Most spoken languages in the world and interesting linguistic statistics
There are currently 6,912 living languages in the world, with over 500 that are close to extinction. Language in numbers is an insightful infographic curated by folks at Custom-Writing covering some intriguing facts and statistics surrounding not only the most spoken languages in the world but also most studied and used ones.
The infographic can be segregated into multiple individual sections if you are looking for bitesize information, each of which presenting an insight into a separate category of linguistic statistics. The notable sections of the infographic are as follows:
- Top 10 most spoken languages in the world
- Major language families of the world
- Top 10 languages used online
- Top 10 content languages used online
- Most studied foreign languages in Europe
- Foreign languages studied in Europe
Let’s take a look at each section in detail.
Top 10 most spoken languages in the world by native speakers
The top 10 most spoken languages in the world by native speakers are as follows:
Lahnda, also known as Lahndi or Western Punjabi, is a language spoken primarily in Pakistan, with 119 million current speakers. There are currently 6 countries with Lahnda speakers.
Japanese, spoken primarily in Japan, has nearly 128 million speakers in over two countries.
Russian is the largest native language in Europe, with roughly 154 million speakers worldwide. It is spoken in 19 countries, primarily the Russian Federation.
Portuguese is spoken in a total of 13 countries worldwide, with 219 million speakers. It is predominantly spoken in Portugal.
Bengali is an Indo-Aryan language spoken mainly in Bangladesh. It has a total of 242 million speakers, with 4 countries speaking this language.
Hindi, also an Indo-Aryan language, is spoken mainly in India. It is spoken in 5 countries and has 260 million speakers worldwide.
Arabic is the liturgical language of 1.8 billion Muslims but spoken fluently by 295 million people worldwide. It is spoken in 57 countries, primarily Saudi Arabia and neighboring gulf counteries.
One might think that English is the most spoken language in the world. Well, it is quite true when we consider it by the total number of English language speakers worldwide. About a billion people speak English language globally but only 33% consider it as their native language. Therefore, when we talk about the most spoken language in the world by native speakers, then English falls to third place with 372 million native speakers in over 106 countries. The United Kingdom is its primary country.
Spanish, also called Español or Castellano, has a total number of 437 million speakers in 31 countries. It is mainly spoken in Spain and Latin America.
Chinese, specifically Mandarin Chinese, is the most spoken native language in the world. Primarily spoken in China, Chinese has 1.284 billion speakers worldwide. It is spoken in 37 countries.
World’s Major Language Families
There are a total of 142 language families in the world, but the following six language families are particularly notable as each of them makes up at least 5% of the world’s languages and together makeup two-third of all languages. These six language families are:
6. Trans-New Guinea Family
Trans-New Guinea family is found in New Guinea and its neighboring islands and has 3 million speakers. It consists of 478 living languages, but little is known about this family’s history.
5. Austronesian Family
This family has 325 million speakers and consists of 1224 living languages, including Malay, Javanese, and Tagalog.
4. Afro-Asiatic Family
Afro-Asiatic family, also known as the Afrasian family, has 366 living languages that are spoken mainly in Western Asia. It has 445 million speakers, the majority of them being Arabic speakers.
3. Niger-Congo Family
The Niger-Congo family of languages is spoken in Africa, having 459 million speakers. It is the world’s largest language family according to the number of distinct languages. It consists of 1562 languages, including Swahili.
2. Sino-Tibetan Family
This family has roughly 452 living languages and 1.355 billion speakers, the majority of them being Chinese speakers.
1. Indo-European Family
The Indo-European family has 440 living languages, including Spanish and English, and 4.077 billion speakers making it the largest language family.
Top 10 Languages Used Online
There are over 3.8 billion internet users from around the globe, speaking a variety of different languages. Here are the top 10 most used languages on the internet.
There are 84.7 million internet users who speak German online. This makes up 89.2% of the total population of German speakers and 2.2% of all internet users.
There are 108 million French-speaking users on the Internet, which makes up 26.6% of the total population of French speakers and 2.8% of all internet users.
There are 109.6 million users on the internet who are French-speaking, which makes up 76.4% of the total Russian speaking population and 2.8% of all internet users.
There are 118.5 million users on the internet who speak Japanese, which makes up 94% of the total population of Japanese speakers and 3% of all internet users.
There are a total of 157.6 million internet users who speak Indonesian/Malaysian, which makes up 53.4% of the population of their speakers and 4.1% of all internet users.
158.4 million users on the Internet are speakers of Portuguese, which is 56.2% of the total Portuguese-speaking population and 4.1% of all Internet users.
184.6 million Internet users speak Arabic, which makes up 43.8% of the total population of Arabic speakers and 4.8% of all internet users.
There are 312 million Internet users who speak Spanish, which is 61.1% of the total Spanish-speaking population and 8% of all Internet users.
There are 770.8 million Internet users who are speakers of Chinese, which is 54.1% of the Chinese-speaking population and 19.9% of all Internet users.
