Although many people have wondered what are the most spoken languages in the world in 2022, it is common for speculation and false beliefs to come to mind faster than the decision to do a quick search on the Internet.
But the answer is much more complex than you think, and it has nothing to do with the number of countries that speak a language or the number of people with one or another mother tongue, but with something much less considered: the facts.
The different events of history have motivated people to choose to learn this or that language, and that includes both the facts that appear in the books and the will of each individual to work in what they want.
At Lingua Language Center, we wanted to answer this question to explain in a more general way the cause of our preference for certain languages, especially Western ones, which foster communication with the rest of the world.
These are the most spoken languages in the world
1. English – 1,121 million speakers
It is the most widely spoken language in the world because of the global impact of England and the United States in the last three centuries.
It is not the mother tongue of most people, but it is the one that most people seek to learn. With English, there is no country or culture that cannot be accessed in a globalized world. This is the lingua franca of the 21st century.
2. Mandarin Chinese – 1,107 million speakers
Mandarin Chinese is the language with the most native speakers. But in recent years, the number of people interested in learning it as a second or third language has increased. This is due to the importance of China for the economic development of the world’s companies, both as a country that generates raw materials and as a technology developer.
3. Hindi – 698 million speakers
This is another language almost completely spoken by native speakers. But something similar to China is starting to happen: people want to do business with India, and speaking the language has become an important option.
However, the difference from China is that in India, almost 350 million people are able to communicate in a basic way in English and 100 million speak it correctly.
4. Spanish – 512 million speakers
Spanish is spoken as the official language in Spain, in 19 countries in the Americas, and in one in Africa. But its impact goes much further because of migrations.
For example, in the United States there are already more Spanish speakers than in Spain itself.
Speaking in Spanish has become an opportunity for professionals from all kinds of careers. That is why it is one of the most studied languages in the world.
5. French – 284 million speakers
For centuries, French was considered the language of art and culture. That is still a reality in some aspects, but the language goes much further.
The francophone encompasses 29 countries in the world without counting the territories that are still French colonies.
6. Arabic – 273 million speakers
The beauty of this language continues to amaze linguists around the world. As it has sounds in its pronunciation that are alien to the Western world, there has always been a fear of delving into its learning.
However, the experience of learning it has surprised a growing number of enthusiasts initially attracted to trade with Middle Eastern countries.
7. Bengali – 265 million inhabitants
This language cannot go unnoticed. It originated more than a thousand years ago and is part of the Eastern Indo-Aryan sub-branch.
Today it is spoken in basically two places: Bangladesh and West Bengal.
8. Russian – 258 million speakers
As extensive as the Russian territory is the use of its language. It is a mixture that resulted between several Slavic languages and classical Greek.
From there comes its peculiar Cyrillic alphabet, which according to its practitioners is the easiest to learn of a simple, sonorous and interesting language.
9. Portuguese – 234 million speakers
In the business world, Brazil is not spoken of as another market, but as another planet. It is a completely different world from what is known even in the rest of Latin America.
That is why speaking Portuguese is opening the doors to a new world.
In any case, this language also represents an opportunity beyond Brazil, as it is spoken in Portugal and in several African countries.
10. Indonesian – 200 million speakers
Although the majority of the inhabitants of the Republic of Indonesia are currently bilingual, Indonesian is their mother tongue.
It is also spoken in various parts of Malaysia and East Timor.
Despite its millions of inhabitants, it is used more frequently in urban Indonesia than in rural areas.
11. Urdu – 170 million speakers
Although it is the official language of Pakistan, its use in northern India has increased considerably in recent decades.
Urdu is written from right to left with the same alphabet used for Arabic and Persian. But its origin is different from that of these two languages. It was passed down by the Mongols from northern India and has been performed for centuries thanks to trade.
12. Japanese – 150 million speakers
Although Japan is only 377,975 kilometers long, it has 126 million inhabitants. But to speak rigorously of the language, we must include other corners of the world such as Palau, Marshall Islands, Guam, Hawaii, Micronesia, South Korea, Taiwan, and some more…
If with Portuguese we said that the language opens the doors to another planet, with Japanese we would have to speak of another universe.
It is about another culture that does not even have to do with the western one. The differences are so great that sometimes there are no common places between Japan and the rest of the world. And all that is the most interesting and attractive thing about learning Japanese.
