(ORDO NEWS) — There are 6,909 languages in active use in the world today, although only about six percent of them have more than a million speakers.
As globalization becomes more widespread, so does the study of languages. People in different countries see the value of learning a foreign language to improve international business relations.
As a result, the number of people speaking certain languages will continue to grow. Currently, 10 languages dominate the globe.
Here is a list of the 10 most popular languages spoken worldwide, along with the number of countries in which the language is spoken and an estimated number of speakers of the main or first language:
Chinese/Mandarin – 37 countries, 13 dialects, 1,284 million speakers
Spanish – 31 countries, 437 million people
English – 106 countries, 372 million people
Arabic – 57 countries, 19 dialects, 295 million people
Hindi – 5 countries, 260 million
Bengali – 4 countries, 242 million
Portuguese-13 countries, 219 million
Russian-19 countries, 154 million
Japanese-2 countries, 128 million
Lahnda-6 countries, 119 million
Languages of China
With over 1.3 billion people living in China today, it’s no surprise that Chinese is the most widely spoken language. Due to China’s size and population, the country is able to support many unique and interesting languages. Speaking of languages, the term “Chinese” includes at least 15 dialects that are common in the country and abroad.
Since the most common dialect is Mandarin, many people use the word “Chinese” to refer to it. Although approximately 70 percent of the country’s population speaks Mandarin, many other dialects are also spoken in the country.
Mutual intelligibility between these languages varies depending on how close they are to each other. The four most popular Chinese dialects are Mandarin (898 million speakers), Wu (also known as Shanghainese, 80 million speakers), Yue (Cantonese, 73 million), and Ming Nan (Taiwanese, 48 million).
Why are there so many Spanish speakers?
Although Spanish is not spoken in most countries in Africa, Asia and Europe, this has not stopped it from becoming the second most spoken language. The spread of the Spanish language is associated with colonization.
Between the 15th and 18th centuries, Spain colonized much of South, Central and much of North America. Prior to incorporation into the United States, territories such as Texas, California, New Mexico, and Arizona were part of Mexico, a former Spanish colony. Although Spanish is not commonly heard in most of Asia, it is very common in the Philippines as they too were once a colony of Spain.
Like Chinese, Spanish has many dialects. The vocabulary of these dialects varies greatly depending on which country the person is in. Accents and pronunciation also vary by region. While these dialectical differences can sometimes cause confusion, they do not prevent cross-communication between native speakers.
English is the global language
English was also a colonial language: British colonial activity began in the 15th century and continued into the early 20th century, including as far afield as North America, India and Pakistan, Africa and Australia. As with Spain’s colonial activity, every country colonized by Great Britain retained a number of English speakers.
After World War II, the United States led the world in both technological and medical innovation. Therefore, for students wishing to work in these areas, learning English was considered beneficial. With globalization, English has become the common language.
This has led many parents to push their children to learn English as a second language in the hope of better preparing them for the world of business. English is also a useful language for travelers to learn as it is spoken in many parts of the world.
Global Language Network
Thanks to the popularity of social networks, the development of a global language network can be traced through book translations, Twitter and Wikipedia. These social networks are only available to the elite, people who have access to both traditional and new media.
Statistics on the use of these social networks show that while English is clearly the central node in the Global Language Network, other intermediate nodes used by the elite to communicate business and scientific information include German, French, and Spanish.
At present, languages such as Chinese, Arabic and Hindi are much more popular than German or French, and it is likely that the use of these languages in traditional and new media will grow.
Contact us: [email protected]