984.7 million users on the Internet speak English, which is 68.6% of the total population of English speakers and 25.3% of all Internet users, making it the most widely spoken language on the Internet.
896.7 million people, which is the remaining 23.1% of Internet users, speak rest of the various languages.
Top 10 Content Languages Used for Websites:
Here are the top 10 content languages used on the internet, deduced after analyzing 10 million websites:
10. Polish: 1.7% of all content.
9. Chinese: 2.1% of all content.
8. Italian: 2.4% of all content.
7. Portuguese: 2.6% of all content.
6. French: 4.1% of all content.
5. Spanish: 5.1% of all content.
4. Japanese: 5.5% of all content.
3. German: 5.6% of all content.
2. Russian: 6.8% of all content.
1. English: 51.3% of all content.
Most Studied Foreign Languages in Europe
92% of all students in Europe study a foreign language in school and almost all the pupils in primary and secondary education learn at least one foreign language in the Member States of Europe. According to the statistics provided by Eurostat, here are the most studied foreign languages in Europe:
2% of all European students study Russian as a second language. 67% of the students in Estonia, 57% of the students in Latvia, and 33% of the students in Lithuania study Russian.
3% of all European students study Italian as a second language. 38% of the students in Malta, 24% of the students in Croatia, and 17% of the students in Cyprus study Italian.
100% of the students in Luxembourg, 65% of the students in Slovenia, and 17% of the students in Croatia study German as a second language. In total, German is studied by 19% of all European students.
73% of the students in France, 40% of the students in Sweden, and 20% of the students in Denmark study Spanish as a second language. In total, Spanish is studied by 22% of all European students.
French is studied by 23% of all European students as a second language. It is studied by 100% of the students in Luxembourg, 83% of the students in Romania, and 59% of the students in Ireland.
English is studied by students in almost all the countries in Europe, except for Luxembourg. It is studied by 100% of students in Malta, Romania, Sweden, Czech Republic, France, Austria, Finland, and Croatia. In total, it is studied by 96% of all European Students.
Foreign Languages Studied in the U.S
Only 20% of the students in the United States of America learn a foreign language in school. According to the National K-12 Foreign Language Enrollment Survey, here are the most commonly studied languages in the U.S:
9. Russian: 0.14% of the students enrolled.
8. Arabic: 0.24% of all students.
7. Japanese: 0.64% of all students.
6. American Sign Language: 1.23% of all students.
5. Latin: 1.98% of all students.
4. Chinese: 2.13% of all students.
3. German: 3.11% of all students.
2. French: 12.12% of all students.
1. Spanish: 69.21% of all students.
Ranked: Here are the Top 100 Most Spoken Languages in the World
Here is a complete list of top 100 most spoken languages in the world ranked by the total number of speakers. The number of native speakers and language origin can also be seen against each language.
|Rank||Language||Total Speakers||Native Speakers||Language Origin|
|1.||English||1,132 million||379 million||Indo – European|
|2.||Mandarin Chinese||1,117 million||918 million||Sino – Tibetan|
|3.||Hindi||615 million||341 million||Indo – European|
|4.||Spanish||534 million||460 million||Indo – European|
|5.||French||280 million||77 million||Indo – European|
|6.||Standard Arabic||274 million||Not available||Afro – Asiatic|
|7.||Bengali||265 million||228 million||Indo – European|
|8.||Russian||258 million||154 million||Indo – European|
|9.||Portuguese||234 million||221 million||Indo – European|
|10.||Indonesian||199 million||43 million||Austronesian|
|11.||Urdu||170 million||69 million||Indo – European|
|12.||Standard German||132 million||76 million||Indo – European|
|13.||Japanese||128 million||128 million||Japanic|
|14.||Swahili||98 million||16 million||Niger – Congo|
|15.||Marathi||95 million||83 million||Indo – European|
|16.||Telugu||93 million||82 million||Dravidian|
|17.||Western Punjabi||93 million||93 million||Indo – European|
|18.||Wu Chinese||82 million||81 million||Sino – Tibetan|
|19.||Tamil||81 million||75 million||Dravidian|
|20.||Turkish||80 million||69 million||Turkic|
|21.||Korean||77 million||77 million||Koreanic|
|22.||Vietnamese||77 million||76 million||Austronesian|
|23.||Yue Chinese||74 million||73 million||Sino – Tibetan|
