15 Most Spoken Languages in The World (2024)

Want to know a fun fact about languages? There are over 7,100+ languages in the world, but only 23 of them are spoken by the majority. So, which are the most spoken languages in the world?

When it comes to the most popular languages, it is easy to guess that English and Chinese make a list. Similarly, English remains the most spoken language in 2023, with approximately 1.5 billion people speaking it.

We researched from different resources and studies and found these 15 widely spoken languages globally! We have mentioned the statistical data on the number of speakers, country of origin of language, and other details.

So, let’s get into the details and see which languages are ruling the charts!

In a Nutshell: Most Spoken Languages In The World

Here is a quick table with a list of the top 15 most spoken languages and their number of speakers.

Note: Most of the data was taken from reliable statistics and research and does not include our own numbers.

Sr. No.LanguageNumber of speakers
1.English1.5 billion
2.Mandarin Chinese1.3 billion
3.Hindi615 million
4.Spanish595 million
5.French235 million
6.Bengali234 million
7.Modern Arabic270 million
8.Portuguese263 million
9.Russian257 million
10.Urdu234 million
11.Indonesia200 million
12.German134 million
13. Japanese125.4 million
14. Nigerian Pidgin120.7 million
15. Marathi99.1 million

Now that you have an idea of which languages are widely spoken, let’s dive into the details of each language below!

1. English (1.5 billion)

Language familyGermanic, a subfamily of Indo-European.
Name in the languageEnglish

With a whopping 1.5 billion native and non-native speakers, English tops the list of the most spoken languages. English is globally the most popular language today. It is spoken in almost every country and is known as the “universal language.” 

English Language

English is widely used in international business, technology, tourism, and anything you can think of. It is the most common medium of conversation in international relations. English can be picked up quite easily, which is why an increasing number of people study it. 

English is still regarded as the language that provides the most opportunities worldwide. It continued to dominate the world for several years due to the powerful influence of US culture.

You can read more about how many people speak in English in detail!

2. Mandarin Chinese (1.3 billion)

Language familySino-Tibetan
Name in the language普通话 (Putonghua)

Mandarin Chinese is the second most spoken language in the world, with 1.3 billion speakers. It is spoken largely in China, Taiwan, and Singapore. Although the numbers are quite high, Chinese is one of the most difficult languages to become proficient in. 

Mandarin Chinese (1.1 billion)

A fun fact about Mandarin Chinese is that it is one of the official languages of the United States. So, it is not surprising that so many people speak it. 

The language has over 5,000 characters, making it one of the most complex. So, if you want to keep busy, start learning Chinese!

Did you know Mandarin is one of the hardest languages to learn?

3. Hindi (615 million)

Language familyIndo-Aryan
Name in the languageहिंदी

The third one on our list is Hindi, a language that is largely spoken in India and is one of its 22 official languages. India is the second most inhabited country in the world, so it is not surprising that Hindi has this many speakers. Among the 653 million people who speak the language, over 500 million are Indians. 

Hindi (653 million

If you know English, you probably know a few Hindi words. Ever heard the terms jungle, bungalow, karma, and yoga? They have all been borrowed from Hindi!

Sanskrit, the oldest language in the world, has highly influenced Hindi. The term “Hindi” is named after the Persian word “Hindi,” which literally means “The Land Of The Indus River.” 

4. Spanish (595 million)

Language familyRomance
Name in the languageespañol or castellano

With 548 million native and non-native speakers, Spanish is spoken on four continents across 20 countries. In fact, some of these countries have Spanish listed as one of their official languages. For English speakers, Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn. So, it is not surprising that the numbers are so high. 

Spanish (548 million)

It is believed that in the next three generations, about 10 percent of the world’s population will be able to communicate in Spanish. Isn’t that interesting? The language has already taken over the US, being the second most spoken in the country.

5. French (235 million)

Language familyRomance
Name in the languagele français

The influence of French colonialism led it to become the official language of 29 countries across various continents. French is considered the language of culture. Even though it comes fifth on our list of the most spoken languages, French has the third-most number of non-native speakers worldwide. 

French (282 million)

The French language has its roots spread everywhere. It is spoken across different parts of the world, from France to parts of Canada to a handful of African countries. You may have heard Paris is called “The City of Love.” Well, French, the official language of Paris, is considered the most romantic-sounding language!

6. Bengali (234 million)

Language familyIndo-Aryan
Name in the languageবাংলা (Bangla)

Bengali is the official language of Bangladesh. However, it is also spoken in parts of India and Burma. A sizable number of immigrants in the US, UK, and Middle East also speak the language. 

Bengali (272 million)

Being listed as the sixth most spoken language in the world, Bengali often surprises people. This is mainly because the language is spoken over a small territory and lacks international popularity. 

However, things make sense when you consider the population density of the region where it’s spoken. Want to know a fun fact? It is considered the second most beautiful language after French!

7. Modern Arabic (270 million)

Language familySemitic
Name in the languageالعَرَبِيَّة‎‎ 

With 272 million speakers globally, Modern Arabic is the 7th most spoken language. It is also the only language on our list, which is written from right to left. Arabic originated in the Arabian peninsula and managed to spread its roots in the Middle East and North Africa. 

Modern Arabic (272 million)

Arabic is, as you would know, the official language of Islam. However, not all Muslims are native Arabic speakers. The language does hold importance in every Islam follower’s life, mainly because the Holy Quran was dictated to Prophet Muhammad in Arabic. 

However, that is Classical Arabic. Modern Standard Arabic is an academic dialect based on Classical Arabic. 

