Top 10 Most Spoken Languages in the World

Presently, there are more than 5,000 different languages in existence today and only a few number of these languages are spoken by more than half the world’s population. Most times, what determines the language of a particular place is its colonial masters and the second factor is globalisation.


In this article, we shall focus on bringing you the top 10 most spoken languages in the world and perhaps where you can find these people.

Language is a tool for communication among humans and this means that people communicating must understand themselves. Currently, the most widely spoken language in the world is the English language while there are other native languages like Chinese, etc.

So, let’s look at the top 10 languages and the number of people speaking that language.


Top 10 Most Spoken Languages in the World

1. English (1.5 billion people)

  • First language: 372.9 million
  • Total speakers: 1.5 billion

The English language occupies the first position on our list as the most widely spoken language in the world. Spoken by over 1.5 billion people, in over 67 countries, English is used in international business, technology and even the internet is in English.

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2. Mandarin (1.14 billion people)

  • First language speakers: 929 million
  • Total speakers: 1.14 billion

The second most spoken language in the world is Mandarin Chinese which is the official language of the People’s Republic of China. Spoken by 1.14 billion people, Mandarin Chinese is considered the second most widely spoken language because it has over 929 Million native speakers and 33 other countries speak this language too.

3. Hindi (603 million people)

  • First language speakers: 344 million
  • Total speakers: 610 million

Hindi is the official language of India which happens to be the second largest population in terms of country and occupies our third position on the list. Hindi has over 344 million native speakers and other countries like Nepal, Fiji, Trinidad, Tobago, Suriname, and Guyana also speak Hindu making it fall into our third position.

If you want to carry out international trade with these countries, the knowledge of Hindus will be an added advantage. India is a major economic hub and they are advanced in tech, medicine, etc.

4. Spanish (559 million speakers)

  • First language speakers: 474.7 million
  • Total speakers: 559 million

Spanish is the second most spoken native language with over 475 million native speakers and it is the third most used on the internet. Standing in the fourth position, Spanish is spoken by over 21 countries and has been included as one of the languages of the United Nations.

In other countries for example the US, there are over 40 million Spanish speakers, making the United States of America the second country with the highest number of Spanish speakers in the world.


5. French (310 million speakers)

  • First language speakers: 79.9 million
  • Total speakers: 310 million

The French language is spoken by over 29 countries today. Having been the official language of the UN, EU, and other major organizations. French is the third language with the largest number of non-native speakers, meaning that it is the second most learned language after English.

French vocabulary has impacted other languages including the English language with over 40% of English words having a French origin.

6. Standard Arabic (274 million speakers)

  • First language speakers: 0 million
  • Total speakers: 274 million

Modern Standard Arabic is without native speakers, rather this language is used in newspapers, TV broadcasts, Movies, etc. It is the sixth most spoken language in the world with zero native speakers.

7. Bengali (273 million speakers)

  • First language speakers: 234 million
  • Total speakers: 273 million

Bengali is the official language of Bangladesh and it is also spoken in some parts of Burma and India. Being the second most spoken language after Hindi in India, it is considered to be an interesting language after French and English.

Interestingly, Bengali has over 273 million speakers, and it falls in the seventh position of the most spoken languages in the world.

8. Portuguese (264 million speakers)

  • First language speakers: 232 million
  • Total speakers: 264 million

Portuguese is the eighth most popular language in the world and the official language in 10 countries of the world. These countries are in South America, Africa, and Europe with over 232 million native speakers.


Only five per cent of Portuguese speakers actually live in Portugal which is believed to be the mother country of the language. Portuguese and Spanish are somehow similar and can help you learn romance languages.

9. Russian (255 million speakers)

  • First language speakers: 154 million
  • Total speakers: 255 million

Russian is the official language of Russia and is currently in the ninth position for the most spoken languages in the world. Spoken by more than 154 million native speakers, in over 19 countries, Russian is widely accepted and one of the United Nations languages.

10. Urdu (232 million speakers)

  • First language speakers: 70.2 million
  • Total speakers: 232 million

Urdu is one of the official languages in Pakistan and it has also spread to India. It is the last on our list of the top 10 most spoken languages in the world. It is spoken by over  232 million either as a first or second language.