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Top 5 Languages Spoken Around the World

Posted on May 12th, 2012 by Apinant Hoontrakul

If you are looking to study a second or third language but don’t know which one to do, you may what to consider studying one of the top 5 languages spoken around the world. If you look online you will find that there are a number of websites listing these languages in a different order. Based on statistic, here are the languages that consistently rank as the top 5 languages spoken around the world.

Mandarin (Chinese) – As the world’s most populous country it is no surprise that Mandarin is also the most commonly spoken language around the world. With a population of over 1.3 billion people, there are many different Mandarin dialects that vary widely across the country – in fact, it varies so much that people from different regions may not understand each other. Most people think of Chinese as Mandarin Chinese, which is the official language of the country, and it is also the most widely spoken of all the Chinese dialects.

Spanish – As the official language in the majority of countries across Central and South America, Spanish has the second largest number of speakers around the world. Spanish is also spoken throughout Spain and in many parts of the United States. Language variations exist between speakers from different countries where words and phrases, and even pronunciation, can vary.

English – For non-English speaking students, English is most likely on the top of their second language list. Since English is widely considered to be the international language for Business, many students consider it to be top priority. International students who want to learn English usually consider studying in the USA, UK or Australia, but there are also many other English as a second language schools all around the world.

Arabic – Arabic is the official language for countries located in North Africa and the Middle East. Just like the other languages on this list there is a high degree of language variation depending on region and country.

Hindustani – As the official language in India it is also no surprise that it made the list because India is the 2nd most populous country in the world. According to the statistics, India is expected to overtake China as the number one most populous country in the coming years.

The decision of which language you should study is not a complex one, but it should not be based solely on how popular a language is either. Knowing how many people around the world is only part of this decision. No matter which language you study, if you are serious about it, consider studying in the country where your language is natively spoken. Check out our study abroad center to find a program that interest you.

11 Responses to “Top 5 Languages Spoken Around the World”

  1. Bill Chapman Says:

    I hope you’ll allow me to mention Esperanto, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.

    This language has some remarkable practical benefits. Personally, I’ve made friends around the world through Esperanto that I would never have been able to communicate with otherwise. And then there’s the Pasporta Servo, which provides free lodging and local information to Esperanto-speaking travellers in over 90 countries. Over recent years I have had guided tours of Berlin, Douala and Milan in this planned language. I have discussed philosophy with a Slovene poet, humour on television with a Bulgarian TV producer. I’ve discussed what life was like in East Berlin before the wall came down, how to cook perfect spaghetti, the advantages and disadvantages of monarchy, and so on. I recommend it, not just as an ideal but as a very practical way to overcome language barriers and get to know people from a very different cultural background.

  2. Mariz Says:

    It not a surprised seeing Mandarin occupied the top spot because of the population, but I’m really surprised that english was third, up to now i thought it was second.

  3. Kevin Says:

    Am fair well on speaking english but i still want learn spanish language,i been trying to get australia visa but is have soo much puzzle to well be because i have know enugh purchasing power.

  4. Harelimana Says:

    I am applying for Scholarships so that ,I can study English.
    Harelimana Aloys

  5. Brooke Says:

    thought for sure french would rank in there somewhere especially befor arabic come on seriousley?

  6. Abdur rahnan Says:

    Where is bangla language ?

  7. Jihed Naouar Says:

    am looking for continuing my education in eaurop… it sounds great … am specialised in arabic language … what shall i do to offer my education for a generation appreciate the civilisations histiry ???

  8. Bryanna Davis Says:

    Hi Jihed,

    Unfortunately we primarily have information on studying in the US. However, a good place to start is to decide on a college or university you would like to attend then contact them directly on how to apply.

    Good luck!

  9. Zuleika Coffie Says:

    I am proud of Arubans Curacao Bonaireans we in the caribbean speak 4 languages, including English, and Spanish, 🙂 which are the most on top 5

  10. Bryanna Davis Says:

    Hi Zuleika,

    That’s great! It looks like you have a great start to learning the top five languages!

  11. Cherif lansana Says:

    Why is not English the most spoken language around the world

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