|24.||Javanese||68 million||68 million||Austronesian|
|25.||Italian||68 million||65 million||Indo – European|
|26.||Egyptian Spoken Arabic||65 million||65 million||Afro – Asiatic|
|27.||Hausa||63 million||44 million||Afro – Asiatic|
|28.||Thai||61 million||21 million||Kra – Dai|
|29.||Gujarati||61 million||56 million||Indo – European|
|30.||Kannada||56 million||44 million||Dravidian|
|31.||Iranian Persian||53 million||53 million||Indo – European|
|32.||Bhojpuri||52 million||52 million||Indo – European|
|33.||Southern Min Chinese||50 million||50 million||Sino – Tibetan|
|34.||Hakka Chinese||48 million||48 million||Sino – Tibetan|
|35.||Jinyu Chinese||47 million||47 million||Sino – Tibetan|
|36.||Filipino||45 million||Not available||Austronesian|
|37.||Burmese||43 million||33 million||Sino – Tibetan|
|38.||Polish||40 million||40 million||Indo – European|
|39.||Yoruba||40 million||38 million||Niger – Congo|
|40.||Odia||38 million||34 million||Indo – European|
|41.||Malayalam||38 million||37 million||Dravidian|
|42.||Xiang Chinese||37 million||37 million||Sino – Tibetan|
|43.||Maithili||34 million||34 million||Indo – European|
|44.||Ukrainian||33 million||27 million||Indo – European|
|45.||Moroccan Spoken Arabic||33 million||27 million||Afro – Asiatic|
|46.||Eastern Punjabi||33 million||33 million||Indo – European|
|47.||Sunda||32 million||32 million||Austronesian|
|48.||Algerian Spoken Arabic||32 million||29 million||Afro – Asiatic|
|49.||Sudanese Spoken Arabic||32 million||32 million||Afro – Asiatic|
|50.||Nigerian Pidgin||30 million||Not available||Indo – European|
|51.||Zulu||28 million||12 million||Niger – Congo|
|52.||Igbo||27 million||27 million||Niger – Congo|
|53.||Amharic||26 million||22 million||Afro – Asiatic|
|54.||Northern Uzbek||25 million||25 million||Turkic|
|55.||Sindhi||25 million||25 million||Indo – European|
|56.||North Levantine Spoken Arabic||25 million||25 million||Afro – Asiatic|
|57.||Nepali||25 million||16 million||Indo – European|
|58.||Romanian||24 million||24 million||Indo – European|
|59.||Tagalog||24 million||24 million||Austronesian|
|60.||Dutch||23 million||23 million||Indo – European|
|61.||Sa’idi Spoken Arabic||22 million||22 million||Afro – Asiatic|
|62.||Gan Chinese||22 million||22 million||Sino – Tibetan|
|63.||Northern Pashto||21 million||21 million||Indo – European|
|64.||Magahi||21 million||21 million||Indo – European|
|65.||Saraiki||20 million||20 million||Indo – European|
|66.||Xhosa||19 million||8 million||Niger – Congo|
|67.||Malay||19 million||16 million||Austronesian|
|68.||Khmer||18 million||17 million||Austronesian|
|69.||Afrikaans||18 million||7 million||Indo – European|
|70.||Sinhala||17 million||15 million||Indo – European|
|71.||Somali||16 million||16 million||Afro – Asiatic|
|72.||Chhattisgarhi||16 million||16 million||Indo – European|
|73.||Cebuano||16 million||16 million||Austronesian|
|74.||Mesopotamian Spoken Arabic||16 million||16 million||Afro – Asiatic|
|75.||Assamese||15 million||15 million||Indo – European|
|76.||Northeastern Thai||15 million||15 million||Kra – Dai|
|77.||Northern Kurdish||15 million||15 million||Indo – European|
|78.||Hijazi Spoken Arabic||15 million||15 million||Afro – Asiatic|
|79.||Nigerian Fulfulde||14 million||14 million||Niger – Congo|
|80.||Bavarian||14 million||14 million||Indo – European|
|81.||Bamanankan||14 million||4 million||Niger – Congo|
|82.||South Azerbaijani||14 million||14 million||Turkic|
|83.||Northern Sotho||14 million||5 million||Niger – Congo|
|84.||Setswana||14 million||6 million||Niger – Congo|
|85.||Souther Sotho||14 million||6 million||Niger – Congo|
|86.||Czech||13 million||11 million||Indo – European|
|87.||Greek||13 million||13 million||Indo – European|
|88.||Chittagonian||13 million||13 million||Indo – European|
|89.||Kazakh||13 million||13 million||Turkic|
|90.||Swedish||13 million||10 million||Indo – European|
|91.||Deccan||13 million||13 million||Indo – European|
|92.||Hungarian||13 million||13 million||Uralic|
|93.||Jula||12 million||2 million||Niger – Congo|
|94.||Sadri||12 million||5 million||Indo – European|
|95.||Kinyarwanda||12 million||12 million||Niger – Congo|
|96.||Cameroonian Pidgin||12 million||Not available||Indo – European|
|97.||Sylheti||12 million||10 million||Indo – European|
|98.||South Levantine Spoken Arabic||12 million||12 million||Afro – Asiatic|
|99.||Tunisian Spoken Arabic||12 million||12 million||Afro – Asiatic|
|100.||Sanaani Spoken Arabic||11 million||11 million||Afro – Asiatic|
Reference: Ethnologue; a database covering majority of the world’s languages