13. German – 135 million speakers
Germany’s leadership in Europe makes it a very attractive language to learn. It is also spoken in Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and Belgium, as well as in multiple regions of central Europe.
There is debate about its number of speakers, because, beyond the 135 million that we name here, a 2018 study calculates that there may currently be 298 million people speaking it to different degrees of knowledge.
14. Punjabi – 100 million speakers
It is an Indo-European language spoken in eastern India, in the Punjab region.
Its origin is in the Pracritic dialects.
Punjab is home to some of the oldest civilizations in the world, the Indus Valley. Therefore, the study of their language is of great interest to linguists and scholars mainly.
15. Javanese – 84 million speakers
This is a language that is spoken in the area of Indonesia, mainly on the island of Java.
16. Wu Chinese – 80 million speakers
This dialect of Chinese is spoken in various parts of the east of the country. In addition, emigration has also caused it to be used frequently in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
17. Telugu – 79 million speakers
It is another of the languages of overpopulated India, spoken mainly in the west of the country (in the states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh).
It is currently the fastest-growing language in the United States. Between 2010 and 2017 alone, the number of speakers in this country increased by 86%.
According to the Fundación Gente Télugu, the increase in speakers in the United States is due to the strong links between the city of Hyderabad, in India, and the engineering industries in America.
Tegulu is the mother tongue of many of Asia’s best engineers.
18. Turkish – 78 million speakers
The importance of the Turkish language is the same as that of Turkey as a country: they are the connection between Europe and the East.
It belongs to the family of Turkic languages, which extend from western China to the Balkan Peninsula.
19. Korean – 77 million speakers
It is the official language of South Korea and North Korea. Technology is the main reason to learn this language. However, popular culture has been one of the keys to bringing young people closer to the language.
Musical groups such as Black Pink or BTS have generated authentic industries around the so-called K-Pop, and this has made the acquisition of the language much more attractive.
20. Marathi – 74 million speakers
Another language of India. There are 22 official languages in that country according to its Constitution, although the two main ones are English and Hindi.
The most beautiful thing about Marathi is its amazing literary tradition, which, through its famous writers, has put India several times on the map of world literature.
It is the language spoken in the city of Bombay.
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How dare you forget swahili
please don’t ignore Persian language with 120 million speakers
iran have 40 milion Turk
All 90 million Iranians can speak Farsi (Persian), many are learning Persian in India, Germany and Russia. Afghan language is also a type of Persian language. You cannot distinguish some languages from each other.
You are completely wrong. The US is not the creator of ISIS. ISIS was created by religious fanatics in the Moslem world.
That’s means 1121 million speaks English
Hahahah So funny
You know “OOC” language*
ooc is a small programming language with a clear and concise syntax that compiles to C99.
What was the source of your information??
There are languages spoken across continent but not metioned here.!!!!!!!
Yea,like Kiswahili which is spoken by more than 300million speakers in east and central africa!This research is not true
Why Tamil language is missing
yes its our the world first traditional language know….
Swahili has over 200 million
Sinhalese is the most spoken language in sri lanka
hw abt luganda
Absolutely they just forgot kiswahili
If you check Wikipedia, where this list appears to have originated, Persian is 24th, Swahili is 27th and Italian is 29th (all questions from lower comments.
It is typical of western “researches”. I wouldn’t expect less. Current stats shows that English is now the second no longer the first.
What is swahili!?
How dare you forget swahili this website is practicing racism
Fake list, SWAHILI is among the top 10, edit that post and stop the misinformation
SHE IS RIGHT!!!
Urdu And Hindi Same language Only Written Style Change World Most Spoken Language Bangali Afghani And 200 Milion In Pakistan Also Speek Hindi Urdu In India 70% People Know Hindi And Speak.. Persion Also Most Speak Language In Afg Iran
You forgot Icelandic, Swahili, Korean and Jewish!
You should update it cuz peeps will get upset
Yeah don’t forget Swahili
I was gobsmacked! Wow what a waste of my time thinking this would be a well researched article argh
This table is arranged based on which language people speak the most. On Wikipedia
What is given is given by popularity
Am also wondering. Why is an African language missing? Or we are just a satellite continent ?!!!
yeah what about swahli??
2. Mandarin Chinese – 1.107 million speakers
👆 Have you made a typo mistake for the number? Should it be”billion” instead of “million”?
some countries use period for thousands and comma for decimals
figure is 1 thousand millions = 1 billion fyi
No. They didn’t. 1100 million IS 1.1 billion
Where does Italian rank
Italiano is 21st on dee listo!
