Did you know there are more than 7000 languages spoken today? Out of those, we will be talking about the 20 most spoken languages in the world as of January 2023.
We got our data from Ethnologue, which according to Wikipedia, is “an annual reference publication in print and online that provides statistics and other information on the living languages of the world. It is the world’s most comprehensive catalog of languages. It was first issued in 1951 and is now published by SIL International, an American Christian non-profit organization.”
Top 20 Most Spoken Languages In The World In 2023
|19||Yue Chinese||85.6 M|
1. English | 1.45 Billion
English is the most spoken language in the world, which is no surprise as it is the official language of many countries. According to recent studies, almost 1.5 billion people speak English.
Since it’s so widely spoken, English has become the most common language for travel, business, and international communication as a whole.
2. Mandarin Chinese | 1.12 Billion
Mandarin Chinese is the second most spoken language in the world, with an estimated 1.1 billion speakers. It is the official language of China, Taiwan, and Singapore, as well as one of four official languages in Malaysia and one of six official languages in Hong Kong.
Mandarin Chinese is a tonal language with four tones, which makes it unique compared to other languages. It also has a rich history and culture, which makes it all the more interesting to learn.
With such a large population base, Mandarin Chinese plays a vital role in international business and politics.
3. Hindi | 602 Million
Hindi is the most spoken language in India. Moreover, it’s also the official language of India and Fiji and one of the 22 scheduled languages of India.
According to a recent estimate, more than 600 million people speak Hindi, making it the third most widely spoken language.
Hindi has a rich background that dates back centuries with influences from Sanskrit and other regional languages. It is written using the Devanagari script, and its vocabulary consists of words from Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, English, Portuguese, and other European languages.
4. Spanish | 548 Million
Next, we have Spanish, with almost 550 million speakers. It is the official language of 21 countries and the second language of many others.
Spanish has become vital in international business, diplomacy, and tourism. Moreover, it has even become one of the six official languages of the United Nations.
5. French | 274 Million
French has more than 270 million speakers, making it one of the most spoken languages in Europe. It is an official language in 29 countries and a working language of the United Nations, the European Union, and many other international organizations.
French has a long history as a language of diplomacy, literature, philosophy, and science.
6. Arabic | 274 Million
Arabic has been around for more than 2500 years, so naturally, it has a rich cultural heritage that has made it an important language for many people around the world.
It is also one of the six official languages of the United Nations and used by many scholars throughout history.
7. Bengali | 272 Million
Bengali is the official language of Bangladesh and India and is spoken by millions of people in other countries such as Nepal, Pakistan, and parts of Southeast Asia.
It is an Indo-Aryan language that has its roots in Sanskrit and Pali. Bengali has a rich literary tradition spanning centuries, with some famous works including Tagore’s Gitanjali and Rabindranath Tagore’s Chokher Bali.
8. Russian | 258 Million
Russian, with 258 million speakers, is the official language of Russia, but it is also popular in other countries such as Belarus, Kazakhastan, and Ukraine.
It is a combination of both Greek and Slavic languages. The Cyrillic alphabet emerged from Russian, which practitioners claim is the easiest to learn.
9. Portuguese | 257 Million
Portuguese is an official language in nine countries, including Brazil, Portugal, Angola, and Mozambique.
Many languages have influenced the development of Portuguese throughout the years. In fact, it is estimated that around 30% of Portuguese words are derived from Latin or other Romance languages.
10. Urdu | 231 Million
There are 230 million Urdu speakers as of 2022, a language that is mainly derived from Persian and Arabic. It is written in an abjad writing system, meaning it does not use any vowels, giving it a sense of uniqueness.
Urdu poetry and literature have been popular since medieval times and are still appreciated today. It’s also the most commonly spoken language between different cultures in South Asia.
11. Indonesian | 199 Million
Indonesian is part of the Austronesian family of languages and is closely related to other languages such as Malay, Javanese, and Sundanese.
It’s an old language that dates back to the 16th century when it was common in trading ports across Southeast Asia.
12. German | 135 Million
Next on the list of most spoken languages in the world is German, which is vastly spoken in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
German has four cases – nominative, accusative, dative, and genitive – which can make it difficult to learn for English speakers. It also has many words from other languages, such as English and French.
13. Japanese | 125 Million
Japanese is one of the most fascinating languages in the world, with its unique writing system and complex grammar. It has a rich history and culture that can be dated back to 3 A.D.
Moreover, there are several dialects of the language spoken throughout Japan. These dialects can vary greatly from region to region and even between family members in the same household!
14. Nigerian | 121 Million
Nigerian languages are spoken by almost all of Nigeria’s citizens, and they are divided into three major language families: Afro-Asiatic, Niger-Congo, and Nilo-Saharan.
The official language of Nigeria is English which was inherited from British colonization. However, many Nigerians speak their native languages, such as Yoruba or Igbo.
15. Marathi | 99.1 Million
Next, we have Marathi, which is one of the oldest languages in the world. It is an Indo-Aryan language spoken mainly in the Indian state of Maharashtra.
Marathi has a unique writing system called Modi script, which was developed during the reign of Shivaji Maharaj. The Modi script was used to write administrative documents and other official records during his reign. It is still used today by some traditional communities in Maharashtra to write religious texts and other manuscripts.
16. Telugu | 95.7 Million
Telugu is the official language of the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh and is also one of the 22 scheduled languages recognized by the Indian government.
17. Turkish | 88.1 Million
Turkish is derived from many languages, such as Arabic, Persian, and French, to name a few. Due to its rich blend of languages, the Turkish grammar system is very complex.
It also has a unique writing system called Ottoman Turkish Script, which was used until 1928, when it was replaced by Latin script.
18. Tamil | 86.4 Million
Tamil is one of the oldest living languages in the world, dating back to 500 BC. Not only is it one of the most spoken languages in India, but it is also spoken by other people in Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Mauritius.
19. Yue Chinese | 85.6 Million
Yue Chinese has been around for centuries and has gone through many changes. The language has a unique grammar structure with many words borrowed from other languages, such as Cantonese, Hakka, Min Nan, and English.
It also contains words from other Chinese dialects like Mandarin and Wu, which make it quite versatile.
20. Vietnamese | 85.3 Million
Last but not least, we have Vietnamese, the official language of Vietnam, with over 76 million speakers.
Vietnamese is a tonal language which means that words can have different meanings depending on how they are pronounced. Moreover, it also has a very complex writing system with more than 3,000 characters making it one of the most interesting languages to study!
What Do You Think of the Top 20 Most Spoken Languages In The World?
With so many different languages being spoken, it is important to remember that each language has its unique culture and history. From English to Spanish, Chinese to Hindi, these languages are used by millions of people around the globe.
It is interesting to note that these languages have been around for centuries and continue to be used in everyday life, resulting in them being the most spoken languages in the world.