8. Portuguese (263 million)

Language familyRomance
Name in the languageportuguês

Portuguese is another language that spread across Europe due to colonialism. It is the official language of nine countries, including Portugal, Brazil, Angola, etc. Most Portuguese speakers come from Brazil, which is not surprising given that it is the largest country among the nine. 

Portuguese (263 million)

Portuguese was brought to Africa, Asia, and the Americas during the 15th century by the colonizers. However, the countries kept developing cultures and transforming the language. Now, it is the most widely spoken language in the Southern Hemisphere. 

9. Russian (257 million)

Language familyEast Slavic
Name in the languageру́сский язы́к

Russian is ninth on our list, with 257 million speakers worldwide. Most of this population are Russian natives, which is not surprising given that Russia is the largest country. Today, Russian is the official language of four countries, including Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan. Additionally, it is one of the six languages spoken in the UN. 

Russian (257 million)

Russian has the most native speakers in Europe. The language is known to have tricky grammar but has only about 200,000 words (way less than English). Many Russian words have more than one meaning, making learning the language complex. It is written in Cyrillic script and is one of the most difficult languages to grasp. 

10. Urdu (234 million)

Language familyIndo-Aryan
Name in the languageاردو

The last one on our list is Urdu. Considered to be the language of love, Urdu has various beautiful poetry and other literary works. The language has several beautiful-sounding words and teaches the importance of respecting others while conversing. In fact, it was believed that only a handful of people could handle the weight of the language. 

Urdu (234 million)

Hindi and Urdu sound quite similar. If you know either one of the languages, you will easily understand the other. Urdu is mainly spoken in South Asia and is the official language of Pakistan and several Indian states (Telangana, Delhi, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, etc.). 

11. Indonesian (200 Million)

Language FamilyAustronesian
Name In The LanguageBahasa Indonesia

Indonesia is the fourth biggest country in the World in terms of population and the third largest democracy. Most natives of Indonesia do not speak their native language Bahasa Indonesia. There are only 45 million native speakers who speak this language, and 155 million speakers of this language are non-natives.

Bahasa Indonesian

Apart from Indonesia, this language is also spoken mostly in East Timor and Malaysia. If you are an English speaker, then learning this language will be much easier for you than a non-English speaker.

12. German (134 Million)

Language FamilyProto-Germanic
Name In The LanguageDeutsche

The German language is the official language of Germany, and it has over 75 million native speakers in the country. This language is mostly spoken in Europe, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Austria. German is also the fifth most language to be studied all over the world.

German Language

There are a few German speakers in the parts of Poland and Italy. If you learn this language, then you can capitalize on many opportunities, such as working in a large company that requires you to have knowledge of the German language.

13. Japanese 

Language FamilyJaponic
Name In The LanguageNihongo

Japanese is the 13th most spoken language in the world, with over 128 million native speakers. It is the official language of Japan and is also spoken in other parts of the world, such as Brazil, the United States, and Peru.

Japanese is a member of the Japonic language family, which is thought to have originated in Japan around 10,000 years ago. It is a unique language with a writing system that is based on Chinese characters.

14. Nigerian Pidgin

Language FamilyNiger-Congo
Name In The LanguageNaija Pidgin

Nigerian Pidgin, also known as Naijá or Naija, is an English-based creole language spoken as a lingua franca across Nigeria. It is estimated to have a speech community of over 75 million people, making it the most widely spoken African language and the most widely spoken pidgin/creole language in the world.

Nigerian Pidgin is primarily spoken in the oil state Niger Delta, where a significant portion of the population considers it their first language.

15. Marathi

Language FamilyIndo-Aryan
Name In The Languageमराठी

Marathi is an Indo-Aryan language predominantly spoken by Marathi people in the Indian state of Maharashtra. 

It is the official language of Maharashtra and an additional official language in the state of Goa. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India, with 72 million speakers. Marathi is also spoken by a significant diaspora community in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia.

My Verdict: English Is The Most Spoken Languages!

To summarize our article, English is the most spoken language in the world, with over 1.5 billion speakers, followed by Mandarin Chinese, with 1.3 billion speakers, and Hindi, with 615 million people.

You may be surprised that more than half of the speaking population does not even have English as their first language! 

There are plenty of options if you want to learn a new language. You can learn more about the best language learning methods to make learning a new language easier.

Another way is to pick an app! You can explore the best language learning apps that we have shortlisted to enjoy learning a new language!

FAQ: Most Spoken Languages 

Which is the rarest spoken language in the world?

While there are no accurate numbers for the rarely spoken languages, some of the most uncommonly spoken ones include Kawishana, Njerep, Paakantyi, etc. Such languages are spoken by less than ten individuals. 

Are there any dead languages?

Hundreds of languages have become extinct due to the zero number of speakers. Currently, 573 languages are known to be extinct, as they are not spoken or studied by anyone in the world. 

Which language is considered the most beautiful to speak?

Italian is considered to be the most beautiful language. Many find the language attractive due to rolled r’s, round vowels, and melodic rhythm. Additionally, Italian hand gestures are the cherry on top. 

What language is considered the oldest?

Sanskrit is the oldest language still spoken by tens of thousands of people. It originated in 1500-600 BCE in the Indian subcontinent. Currently, there are no native speakers of the language. People study to learn the language and choose to speak it. 

How does a language die?

Languages usually die when native speakers become bilingual and lose fluency in their traditional languages. They speak in their second or third languages more and lose proficiency in their first language. 

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