is the fourth most spoken language in Canada. Moreover, in the USA it is listed in the top 15 non-English languages that people speak in Indiana, California, Washington, and Mississippi. Punjab in Indo-Pak represents the land of five rivers. Therefore, Punjabi depicts the rich heritage of Punjab.

13- Swahili

The other name of this language is Kiswahili. Swahili is from the group of Bantu language family. This family is from the Niger-Congo branch of languages. It is one of the macro languages containing many dialects that are very close to each other. Approximately 16 million people throughout The world speak this language. Moreover, 90 million speakers speak it as a second language. It is the lingua franca in the African Great Lakes region and the regions of south-eastern and eastern Africa. People living in Africa widely use this language in trade and commerce.

14- Javanese

Javanese is from a group of Malaya-Polynesian, which is a branch of Austronesian languages. It is closely related to Bali, Madura, Sunda, and Malay. After the Indonesian language, it is the second most spoken Austronesian language. Moreover, it is listed as the fourteenth number in the most spoken language in the world. It is one of the classic languages of the world and its history dates back thousands of years. 68 million people in Suriname and Indonesia speak this language. Java is the most populated island in the world. Therefore,124 million people Javanese language.

15- Turkish

The Turkish language is known as the language of the Ottoman Empire. Around 58 to 88 million people around the globe speak this language. It is the official language of Turkey. Moreover, Turkish speakers are also present in Syria, Germany, Iraq, Austria, and North Macedonia. Also, people living in Bulgaria, Greece, Northern Cyprus, and the Caucasus speak this language. Cyprus has requested European Union to include this language as an official language of the European Union although Turkey is not a member of the European Union.

16- Korean

According to the National Institute of Korean Language, Korean is ranked 13th in the number of speakers. Moreover, according to the results from Ethnologue, the number of Korean speakers came to 13th from 18th. Korean is the most spoken language in the world because 77.2 million people across 5 continents speak this language.

17- Telugu

People living in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana speak the Telugu language which is the official language in these states. It is from the family of Dravidian languages. People living in Northern Sri Lanka and Southern India speak this language. It is India’s third most spoken language. Therefore, it has over 75 million total native speakers. Telugu is the classical language of the government of India. Moreover, it is ranked fourth number with respect to the number of native speakers. In the United States, it is the fastest-growing language and a large Telugu-speaking community resides there.

18- Marathi

Marathi is the official language of one of the states of Western India, Maharashtra. Moreover, it is also the official language of Goa. Government and semi-government organizations in India speak this language. Approximately 73 million people speak it as a native language. Moreover, 12.2 million people speak it as a second language. Although people speak the Marathi language widely comparatively it has fewer speakers than other languages.

19- Urdu

Urdu is the official language of Pakistan and people living in India also speak this language. Urdu is similar to the Hindi language. People that speak Urdu can easily understand the Hindi language. There are approximately 170.2 million people in the world that can speak this language. Many people that migrated to the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia also speak this language. Other languages like Punjabi, Turkish, Persian and Arabic have greatly influenced this language. The Urdu language is very popular in Indo-Pak.

20- Tamil

Another language that people speak widely around the world is Tamil. People living in Southern India, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Fiji, and Malaysia speak this language. Approximately, 74 million people in the world speak this language. In India, it is the official language of the state of Tamil Nadu and the region of Puducherry. In 2004, the Tamil language was given the status of classical language because it is an old language, possesses ancient literature, and depicts individual traditions.

21- Vietnamese

Vietnamese is the national language of Vietnam. More than 100 million people speak this language. It’s among the five most widely spoken languages in the United States. The language also has a strong presence throughout Europe, North America, Australia, and Asia. An interesting thing about Vietnamese is that it is a tonal language. This means that words with different tonal inflections have different meanings in Vietnamese.


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