Saturday, October 1, 2011

Top ten most popular languages by number of native speakers

According to Ethnologue, a widely cited reference for languages around the world, most popular languages are:

1. Chinese

The Chinese language is native for 1 billion 213 million people. What is more, it has an official status in the following countries: China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore.

2. Spanish

Besides Spain it is a spoken language almost everywhere in Latin America. Spanish is native for 329 million people.

3. English

Curiously enough but English is third most popular language by native speakers; it goes only after Chinese and Spanish. Though in the latter case the gap is only 1 million. Thus, English is native for 328 million people. Moreover, this number can be disputed; both English and Spanish can share the second place.
Unlike Chinese and Spanish the English language is spoken in 112 countries located around the world: in Europe (the UK, Ireland), North America (the USA, Canada), Australia, Africa (South Africa, Nigeria, Zimbabwe), Asia (Singapore, Malaysia).

4. Arabic

Arabic is the fourth world’s most popular language; it is native for 221 million people and has an official status in 57 countries.

5. Hindi

Hindi, an official language in India and Fiji Islands, is the fifth most popular world’s language. It is native for 182 million people.

6. Bengali

It has an official status in Bangladesh; about 181 million people speak this language. What is more, Bengali is spoken in the Indian state of West Bengal.

7. Portuguese

Portuguese is the seventh world’s most popular language; it has an official status in 9 countries: Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Macau, São Tomé and Príncipe and East Timor. Portuguese is native for 178 million people.

8. Russian

Russian, the most popular language among other Slavic languages, ranks eighth. It has an official status in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kirgizia, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, state of New York the USA, Moldova (Gagauzia and Transnistria). It is native for 144 million people.

9. Japanese

It is the ninth world’s most popular language; Japanese has an official status only in Japan but it is also spoken in North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Peru and Australia. 125 million people speak this language.

10. German

German is the tenth world’s most popular language; it is native for 110 million people. What is more, it has an official status in the following countries: Germany, Belgium, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium, the EU, and a local status in some regions of Denmark, Italy, Poland, Vatican (Administrative and commanding language of the Swiss Guard).