February 21, 2014

10 Most Widely Spoken Languages In The World

Every year 21st February is celebrated as International Mother Language Day with an aim to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. Taking this opportunity, let us check out the 10 most widely spoken languages in the world, as compiled by Ethnology Survey

1. Mandarin: 
With over 1.2 billion speakers spread across the world, Mandarin is the most spoken language by the people of the world. It is one of the many Chinese languages, which include Cantonese and Xiang, in the Sino-Tibetan language family. Mandarin is the widely spoken language among Chinese languages, and is the official language of Chinese mainland and Taiwan. It is also one of four official languages of Singapore. The major populations of Mandarin speakers in the United States and Europe are mainly attributed to the large scale immigration from both Chinese mainland and Taiwan. In Mandarin, there are only two writing systems-Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese.

2. English: 
English is one of the widely spoken languages around the world. It has over 360 millions native speakers and is the official language of more countries than any other language. Its speakers hail from all around the world, including New Zealand, the U.S., Australia, England, Zimbabwe, the Caribbean, Hong Kong, South Africa, Canada, to name some. A verbal knowledge of English has become a must in a various fields and occupations ranging from medicine to computing. More than a billion people speak English to at least a basic level; as such, it is one of six official languages of the United Nations.
The growth of English is attributed to the reduction of native linguistic diversity in many parts of the world. However, it continues to play an important role in language attrition.

3. Spanish: 
Spanish, with 329 million native speakers is the third most spoken language in the world. There are at least 3 million native speakers spread across 44 countries. The Spanish language is also known as Castilian as it is a Latin language that comes from a region called Castile in Spain. This language serves as the official language of countries like Spain, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Guatemala, Cuba, Bolivia, Honduras, Paraguay, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Equatorial Guinea and Puerto Rico. It is also spoken in United States, Mexico, Belize, Andorra, Argentina, Algeria, Gibraltar, Uruguay, Nicaragua, Niger, Chile, Chad, Benin, Morocco, Mali, Tunisia, Togo and Madagascar

4. Arabic: 
Arabic is one of the oldest languages in the world. It is widely spoken in the Middle East countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt. Since Arabic is the language of the Koran, millions of Muslims in other nations speak Arabic as well. Because of which, many people have a working knowledge of Arabic. In fact, it was made the sixth official language of the United Nations in the year 1974.

5. Hindi: 
Hindi is the fifth most spoken language in the world. It is spoken by more than 800 million people all over the world. Hindi is the official language of a developing country like India which has the second largest population in the world. Over the last decade, the demand to speak Hindi has grown by 50 percent. Millions of tourist across the world visits the country every year. The ability to speak and understand Hindi increases the opportunity of enjoying Indian culture, history and people. Hindi speaking ability makes their journey more enjoyable and interesting.

6. Portuguese: 
Portuguese is also one of the widely spoken languages in the world. It has its speakers in both the eastern and western hemispheres, in Brazil, Portugal, Angola, and several other countries and regions. Figures are numbered at between 190 and 220 million native speakers. The translation of Portuguese has taken a huge leap in the western hemisphere within the past several years, and its beginning to show up as a regularly translated language on many store products. This shows how this language is spreading far and wide

7. Bengali: 
Bengali is the official language of Bangladesh. It is a country of 120 plus million people where most of its citizens speak Bengali as its first language. Bengali is also the language of eastern state of India, which is known as West Bengal. Bengali is written in Bengali script, which is associated with the Sanskrit and Hindi script. The number of Bengali speakers in the world is much higher than most people would expect.

8. Russian: 
Russian, the Slavic language written in Cyrillic alphabets is the official language of Russia. This language is also widely spoken in countries such as Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transnistria and Gayauzia . Its speakers are also found in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Estonia, Georgia and Magnolia. As such, it comes in at the eighth spot with approximately 145 million speakers

9. Japanese: 
The Japanese language is a member of the Japonic language family.  Most Japanese native speakers are found in Japan and its territories, but native Japanese speakers also live in Korea, the United States and Europe.  Japanese is the official language of Japan, and it also enjoys official status in Palau.

10. German: 
German, a part of the West Germanic language family is primarily spoken in Germany and it is the official language too.  German is also the official language of Austria, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg, and is one of three official languages of Belgium (alongside Dutch and French) and one of four official languages of Switzerland (alongside French, Italian, and Romansch). It is also recognized as a minority language in several countries, including Poland, Denmark, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
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