Unsurprisingly, English tops the list with 1.5 billion speakers worldwide. All languages throughout history have developed and spread by region through trade, colonization and cultural interactions.
However, English has gained a lead mainly due to the popularity of the language in foreign countries. More and more young people are choosing to learn English over any other language.
What are the top 10 languages in the world?
1. English : 1.39 billion speakers
English is the mother tongue of the United States, Canada, Ireland, Nigeria, Australia and many more.
2. Chinese: 1.15 billion speakers
Specifically the Mandarin dialect (referred to as Chinese only by non-Chinese speakers), as in China there are many dialects with the second best known being Cantonese.
3. Spanish: 661 million speakers
It is the third most spoken language in the world and is the mother tongue in Spain, Argentina, El Salvador, Chile, Mexico etc.
4. Hindi: 544 million speakers
The main language spoken in India and Nepal, South Africa and Yemen.
5. Arabic: 422 million speakers
The language is widely used in the Middle East and in many Asian countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan, Qatar, Afghanistan, Iran and Indonesia.
6. Malay: 281 million speakers
The language of Malaysia, also called Indonesian, has 281 million speakers worldwide. It is estimated that the language has its roots in the island of Borneo.
7. Russian: 267 million speakers
The Russian language has 267 million speakers worldwide. Russian is a Slavic language of the Indo-European language family. Russian is the official language of Russia and is also spoken in Ukraine, Latvia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Lithuania.
8. Bengali: 261 million speakers
It is the official language in Bangladesh and is widely used in India, Sierra Leone as well as the United Kingdom, the United States and the Middle East.
9. Portuguese: 229 million speakers
Portuguese has about 229 million speakers, making it the ninth most spoken language in the world. Portuguese is a Romantic language developed in the western part of the Iberian Peninsula (now Portugal). It is the official language in Portugal, along with Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau.
10. French: 229 million speakers
Romantic French is spoken by 229 million people worldwide and is also spoken in Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Canada, Cλεte d'Ivoire, Mali and Haiti.