13th April 2018
Chinese is a "macrolanguage” that encompasses dozens of different forms and dialects that together have just short of 1.2 billion native speakers. By far the most widely spoken variety of Chinese, however, is Mandarin, with 848 million speakers alone—or roughly 70 percent of China’s entire population.
A quarter of the world’s 399 million Spanish speakers live in Mexico, although other important Hispanophone countries include Colombia, Argentina, and Venezuela; there are almost as many native Spanish speakers in the United States (34.2 million) as there are in Spain (38.4 million).
The English language’s 335 million native speakers include 225 million in the United States, 55 million in the United Kingdom, 19 million in Canada, 15 million in Australia, and just short of 4 million in New Zealand. English is clearly one of the world’s most widespread languages.
The world’s 260 million native Hindi speakers are mainly found in India and Nepal, while an estimated 120 million more people in India use Hindi as a second language. As with all Indian languages, a great many Hindi loanwords found in English were adopted during the British Raj in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
After Chinese, Arabic is technically another macro language whose 242 million native speakers spread across 60 different countries worldwide—use a range of different forms and varieties.
The population of Portugal is just under 11 million, but the global Lusophone population is boosted enormously by Brazil’s 187 million native speakers. Etymologically, Portuguese and Spanish loanwords are often tricky to differentiate because of the similarities between the two languages.
After Hindi, Bengali is the second most widely spoken language of India with just over 82 million native speakers. But the largest native Bengali population in the world is found in Bangladesh, where 106 million people use it as their first language.
One hundred and thirty-seven millions of Russian’s 166 million native speakers live in the Russian Federation, with smaller populations in Ukraine (8.3 million), Belarus (6.6 million), Uzbekistan (4 million) and Kazakhstan (3.8 million).
Japan’s 128 million people comprise the language’s entire native speaker population, enough to make it the ninth most widely spoken language in the world.
With varying estimates of around 100 million native speakers, last spot on the list goes to… Punjabi! Spoken in large tracts of India and Pakistan, the Punjab was sliced in two by the British when they left, and millions of people were forced to abandon their homes, businesses and families. But they’re slowly taking their revenge, Bollywood-style: Punjabi songs now account for 50% of chart-toppers.
How many of the above mentioned languages do you speak? #WhyDoBoring