What languages do you know
Do you know the 10 most widely spoken languages in the world?
There are nearly 7,000 languages (1) in the world. 230 languages are spoken in Europe, but more than 2,000 are spoken in Asian countries. In Papua New Guinea, with almost 3.9 million inhabitants, more than 830 different languages are spoken! So with all this diversity, which are the most widely spoken languages in the world as mother tongues (number of native speakers)? Are these languages the most influential?
The 10 most widely spoken languages in the world
No. 1: Chinese
According to the website Ethnologue.com, there are nearly 1.2 billion native speakers, including 1 billion who speak Mandarin. China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, but also through important communities in: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Mauritius, Mongolia, Philippines, Russia, Thailand, Great Britain, United States, Vietnam, France.
No. 2: Spanish
You will be surprised to know that Spanish has around 400 million more native speakers than English. It is the second most common language in the world and the official language of most Latin American countries, Spain, and part of the North American population.
No. 3: English
English as a mother tongue is the third most important language in the world (around 360 million people). But in the second language, 1 billion people speak English, a language used in business, travel, and international relations.
No. 4: Hindi
While India has 23 official languages, the main language is Hindi / Urdu. Sometimes viewed as a single language (Hindustani) or as two dialects (Hindi is spoken in the north and part of Pakistan and Urdu elsewhere), the Hindi / Urdu question has not yet been resolved.
What if she was told you knew a few words in Hindi? Well, bungalow, jungle, shampoo and pajamas come from this language!
No. 5: Arabic
There are now around 250 million native speakers, but be careful, Arabic is not a homogeneous language for all these natives, because many dialects are integrated under the name “Arabic language” despite their great differences.
No. 6: Portuguese
Thanks to its former colonies, Portugal established its language in the world. With 215 million speakers worldwide in Brazil, Goa, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe and Macao, Portuguese now ranks 6th in the ranking.
Then comes the next one:
- in 7, Bengali: spoken in Bangladesh, parts of India (the Calcutta language) and the Andaman Islands by around 170 million people,
- in 8, Russian: About 130 million native speakers (estimated in 2010), Russian is the eighth largest spoken language in the world.
- in 9. Japanese: Almost all speakers live in Japan (130 million native speakers).
- at 10, Punjabi (100 million native speakers) spoke in parts of India and Pakistan and sang in half of all musical hits!
Is French losing its power?
And what about the place of the French language?
Of course, French has fewer native speakers (only 76 million), mainly in Europe (France, Belgium, Switzerland, Monaco, Luxembourg, Italy (Valle d'Aosta)), but also in America (Canada, USA (Louisiana, Maine), Haiti , French Guiana (France)), official language in Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Central African Republic, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Togo, La Réunion (France), Mayotte (France)).
French would be however the third business language in the world. Indeed, according to a new study by INSEAD Business School, French would rank second after English (No. 1) and Mandarin (No. 2) in terms of power in the world.
In order to “measure” the power of languages, the economist and author of the Kai Chan study spent six months looking for ways to classify them, keeping around twenty criteria such as the geographical distribution of the language, economic, tourist or cultural strength.
He explains: “French is associated with countries like Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, France, which are very powerful thanks to their culture and GDP”.
The study also shows that French remains a prestigious language that is still widely used in international organizations or in diplomacy, particularly with the United Nations.
So let's calm our egos, French is still developing into a strong and influential language!
1 According to the 2009 catalog of ethnologists
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