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Languages have always been a crucial aspect of human communication and interaction. They carry rich culture, history, and identity within their words and phrases. In a world that is becoming increasingly interconnected, it is fascinating to explore the top 10 most spoken languages and their significance in today’s global landscape. From English to Mandarin Chinese, Hindi to Spanish, let’s delve into the diverse linguistic tapestry that unites people around the world.

Most Spoken Languages

Top 10 languages by the total number of speakers

1. English (1.452 billion speakers)

English, with an astonishing 1.452 billion speakers in the world, takes the crown as the most widely spoken language in the world. It is not only the official language of many countries but also serves as a lingua franca or a common language for international communication. The widespread use of English can be attributed to the British Empire’s historical influence and the dominance of the United States in global affairs. It is the language of science, technology, business, and academia, making it a necessity for those seeking global opportunities.

2. Mandarin Chinese (1.120 billion speakers)

Coming in second place is Mandarin Chinese, with a staggering 1.120 billion speakers. As the native language of China, it is no surprise that Mandarin Chinese is widely spoken. With China’s significant economic and political influence on the world stage, the importance of learning Mandarin Chinese has grown exponentially. Learning this language can open doors to opportunities in business, trade, and cultural exchange with the world’s most populous country.

3. Hindi (602.2 million speakers)

Hindi, with 602.2 million speakers, is the third most spoken language globally. Hindi is one of the most spoken languages in India and other neighboring countries, Hindi is one of the two official language in India, the world’s second most populous country. Beyond its regional significance, Hindi’s global reach can be attributed to the Indian diaspora scattered worldwide, contributing to its growing presence in various communities. For those interested in Indian culture, history, or seeking opportunities in the Indian job market, learning Hindi can be a game-changer.

4. Spanish (595 million speakers)

With 595 million speakers, Spanish secures the fourth spot on this list. It is not only spoken in Spain but also the official language of 19 Latin American countries. Spanish’s popularity can be traced back to the historical influence and colonization of these territories by Spain. In recent years, Spanish has gained further prominence due to the growing economic importance of Latin American countries. Learning Spanish can provide access to a vast cultural heritage and immense business opportunities throughout the Spanish-speaking world.

5. French (274.1 million speakers)

French, with 274.1 million speakers, claims the fifth position among the most spoken languages. As the official language of France and several other countries, French is renowned for its historical, cultural, and literary contributions. It is one of the six official languages of the United Nations and has widespread usage in international diplomacy. Besides its impressive global presence, French is also widely taught as a second language in many educational systems, making it an attractive language for language enthusiasts and students alike.

6. Modern Standard Arabic (274 million speakers)

Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is an important language for over 274 million speakers worldwide. Although it is not colloquially spoken as a first language, MSA serves as the language of literature, media, and formal communication throughout the Arab-speaking countries. With the rich cultural heritage and economic relevance of the Middle East, learning Modern Standard Arabic can open opportunities in fields such as diplomacy, journalism, and academia.

7. Bengali (273 million speakers)

Bengali, with 273 million speakers, takes its place as the seventh most spoken language globally. As the official language of Bangladesh and one of the official languages of India, Bengali holds immense significance in South Asia. Not only spoken in these countries, but it also carries a rich literary tradition, with renowned poets and writers contributing to its development. For those seeking to explore the vibrant cultural landscape of Bangladesh or communicate with the Bengali diaspora, learning Bengali can bridge those connections.

8. Russian (258.2 million speakers)

Russian, with 258.2 million speakers, is the eighth most spoken language in the world. Apart from its significance as the official language of Russia, it is also spoken in several countries that were part of the former Soviet Union. Russian holds importance in various fields, including literature, science, and politics. Furthermore, Russia’s growing presence on the global stage makes learning Russian an advantageous skill in business, diplomacy, and cultural exchange.

9. Portuguese (257.7 million speakers)

With 257.7 million speakers, Portuguese grabs the ninth spot among the top 10 most spoken languages worldwide. Besides being the official language of Portugal, it is also spoken in Brazil, Mozambique, and several other countries. Portuguese is the sixth most widely spoken language globally and holds significant economic potential, particularly considering Brazil’s emerging market and its growing influence in South America. Learning Portuguese can open doors to business, tourism, and cultural understanding. Portuguese is the official language of nine countries: Portugal, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe, East Timor, and Equatorial Guinea.

10. Urdu (231.3 million speakers)

Urdu, with 231.3 million speakers, ranks as the tenth most spoken language across the globe. As one of the official languages of Pakistan, Urdu holds immense cultural and historical significance. It is a language that beautifully blends Persian, Arabic, and local dialects, creating a unique linguistic heritage. Urdu’s importance also extends beyond Pakistan, as it is spoken by millions of people in countries around the world, including India, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Top 10 most spoken languages in the world by the number of native speakers

While the previous section focused on the total number of speakers, this section emphasizes the number of native speakers for each language. The ranking slightly shifts when considering the primary language of individuals from birth.

Mandarin Chinese:

With over 1.3 billion native speaker, it’s the most spoken language by native speakers. This highlights the vast population of China and neighboring regions where Mandarin Chinese is spoken more. 


Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world. Spanish has approximately 485 million native speakers, making it one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. This reaffirms the influence and importance of Spanish as the first language of countries in Latin America and Spain. 


Native English speakers account for approximately 379 million individuals. Although English leads in terms of total speakers, the number of native speakers is lower due to the diverse array of languages spoken in various parts of the world. 


With 341 million native speakers, Hindi’s significance becomes evident in India and neighboring nations where it is the primary language. 


Native Bengali speakers amount to approximately 228 million. Bengali’s strong presence in Bangladesh and India contributes to its position on this list. 


The number of native Portuguese speakers is around 221 million. This includes native speakers from Portugal, Brazil, and other Portuguese-speaking countries. 


Native Russian speakers reach a count of approximately 154 million. Russian’s prevalence in Russia and other former Soviet Union countries solidifies its position as a most spoken native language. 


Japan’s primary language, Japanese, is spoken natively by around 128 million individuals. 


With approximately 92 million native speakers, Punjabi stands as one of the most spoken languages in South Asia. 


German, a language spoken natively by approximately 76 million individuals, completes the top 10 list. Germany, Austria, and Switzerland are among the countries where German serves as the first language.

Learn the world’s most spoken languages

In our interconnected world, learning most spoken different languages like English and Mandarin Chinese can unlock endless opportunities for personal growth, career advancement, and seamless global communication. Fluency in Spanish, French, Russian, Hindi, Portuguese, or Urdu also enriches cultural understanding and opens doors to diverse experiences.


Is English one of the most spoken languages?

Yes, English is one of the most spoken languages in the world. It is the second most spoken language by number of native speakers and is widely studied as a second language.

Is Arabic a single language?

No, Arabic is not a single language. It has many dialects and variations, but Modern Standard Arabic is the standardized form used for formal communication across the Arab world.

What are the oldest languages in the world?

 Tamil, Sanskrit, and Hebrew are one of the oldest languages.

Which language is recognized as an official language in the most number of countries?

Spanish is recognized as an official language in the most number of countries. It is the official language of 21 countries.

How are languages ranked by their total number of speakers?

Languages are ranked by considering the total number of speakers, which includes both native speakers and those who speak the language as a second or additional language.

What is the most studied language in the world?

English is the most studied language in the world, with millions of people learning it as a second language.

Which languages are expected to gain more speakers by 2023?

According to some projections, the languages expected to gain more speakers by 2023 include Spanish, Arabic, and Bengali.