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.
9. Japanese. Over 120 million people. The vast majority of Japanese speakers live in Japan.
8. Russian. Spoken by 144 million, it is not only official language in Russia, but also in many minor or unrecognized territories throughout Eurasia.
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.
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.
5. Arabic. Official language in 20 countries and co-official in at least 6 more, it’s the native language of 290 million people.
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.
3. English. Certainly is the leading global language, but its native speakers number is “only” 360 million worldwide.
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.
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.
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!