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World's Five Most Spoken Languages

Curious Cat
World's Five Most Spoken Languages

The world’s population now exceeds 7.7 billion and more than 6,900 languages are spoken around the world, of which only 230 are spoken in Europe compared to more than 2,000 in Asia. Papua New Guinea has a population of just 3.9 million, but 840 different languages are spoken there.

Arabic is fifth out of the most spoken languages in the world, with the number of native speakers amounting to 319 million. Originating in the Arabian Peninsula, Arabic has several dialects that are not necessarily compatible with each other and the dialects do differ from one another. However, for convenience they have been grouped together under the term "Arabic language". It should also be noted that classical Arabic is considered the sacred language of Islam.

Fourth place goes to Hindi, with its 340 million native speakers. Although India has 23 official languages, the main one is Hindi/Urdu. It is mainly spoken in the north of the country as well as in Nepal and a large part of Pakistan. Hindi is written using the Devanagari script, whilst Urdu is written using the Arabic-Persian script.

Unsurprisingly, English is the third most spoken language in the world, with 380 million people using it as their mother tongue. Moreover, it remains the world's leading language if you also consider non-native speakers. More than 1 billion people speak English as a second or third language and its use is particularly important in business, travel, and international relations. More than 50 countries use English as an official language and it is also an official language in at least one country on every continent.

The second most spoken language in the world is none other than Spanish, with an estimated 460 million native speakers. It is the official language of the majority of Latin American countries in addition to Spain, and a significant part of the North American population. Spanish is widely spoken in Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, and even in Equatorial Guinea, which is the only African country to have Spanish as one of its official languages alongside French and Portuguese.

Mandarin is, to this day, the most widely spoken language in the world, with 1.120 billion native speakers. It belongs to the large family of Sinitic languages, along with Wu, which is widely spoken in Shanghai (77 million speakers), Cantonese, Min, and Xiang with 36 million speakers, and Hakka and Gan with 31 million speakers. Contrary to popular belief, not all Chinese therefore speak Mandarin. Geographically, Chinese remains the official language in China, Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia.

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