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:

10. Lahnda

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.

9. Japanese

Japanese, spoken primarily in Japan, has nearly 128 million speakers in over two countries.

8. Russian

Russian is the largest native language in Europe, with roughly 154 million speakers worldwide. It is spoken in 19 countries, primarily the Russian Federation.

7. Portuguese

Portuguese is spoken in a total of 13 countries worldwide, with 219 million speakers. It is predominantly spoken in Portugal.

6. Bengali

Bengali is an Indo-Aryan language spoken mainly in Bangladesh. It has a total of 242 million speakers, with 4 countries speaking this language.

5. Hindi

Hindi, also an Indo-Aryan language, is spoken mainly in India. It is spoken in 5 countries and has 260 million speakers worldwide.

4. Arabic

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.

3. English

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.

2. Spanish

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.

1. Chinese

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.

Most spoken languages in the world
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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.

Most spoken languages in the world
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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.

10. German

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.

9. French

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.

8. Russian

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.

7. Japanese

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.

6. Indonesian/Malaysian

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.

5. Portuguese

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.

4. Arabic

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.

3. Spanish

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.

2. Chinese

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.

1. English

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.

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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 spoken languages in the world
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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:

6. Russian

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.

5. Italian

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.

4. German

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.

3. Spanish

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.

2. French

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.

1. English

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.

Most spoken languages in the world
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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.

Most spoken languages in the world
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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.

RankLanguageTotal SpeakersNative SpeakersLanguage Origin
1.English1,132 million379 millionIndo – European
2.Mandarin Chinese1,117 million918 millionSino – Tibetan
3.Hindi615 million341 millionIndo – European
4.Spanish534 million460 millionIndo – European
5.French280 million77 millionIndo – European
6.Standard Arabic274 millionNot availableAfro – Asiatic
7.Bengali265 million228 millionIndo – European
8.Russian258 million154 millionIndo – European
9.Portuguese234 million221 millionIndo – European
10.Indonesian199 million43 millionAustronesian
11.Urdu170 million69 millionIndo – European
12.Standard German132 million76 millionIndo – European
13.Japanese128 million128 millionJapanic
14.Swahili98 million16 millionNiger – Congo
15.Marathi95 million83 millionIndo – European
16.Telugu93 million82 millionDravidian
17.Western Punjabi93 million93 millionIndo – European
18.Wu Chinese82 million81 millionSino – Tibetan
19.Tamil81 million75 millionDravidian
20.Turkish80 million69 millionTurkic
21.Korean77 million77 millionKoreanic
22.Vietnamese77 million76 millionAustronesian
23.Yue Chinese74 million73 millionSino – Tibetan
24.Javanese68 million68 millionAustronesian
25.Italian68 million65 millionIndo – European
26.Egyptian Spoken Arabic65 million65 millionAfro – Asiatic
27.Hausa63 million44 millionAfro – Asiatic
28.Thai61 million21 millionKra – Dai
29.Gujarati61 million56 millionIndo – European
30.Kannada56 million44 millionDravidian
31.Iranian Persian53 million53 millionIndo – European
32.Bhojpuri52 million52 millionIndo – European
33.Southern Min Chinese50 million50 millionSino – Tibetan
34.Hakka Chinese48 million48 millionSino – Tibetan
35.Jinyu Chinese47 million47 millionSino – Tibetan
36.Filipino45 millionNot availableAustronesian
37.Burmese43 million33 millionSino – Tibetan
38.Polish40 million40 millionIndo – European
39.Yoruba40 million38 millionNiger – Congo
40.Odia38 million34 millionIndo – European
41.Malayalam38 million37 millionDravidian
42.Xiang Chinese37 million37 millionSino – Tibetan
43.Maithili34 million34 millionIndo – European
44.Ukrainian33 million27 millionIndo – European
45.Moroccan Spoken Arabic33 million27 millionAfro – Asiatic
46.Eastern Punjabi33 million33 millionIndo – European
47.Sunda32 million32 millionAustronesian
48.Algerian Spoken Arabic32 million29 millionAfro – Asiatic
49.Sudanese Spoken Arabic32 million32 millionAfro – Asiatic
50.Nigerian Pidgin30 millionNot availableIndo – European
51.Zulu28 million12 millionNiger – Congo
52.Igbo27 million27 millionNiger – Congo
53.Amharic26 million22 millionAfro – Asiatic
54.Northern Uzbek25 million25 millionTurkic
55.Sindhi25 million25 millionIndo – European
56.North Levantine Spoken Arabic25 million25 millionAfro – Asiatic
57.Nepali25 million16 millionIndo – European
58.Romanian24 million24 millionIndo – European
59.Tagalog24 million24 millionAustronesian
60.Dutch23 million23 millionIndo – European
61.Sa’idi Spoken Arabic22 million22 millionAfro – Asiatic
62.Gan Chinese22 million22 millionSino – Tibetan
63.Northern Pashto21 million21 millionIndo – European
64.Magahi21 million21 millionIndo – European
65.Saraiki20 million20 millionIndo – European
66.Xhosa19 million8 millionNiger – Congo
67.Malay19 million16 millionAustronesian
68.Khmer18 million17 millionAustronesian
69.Afrikaans18 million7 millionIndo – European
70.Sinhala17 million15 millionIndo – European
71.Somali16 million16 millionAfro – Asiatic
72.Chhattisgarhi16 million16 millionIndo – European
73.Cebuano16 million16 millionAustronesian
74.Mesopotamian Spoken Arabic16 million16 millionAfro – Asiatic
75.Assamese15 million15 millionIndo – European
76.Northeastern Thai15 million15 millionKra – Dai
77.Northern Kurdish15 million15 millionIndo – European
78.Hijazi Spoken Arabic15 million15 millionAfro – Asiatic
79.Nigerian Fulfulde14 million14 millionNiger – Congo
80.Bavarian14 million14 millionIndo – European
81.Bamanankan14 million4 millionNiger – Congo
82.South Azerbaijani14 million14 millionTurkic
83.Northern Sotho14 million5 millionNiger – Congo
84.Setswana14 million6 millionNiger – Congo
85.Souther Sotho14 million6 millionNiger – Congo
86.Czech13 million11 millionIndo – European
87.Greek13 million13 millionIndo – European
88.Chittagonian13 million13 millionIndo – European
89.Kazakh13 million13 millionTurkic
90.Swedish13 million10 millionIndo – European
91.Deccan13 million13 millionIndo – European
92.Hungarian13 million13 millionUralic
93.Jula12 million2 millionNiger – Congo
94.Sadri12 million5 millionIndo – European
95.Kinyarwanda12 million12 millionNiger – Congo
96.Cameroonian Pidgin12 millionNot availableIndo – European
97.Sylheti12 million10 millionIndo – European
98.South Levantine Spoken Arabic12 million12 millionAfro – Asiatic
99.Tunisian Spoken Arabic12 million12 millionAfro – Asiatic
100.Sanaani Spoken Arabic11 million11 millionAfro – Asiatic

Reference: Ethnologue; a database covering majority of the world’s languages

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