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The 10 Most Spoken Languages in the World and The Fastest Ones

The 10 Most Spoken Languages in the World and The Fastest Ones

idiomas más hablados del mundo

What are the most spoken languages in the world? – One of the best linguistic resources, The Ethnologue Catalogue of World Languages, lists 6.912 living languages.  About 6% of them have more than a million speakers each, and collectively account for 94% of the world population.

Before discovering the most spoken languages… did you know that some languages are faster than others?

Some languages ​​have a higher rate of syllables per second, so they are technically faster than others.

What are the fastest languages?

Unfortunately, no extensive studies have been conducted on the speed of speech in different languages. The most recent essay on the subject was published in 2019 in Science Advances.

This report postulates that not all languages ​​condense the same amount of information in a single syllable.

There are “complex” languages, like Vietnamese, where messages are transmitted with a bunch of syllables heavily loaded with meaning; and there are “simpler” languages, such as Japanese or Spanish, where the information load in each syllable is much lighter – resulting in the need for more syllables – and longer constructions.

This is known as “language efficiency”. And based on it, some languages ​​are more efficient than others.

As it turns out, the rhythm and pace of every language depend on their efficiency: languages ​​in which syllables condense less information tend to be spoken very quickly, with many syllables per second.

And of all the languages ​​examined in this study, which ones are the fastest, you may be wondering.

1. Japanese, 2. Spanish, 3. Basque, 4. Finnish, 5. Italian, 6. Serbian, 7. Korean, 8. Catalan, 9. Turkish, 10. French, 11. English, 12. German, 13. Hungarian, 14. Mandarin Chinese, 15. Cantonese, 16. Vietnamese, 17. Thai.

It’s about time. Here there are the most spoken languages in the world:

10. German. Over 90 million native speakers, it’s official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol in Italy, Liechtenstein and the German-speaking Community of Belgium.

Listen to our German voice over demos here

9. Japanese. Over 120 million people. The vast majority of Japanese speakers live in Japan.

Listen to our Japanese voice over demos here

8. Russian. Spoken by 144 million, it is not only official language in Russia, but also in many minor or unrecognized territories throughout Eurasia.

Listen to our Russian voice over demos here.

7. Bengali. Perhaps you didn’t see this one coming. The main language of Bangladesh. With 190 million, it is one of India’s official languages.

Listen to our Bengali voice over demos here.

6. Portuguese. If it weren’t for Portugal’s colonies in the past, Portuguese wouldn’t be in this list. Of its 220 million native speakers, 200 million are from Brazil.

Listen to our Portuguese voice over demos here.

5. Arabic. Official language in 20 countries and co-official in at least 6 more, it’s the native language of 290 million people.

Listen to our Arabic voice over demos here.

4. Hindi. With over 310 million speakers, it is one of the most widely spoken languages on the planet. It shares co-official status with 21 other languages in India.

Listen to our Hindi voice over demos here.

3. English. Certainly is the leading global language, but its native speakers number is “only” 360 million worldwide.

Listen to our English voice over demos here. 

2. Spanish. Used in about 30 countries. It is also the primary language in Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States of America. It has 400 million native speakers. If you want to know a little bit more about the Spanish language click here.

Listen to our Spanish voice over demos.

1. Mandarin Chinese. And the winner is… Mandarin! 960 million native speakers in the world!!! Mandarin is by far the largest of the Chinese dialect groups, and it is spoken by 70 percent of the Chinese speakers over a large geographical area.

Listen to our Chinese voice over demos here.

These are only ten of the languages and accents available in our voice over agency. If you want to check out our more than 2.000 talents in over 90 languages, click here and start working with Dani Voice Overs right away!

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12 thoughts on “The 10 Most Spoken Languages in the World and The Fastest Ones

  • Samson Paraguya

    How many people in the world speak Filipino/Tagalog?

    • Borja

      Hello Samson,

      About 50 million speak Filipino/Tagalog in the Philippines, and 24 million people worldwide.

      Have a wonderful day!!

  • Robert Anderson

    English deserves the first position

  • Kyaw Min Tun

    What about Indonesian language?

    • Borja


      Indonesian is the mother tongue of 23 million people. If we add those who have it as a second language, the figure goes up to 156 million people.

  • Toppest World

    Thanks for the above awesome information. I really appreciate your research on this article. I am impressed by the way you write this whole blog post. This blog can really help a lot of people who are unknown about the above topic. We are also of the same category, so if you want to know more about this topic then you can also check the post on our website too.

  • 悅樂 Kebahagiaan

    How about “Bahasa Indonesia” and “Bahasa Melayu”?

    Bahasa Indonesia: 198,000,000
    43 milion native speakers, 155 milion L2 speakers

    Bahasa Melayu: 470,430,000
    18,5M from Malaysia, 173M L2 speakers
    700K native speakers from Singapore
    266k native speakers from Brunei
    1B native speakers from South Thailand
    11,23M native speakers from Indonesia

    so total of “Bahasa” speakers is 668,43M+
    this is a fact!

  • Jenna

    hello, do you know how many people speak french?

    • Borja

      Hello Jenna,

      It is estimated that 75 million people worldwide speak French as a first language.

  • norah

    Thank you for your great job.
    I have a question: Why is the number of native Arabic speakers only 290 million? There are many more Arabic speakers in the world, all citizens of Arab countries speak Arabic as their mother tongue with the exception of 5 million Kurds in Iraq, there are also many immigrant Arabs who live in non-Arab countries, there are Arabs in Iran and Turkey as citizens as well, this may make Arabic speakers more than 400 million and all of them speak it fluently.
    I know that there are many Arabic dialects, and yet it should not be considered another languages because all these dialects are understandable and all Arabs can communicate with each other.

  • David

    A few years ago the English were the most spoken language.
    Chinese is growing fast but Spanish?

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