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
Image Courtesy: Custom Writing

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
Image Courtesy: Custom Writing

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.

Others

896.7 million people, which is the remaining 23.1% of Internet users, speak rest of the various languages.

Image Courtesy: Custom Writing

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
Image Courtesy: Custom Writing

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
Image Courtesy: Custom Writing

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
Image Courtesy: Custom Writing

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

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