How many languages do you know? If the answer is one, two, or even three, you’ve got some work ahead of you: there are over 6,500 languages spoken all over the world. Keep reading to see the 30 most common languages spoken, as well as how many native speakers each language has.
30 Most Common Languages Spoken in the World
Most Common Languages in the World: 1-10
If you’re interested in learning a second language, the top 10 spoken languages in the world would be a good start. Many modern industries prefer their employees to be fluent in at least two of these languages.
The top 10 spoken languages in the world are:
2. Mandarin Chinese
6. Modern Standard Arabic
None (second language only)
It’s true that English has more total speakers than Mandarin Chinese. However, when you compare the number of native speakers from each language, you’ll see that there are more than half a million more native Mandarin Chinese speakers than native English speakers. Many more people around the world learn English as a second language.
Another interesting fact about these languages is that there are no listed native speakers of Modern Standard Arabic. While there are millions of speakers of different Arabic dialects around the world, Modern Standard Arabic is primarily taught in schools as a second language.
Most Common Languages in the World: 11-20
An avid news reader likely wouldn’t be surprised about the list of top 10 languages spoken around the world. But can you name the next 10 most common languages? Check out this list to round out your knowledge:
19. Yue Chinese
These languages are more localized than the top 10 languages. Compare the number of total speakers versus native speakers. You’ll find that many of these languages are primarily composed of native speakers with a small population of second or third-language speakers.
For example, there are roughly 126,400,000 Japanese speakers in the world. Of that group, there are only 200,000 non-native speakers. Languages like Yue Chinese and Turkish are similarly represented by large groups of native speakers in China and Turkey.
Most Common Languages in the World: 21-30
The next group of common languages don’t have as many speakers as the top 20 – when added together, they still don’t match up to the number of English or Mandarin Chinese speakers. However, they still represent a significant number of people from several continents around the world. They include:
21. Lahnda (Western Punjabi)
22. Wu Chinese
26. Egyptian Arabic
56. 5 million
Lahnda, Wu Chinese, and Egyptian Arabic are different dialects of languages mentioned above. They are larger groups of many regional dialects, and as you can see, they consist mainly of native speakers. Other languages, such as Hausa and Thai, are popular second languages to learn.
The Value of a Second Language
If you’re on your way to becoming a polyglot, learning about the 30 most common languages around the world is a great start. These languages facilitate communication and understanding, and the more people understand from each other, the better. Check out a guide about how to say “hello” in different languages, or read up on 20 ways to say “thank you” around the world.