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What are the world’s most widely spoken languages?

June 3, 2010

If I were asked, I would put Chinese on the first place as there are 1.3 billion of Chinese people (this is 22% of the whole population on Earth).  So it looks if one knows and speaks Chinese, then he/she can communicate with every fifth inhabitant on the planet. But unfortunately they live far away.

Using the same principle I would give the second place to the second most populated country – India. What kind of language do they have there? It seems to me hindi? Though I’ve never come across any writings in hindi, but the billion inhabitants should communicate with each other somehow.

The third place I would give to English. Lots of people study it at school, colleges and Universities. Fourth is to Spanish, as besides Spain almost the whole Central and South American speaks it. The Fifth is to Russian. Though Russians are the only one who speak Russian, but it used to be the language of the biggest state – USSR.

As a matter of fact the most widely spoken languages are listed in the following way:

1. Chinese 1,210,00,000 – Brunei, China, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Malaysia, Panama, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam

2. Hindi 487,000,000 – India, Nepal, Singapore, S. Africa, Uganda

3. Spanish 358,000,000 – Castilian Spanish 74% (official nationwide); Catalan 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2% (each official regionally)

4. English 341,000,000 – Australia, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, Cameroon, Canada, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, The Gambia, Ghana, Guyana, India, Ireland, Israel, Lesotho, Liberia, Malaysia, Micronesia, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, S. Africa, Suriname, Swaziland, Tonga, U.K., U.S., Vanuatu, Zimbabwe, many Caribbean states, Zambia.

5. Arabian 320,000,000 – Egypt, Sudan, ALgeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Lybia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, Yemen, UAE, Oman, Iraq, Lebanon

Quite interesting, but it is quite visible that there are neither Tatarian, Kazakh, Czech, Hungrarian and so on that we meet quite often during the day.  But on the other hand there is a big list of India’s languages that we do not use at all.

What languages would you like to learn?

Freelance Translation Studio
www.ft-studio.com

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