You have forgotten african languages such as swahili which is spoken widely in Tanzania,Kenya,Uganda,Zanzibar,to be specific,it is spoken in eastern,central,southern africa,western africa including Nigeria.Total number of swahili speakers can account to 200 milion (based on population).
Interesting info! Thank you for you input! 🙂
That’s very true
What langiage is it where grammar is spelled “grammer” ?
“Grammer” from a college English professor, no less. There is no hope for our language.
College-English- professor, grammar please!
why ya’ll so mean to this website? Its great!
Turkish is spoken by 200 millions.
Indonesia’s population is 275 millions. Almost all of us use Indonesian (along with local language as well). Not to mention, most of 33 millions of Malaysian population, 400 thousands of Brunei ppl, plus a significant part of 5.4 millions Singaporean and 1.1 millions Timorese.
300 millions Indonesian users is a moderate number.
FYI, the official language for Malaysia is Malay, not Indonesian. Malaysia has its own language and there are some differences between Malay and Indonesian
Yea in Malaysia we use Malay, but people also use Indonesian.
Why are you biased, Kiswahili/swahili has more than 200 million speakers across 14 countries. Kenya’s and Tanzania’s entire population speaks Kiswahili(100+ million)…other countries include Uganda, Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, South Sudan, Mozambique etc. African Union made swahili its official language and United Nations made 7/7/ every year as kisahili day. Do you mean that Africans don’t count in world languages…Swahili is top ten.
Why is Swahili not in the list when it is spoken by over 300 millions people in the world????????
What about Klingon?
Thats a conlang
There are close to 100 million people in Vietnam, the overwhelming majority of whom speak Vietnamese. That is a lot more than some of the languages on the lower end of this list.
Russian is not a mixture of Slavic and Greek.
It is a Slavic language, only its alphabet is based on Greek.
Thank you! I cringed when I read their comment about Greek being part of the mixture. Their credibility took a major hit.
As I’d tell any of my students, pump ya breaks; learn from ya mistakes…
Adequate reading comprehension would provide that:
“[Russian] is a mixture that resulted between several [spoken] Slavic languages and classical [written] Greek.”
…especially since, by your own legible admission, you understand that Russian is comprised of symbolic components—both vocalized AND written.
its Telugu, not tegulu
Wow, its interesting to see 7 languages spoken in India are making up in the list – Hindi, Bengali, Portuguese, Urdu, Punjabi, Telugu, and Marathi. Nonetheless, I believe the USA has all of them 🙂
I’m a bit skeptical about this data, for example “3. Hindi – 698 million speakers”, however India population in 2021 was 1.393 billion. Are you saying that less than 1/2 of Indians speak Hindi?
Because not everyone speaks hindi
tamil, marathi, bengali, telugu, punjabi, gujarati, malayalam, kannada, kashmiri, assamese, manipuri, odia, nagpuri, rajasthani, bhojpuri, nepali, urdu, tulu, gondi, marwari, bodo, dogri, mizo, awadhi, saurashtra, marwari, etc are also indian languages.
Uh all I see here in the comments in English.
what about TWI
so its a mix
Where is the kannada language., This survey is wrong!!
What about Tamil (Nation language of 5 countries)
What about Hausa with almost 250 million speakers.
You forgot Icelandic, Swahili, Korean and Jewish!
You should update it cuz peeps will get upset and you are technically saying half of indians speak Hindi cuz it says some billion so why are you being partial?
hi besties slayyyyy you do you kween
LOL, There is more than 350 Million pepole speaks Bengali and you mentioned 265 million. This not correct
Wow! This is really interesting information. I’m curious to see how many languages will be spoken by the world’s population in 2022.
Sinhala is the most difficult language in the world.
How did you skip Italian? It is estimated to have 85 million speakers world wide which is above the last few you mentioned here.
It is interesting that even the Turkish language with 70 million has been included in the list and Telugu, Marathi, but languages
with much more speakers than these have not been written. Is there a mafia at work, like the Turkish mafia?!This information is invalid
French is life
Wth is Javanese sounds like a rip off of japanese
Wth is Javanese sounds like a rip off of japanese lol
Turkish is not spoken in only Turkey.
French is life too
Swahili is one of the most popular languages in Africa