Most Spoken Languages

The method by which people communicate has vastly changed over the past century. Advancement in technology enabled us to talk to people who are miles away from us and the difficulty in interacting with other people has diminished immensely. The problem in communicating with others who are far from us is no longer an issue because we are now living in a world of interconnectivity.

Nevertheless, amidst the advancement that we are achieving, the system by which we communicate with others has not changed. We speak of the most fundamental method of communication – Language. Whether in spoken or written form, language has always been the key to an effective communication.

Though the ranks of the most spoken language may interchange slightly, we can safely assume that these languages are constant on top tier of spoken languages. According to Ethnologue’s 19th Edition, here is the list of top 10 most spoken languages in the world:

RankLanguagePrimary CountryTotal CountriesSpeakers(millions)
1Chinese [zho]China351,302
2Spanish [spa]Spain31427
3English [eng]United Kingdom106339
4Arabic [ara]Saudi Arabia58267
5Hindi [hin]India4260
6Portuguese [por]Portugal12202
7Bengali [ben]Bangladesh4189
8Russian [rus]Russian Federation17171
9Japanese [jpn]Japan2128
10Lahnda [lah]Pakistan8117

Did it come to you as a surprise? While English might be the most common international spoken language, it was not the most spoken language in the world.  It only comes into 3rd place next to Spanish and Chinese (Mandarin). Do note that this graph is a rough estimation as we cannot quantify it with 100% accuracy.

Nevertheless, being able to speak and understand from any of the most spoken languages in the world will give you an advancement in effective communication. Having the capability to communicate with a secondary language allows you to express yourself better to other people and it helps you gain confidence in conveying yourself as well.


Lewis, M. Paul, Gary F. Simons, and Charles D. Fennig (eds.). 2016. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Nineteenth edition. Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Online version: