Development of spoken language is probably the most significant in the history of global communication. The number and diversity of languages does not stop to grow and develop until today. Here is a list of the 10 most spoken languages in the world, together with the number of people who use them and consider them their mother tongue.
10. German language - over 90 million
German language belongs to a group of West Germanic languages, alongside English. It is spoken mostly in Germany, where, as we all know, is the official language. It’s also an official language in Austria, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, one of the three official languages in Belgium (with French and Dutch), one of the four official languages in Switzerland (with French, Italian and Romansh) and official language of the Italian Province Bolzano. Furthermore, German is recognized as a minority language in several countries such as Poland, Denmark, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
9. Japanese – 132 million
Japanese language is a member of the Japonic language family, which also includes ryukyuan language spoken on the island of Okinawa. Most of the people whose native language is Japanese, live in Japan and its surrounding areas, but there are also people who speak Japanese in the U.S., Korea and Europe.
8. Russian – 144 million
Russian language belongs to the East Slavic language family, which includes other languages, Belarusian, Ukrainian and Rusinsky. Most of the 144 – million people whose native language is Russian, live in Russia, where it is an official language, but there are other countries who speak Russian – Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
7. Portuguese – 178 million
The Portuguese language is part of the Italo-Western Romance languages language family. Like other languages of the family, it originates from the Latin language. Portuguese is the official language of Portugal and Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and Sao Tome and Principe. It is a mandatory subject of study in schools in Uruguay and Argentina. Portuguese is taught by 30 million people and is the fourth most studied language in the world.
6. Bengali – 181 million
Bengali language belongs to the Indo-Aryan language family, as well as Hindi, Urdu and pundjabi language. Most of the people who speak it, live in Bangladesh, where it is an official language, but it is used also in West Bengal, Tripura, Assam, Europe, USA and even in Saudi Arabia. Bengali language has a rich literature tradition and is the focus point of Bengali nationalism.
5. Arabic – 221 million
Arabic is part of the Semitic language family and it is most often identified with the Middle East and North Africa. It’s the official language of 26 countries. Arabic along with Hebrew is the official language in Israel and it is native to much of the population in Europe and North America. The classic version of Arabic is one in which the Quaran was written in.
4. Hindustani – 242 million
Hindustani is a part of Indo-Aryan language family, along with Bengali. It has two forms – Urdu and Hindi, although both forms are almost indistinguishable from one another. Hindi is the official language of India and Urdu of Pakistan. Both languages are spoken in Europe and North America by Indian and Pakistani immigrants.
3. English – 328 million
English belongs to the West Germanic language family. It origins from the Anglo-Saxon language (Old English) and it is strongly influenced by French and Latin, due to the conquest of England by the Normans. Although English is has been developing as a language within the British Isles, the largest English speaking population in the U.S. – about 309 million. It is official language of 56 countries, some of which are: Ireland, Canada, North Africa, Jamaica, New Zealand, UK and Australia.
2. Spanish – 329 million
The Spanish language is part of the West Iberian branch of Romanic languages and it is very close to the Portuguese. It is among the most widespread languages in the world. It is designated as an official language of more than 20 countries. Almost every state in Latin America speak Spanish with the exception of Brazil and Belize. Many people whose native language is Spanish, have immigrated to the United States, and therefore there is a large Hispanic population.
1. Chinese languages – over 845 million
Mandarin Chinese is often called Chinese by people who do not speak, but actually it is one of the many Chinese languages. Mandarin is the most popular of all Chinese dialects and is official for the PRC and Taiwan. It is also one of the four official languages in Singapore (along with English, Malayan and Tamil). Due to increased immigration from those countries to the U.S. and Europe has a huge population of speakers of Mandarin. This language has two writing systems – standard and simplified.
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