This is one of those top ten lists that makes it into a pub quiz. While most people might say English as the world’s most spoken language it barely makes it into the top 3! But how many of the top 5 spoken languages can you name? Let’s find out what they are and what percentage of the world speaks it….
The Top 10 Most Widely Spoken Languages in the World
10 – Punjabi (Fraction of world population: 1.44%)
Wiki Info:Punjabi is the most widely spoken language in Pakistan, the 11th most widely spoken in India and the third-most spoken native language in the Indian Subcontinent. Punjabi is the fourth-most spoken language in the United Kingdom and third-most spoken native language in Canada.
9 – Japanese (Fraction of world population: 1.92%)
Wiki Info:Japanese is an agglutinative, mora-timed language with simple phonotactics, a pure vowel system, phonemic vowel and consonant length, and a lexically significant pitch-accent. Word order is normally subject–object–verb with particles marking the grammatical function of words.
8 – Russian (Fraction of world population: 2.42%)
Wiki Info:It is the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia and the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages. It is also the largest native language in Europe, with 144 million native speakers in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.
7 – Bengali (Fraction of world population: 3.05%)
Wiki Info:With over 250 million speakers, Bengali is the seventh most spoken native language in the world. It has been influenced by other language families prevalent in South Asia, notably the Dravidian, the Austroasiatic, and the Tibeto-Burman families, all of which contributed to Bengali vocabulary and provided the language with some structural forms.
6 – Portuguese (Fraction of world population: 3.08%)
Wiki Info:Portuguese is part of the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several dialects of Vulgar Latin in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia and has kept some Celtic phonology. With approximately 215 to 220 million native speakers and 260 million total speakers
5 – Arabic (Fraction of world population: 4.23%)
Wiki Info:The modern written language (Modern Standard Arabic) is derived from Classical Arabic. It is widely taught in schools and universities and is used to varying degrees in workplaces, government, and the media. The two formal varieties are grouped together as Literary Arabic (fuṣḥā), which is the official language of 26 states and the liturgical language of Islam.
4 – Hindi (Fraction of world population: 4.46%)
Wiki Info:Hindi is the lingua franca of the so-called Hindi belt in India. Outside India, it is an official language which is known as Fiji Hindi in Fiji and is a recognised regional language in Mauritius, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Suriname.
3 – English (Fraction of world population: 5.52%)
Wiki Info:English has developed over the course of more than 1,400 years. The earliest forms of English, a set of Anglo-Frisian dialects brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers in the 5th century, are called Old English. Middle English began in the late 11th century with the Norman conquest of England and was a period in which the language was influenced by French.
2 – Spanish (Fraction of world population: 5.85%)
Wiki Info:Around 75% of modern Spanish is derived from Latin. Ancient Greek has also contributed substantially to Spanish vocabulary, especially through Latin, where it had a great impact.
1 – Mandarin (Fraction of world population: 14.1%)
Wiki Info:Mandarin is by far the largest of the seven or ten Chinese dialect groups, with 70 percent of Chinese speakers and a huge area stretching from Yunnan in the south-west to Xinjiang in the north-west and Heilongjiang in the northeast. This is attributed to the greater ease of travel and communication in the North China Plain compared to the more mountainous south, combined with the relatively recent spread of Mandarin to frontier areas.