Top 10 most widely spoken languages


There are over 6900 languages in the world, but interestingly with only 10 of them cover almost half of the world’s population. Read on to find out which languages got into the top 10 languages with the highest numbers of native speakers.


The below list is based on information from ( who provide very reliable source of information about languages. This particular list is based on numbers of native speakers, and the total number of people speaking these languages is 3.2 billion!


The top ten are:

  1. Chinese,
  2. Spanish,
  3. English,
  4. Hindi,
  5. Arabic,
  6. Portuguese,
  7. Bengali,
  8. Russian,
  9. Japanese,
  10. Javanese



It is not surprising to see Chinese at the very top of the list with almost 1.2 billion people using it as their native language. However, it is important to note that there are 13 distinct dialects recognised by Ethnologue. Mandarin is by far the largest Chinese dialect and accounts to over 848 million native speakers, which is over twice as many as Spanish native speakers which has about 406 million.


English is in the third place with 335 million native speakers. It would be very interesting to see how the list would change if the non-native speakers had been taken into account. English would probably overtake Spanish, but would it overtake Chinese too? We’ll try to find this out, and will share as soon as we come across some reliable data.


This top 10 list is closed off by Javanese which is mainly spoken in Indonesia and has 84.3 million native speakers. It just beat German to this spot by 500,000 speakers.


Another interesting part of this data is the number of languages where these languages are spoken in significant numbers. English has the highest count with 101 countries listed. Arabic is second from this point of view with 59 countries, and Chinese is third with 33 countries.


Some of these languages also made into the top ten languages most useful international business languages rated by businesses in the UK, which we covered in our last blog (link…). This time around we looked at the global audience, so if you ever decide to communicate with almost half of the world’s population, translate your messages into these ten languages and you’ll be addressing an audience of nearly 3.2 billion people.


Do get in touch if you wish to translate your messages into these 10 (or any other) languages and our translators will love to help out.


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10 languages which cover half of the population

10 languages which cover half of the population


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