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20 Most Widely Spoken Languages In The World

Language is like a bond that connects us together, and the 20 most widely spoken languages in the world act as a glue between different cultures and people.

As social beings, social interaction is pretty much the key to our survival. Our language enables us to do just that. That being said, there are countless languages out there. It’s impossible for someone to learn every single one, so if we can pick up on the most popular we’ll have more access to the world around us. Thankfully, we are able to acquire our primary language without much effort since we pick it up as we get older. Learning other languages can help us drastically increase our ability to establish networks across the globe, give us more professional opportunities, increase our interpersonal skills, and also provide more travel opportunities. There’s nothing to lose by investing time in learning new languages. If you’re considering one, try one of the 20 most widely spoken languages in the world from this list.

20 Most Widely Spoken Languages In The World

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In this article, we tried to list the world’s most widely spoken languages ranked by the number of primary speakers. In order to create this list, we took a look at the statistics published by Ethnologue. However, there are many other things that should be considered before committing to a certain language. A few questions that might come up: How many countries speak this language? How economically developed are those countries? How difficult is it to learn the language for a native English speaker? Why do I want to learn this language? Before you commit to learning a language from this list, knowing the answer to those is important. We tried to answer some of those for you. If you’re looking for an easy language to master, check out our list of the 5 Easiest Second Languages to Learn for English Speakers.

Every individual is driven by their own personal goals. Some might want to learn a new language for the mere sake of learning, while others may want to advance their careers and work in other countries. As far as raw data goes, our list is based on that, but you yourself will obviously have to choose the right one for you. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the 20 most widely spoken languages in the world.

20. Tamil

Number of speakers: 67.8 million

Number of countries: 7

Tamil is the official language in Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu, and the central area of Singapore. It’s also India’s fifth most spoken language.

20 Most Widely Spoken Languages In The World

19. Vietnamese

Number of speakers: 68 million

Number of countries: 3

Vietnamese is the 19th most widely spoken language in the world. Vietnamese speakers can be found in east and southeast Asia, North America, Australia, and western Europe because of migration.

20 Most Widely Spoken Languages In The World

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18. Urdu

Number of speakers: 68.6

Number of countries: 6

Urdu is the official language of Pakistan and the sixth most widely spoken language in India.

20 Most Widely Spoken Languages In The World

17. Turkish

Number of speakers: 71.4 million

Number of countries: 8

Turkish is the 17th most widely spoken language in the world. The majority of Turkish speakers live in Turkey, but others can be found in Germany, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Northern Cyprus, Greece, the Caucasus, and other parts of Europe and central Asia.

20 Most Widely Spoken Languages In The World

16. Marathi

Number of speakers: 71.8 million

Number of countries: 1

This is India’s fourth most spoken language and it is mostly only spoken in India.

20 Most Widely Spoken Languages In The World

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15. Telugu

Number of speakers: 74.2 million

Number of countries: 1

India’s second most spoken language is Telugu. Telugu is the official language in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Yanam (Puducherry).

20 Most Widely Spoken Languages In The World

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14. French

Number of speakers: 75.9 million

Number of countries: 53

French is widely spoken in over 50 countries.

20 Most Widely Spoken Languages In The World

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13. German

Number of speakers: 76.9 million

Number of countries: 26

German is the official language of six countries and several international institutions.

12. Korean

Number of speakers: 77.3 million

Number of countries: 7

Korean is the official language in North Korea and China.

20 Most Widely Spoken Languages In The World

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11. Javanese

Number of speakers: 84.9 million

Number of countries: 3

Javanese is the primary language of the people of Java, the most populous island in the world. It is Indonesia’s official language, as more than half of its entire population speaks it.

10. Lahnda

Number of speakers: 117 million

Number of countries: 8

This is another Pakistani language to make our list. It’s considered a macro-language consisting of several dialects.

9. Japanese

Number of speakers: 128 million

Number of countries: ~1

The Japanese language does not have much influence outside of the country itself, but it still has made it onto this list of the 20 most widely spoken languages in the world.

8. Russian

Number of speakers: 171 million

Number of countries: 17

Countries that broke out of the Soviet Union still use this language heavily in addition to, of course, Russia.

20 Most Widely Spoken Languages In The World

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7. Bengali

Number of speakers: 189 million

Number of countries: ~2

After Hindi, Bengali is the second most used language in India. Most speakers live in India and Bangladesh.

20 Most Widely Spoken Languages In The World

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6. Portuguese

Number of speakers: 202 million

Number of countries: 12

The language originated from Portugal and is widely spoken in 12 countries around the world.

5. Hindi

Number of speakers: 260 million

Number of countries: ~1

We are continuing our list of most widely spoken languages in the world with Hindi that is the most widely spoken language in India.

20 Most Widely Spoken Languages In The World

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4. Arabic

Number of speakers: 267 million

Number of countries: 58

Arabic is the language of Island and is also considered to be a macro-language that uses a range of different forms and varieties.

3. English

Number of speakers: 339 million

Number of countries: 106

If you’re an English speaker, you’re well equipped to communicate with the world.

20 Most Widely Spoken Languages In The World

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2. Spanish

Number of speakers: 427 million

Number of countries: 31

Spanish is spoken in 31 countries and the number of speakers has solidified it in the second position on this list of most widely spoken languages in the world.

20 Most Widely Spoken Languages In The World

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1. Chinese

Number of speakers: 1.32 billion

Number of countries: 35

Chinese is also considered a macro-language with all its versions and dialects.

20 Most Widely Spoken Languages In The World

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That concludes our list of the 20 most widely spoken languages in the world. Did you predict any of these?