What is language?
Language is critical to human existence because it serves as a means of communication, showing expression, and also a medium of conserving human history. Across the ages, different languages have been in existence. While some languages are still in use, some have become obsolete as time passes by. Some of the ancient languages include Tamil (5000 years old), which is the oldest living language of the world, Sanskrit (5000 years old) known as the World’s Oldest Language, Egyptian (5000 years old), Hebrew (3000 years old), Greek (2900 years old), Basque (2200 years old), Lithuanian (5000 years old) and Farsi (2500 years old). Also, language can be classified into different families, namely Indo-European, Sino-Tibetan, Austronesian, Austroasiatic, Niger-Congo, Afroasiatic, Altaic, Japonic, and Tai-Kadai. However, the most spoken languages are Indo-European and Sino-Tibetan language groups.
At the moment, there are close to 7000 languages worldwide, and only 23 cover a large percentage of the world’s population, while some are relative to a particular set of people. This piece will provide facts on languages in the world and help understand how these languages can be used as a guide for personal use and other knowledge-oriented tasks.
List of the most spoken language in modern times:
Here is a list of the most spoken languages in the world by territorial dispersion and number of speakers across the globe.
With close to 1,348,000,000 English language speakers in the world in 2021, it is ranked as the most spoken language globally. Aside from the native speakers, some countries also adopt English as the official or second language. The strength of the English language speakers across the world can be compared to Latin and Greek in their heydays due to its universal usage and global acceptance. The English language is the default language of international business, technology, and tourism.
According to data released by Statista, Mandarin, a language used by Chinese people, is the second most spoken language in the world. The data also shows that in 2021, close to 1,120,000,000 billion people will be active mandarin speakers across the globe. Despite the closeness in the gap between mandarin and English speakers, the English language has an edge when considering the spread. In contrast, Mandarin is most common among native Chinese people and countries in the Southeast Asia region.
The third on the list of most spoken languages in the world is the Hindi language. This language is a common lingua franca in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and other 1600 languages coexisting under the Hindi language. As of 2020, the estimated Hindi speakers are pegged around 615 million people, while the native speakers are about 341 million people, and the figure of non-native speakers is 274 million.
With close to 534 million speakers globally, the Spanish language is no doubt one of the most spoken languages in the world. Of the 470 speakers, only 74 million people are native speakers, while the rest fall under non-native speakers. The Spanish language has its root in Spain. At the same time, notable speakers of the language can also be found in other continents such as South America, Central America, Africa, and some of the Caribbean Islands. The Spanish language is ranked the second most spoken language going by the number of native speakers. Also, due to migration, it is the second most spoken language in the United States.
If you are looking for the most spoken language in the middle east, don’t search too far because your best bet is Arabic. The Arabic language is an ancient language still in use in modern times. However, other languages have influenced the language. Arabic speakers cut across the Middle East, the horns of Africa, Sub-Sahara Africa, and some countries in Europe, especially some parts of Armenia and Turkey. As of 2021, the number of Arabic speakers across the world is around 274 million people. Out of this figure, 245 million are considered native speakers, while 29 million represent non-native speakers of the language. Today, the Arabic language is used as the official language of 26 countries globally, the liturgical language of Islam, and the Holy Quran. Also, to have a smooth business transaction in the middle east, understanding the Arabic language is a necessary tool you must have in your portfolio.
Bengali is a language also known as Bangla. It belongs to the Indo-European and Indo Iranian family of languages, and is commonly spoken in South East Asia. While many other regions speak Bengali as their native language, it is more profound in Bangladesh. The Bengali language is the national and official language of the government and the constitution of the state of Bangladesh. Bengali is also the second most widely used language after Hindi in India’s 22 scheduled list of languages. For instance, In the Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura, and the Bay of Bengal, the official and most widely spoken language is Bengali.
The language also enjoys popularity in the Indian states of Delhi, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, amongst others. At the diaspora level, Bangladeshi and India in Europe, the United States, the Middle East, and a host of other countries in different parts of the world have successfully contributed to spreading the language beyond its traditional root. As of 2021, Bengali language speakers peaked at 268 million people. Out of the figure, the native speakers represent 228 million while non-native speakers are 37 million people.
Many people may wonder why a language used in a small country like Bangladesh is on the list of most spoken languages globally. However, that is not the case because aside from Bangladesh, language speakers cut across different countries, especially in densely populated states like Burma and some parts of India.
Language is an essential part of human life, and it is one of the critical factors that distinguish humans from animals. Humans have been using language from time immemorial. While some languages have gone extinct, some other languages have been able to blend with time. Languages such as English, Mandarin, Hindi, Spanish, and Arabic combined represent the most spoken Lingua Franca in the world either by demography or territorial dispersion.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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