List of Languages

List of Languages Spoken in the World
List of Languages Spoken in the World

This article provides a list of languages spoken around the world.

What is Language?

Language refers to a system of human communication that involves a series of sounds made with the mouth. This is also known as speaking or verbal communication. The ability to use sounds to communicate thoughts and feelings is known as speech and is an essential human trait. The scientific study of language in any of its senses is called linguistics.

Although humans began with a single form of communication, the number of languages spoken worldwide ranges from 3000 to 6000. As humans evolved and moved to different world areas, their spoken communications evolved.

New languages emerged, as did different dialects and accents. Over time, those subtle differences developed into completely different languages.

Unfortunately, there is no universal form of communication, which leads to complications in communications across cultures and borders.

List of Languages Spoken in the World

Following is a list of languages spoken in the world and the approximate number of people that speak them. Please note that each may contain many different dialects based on regional and cultural differences:

1Chinese Mandarin

More than 1 billion people worldwide speak Chinese Mandarin, making it the most spoken language in the world. It is most commonly spoken in China, Singapore, and Taiwan.


More than 512 million people speak the English language.


More than 501 million people. It is the official language of India.


399 million people speak Spanish. Spanish is the official language of more than 20 countries. It is most commonly spoken in Central and South America, as well as parts of the Caribbean.


More than 285 million people speak Russian.


More than 265 million speak Arabic, mainly in Arab countries.


More than 245 million speak Bengali, mainly in South Asia.


196 million people speak Portuguese, mainly in South America.


140 million people speak Malay in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.


125 million people speak Japanese


100 million people speak German


78 million people speak the Korean language


77 million people speak French

14Chinese, Wu

77 million people speak Chinese, Wu


75 million people speak Javanese

16Chinese, Yue

71 million people speak Chinese, Yu

The number of people who speak each language continues to change every day, but the rank order of the list stays relatively consistent.

Questions and Comments

If you have any questions about this list of languages, please post a comment below.

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Michael Kissiah is the owner of Brandy Lane Publishing, LLC, which owns and operates a small portfolio of websites, including Michael created more than 20 years ago after working as a private investigator in the state of Florida. Since that time, he has become an expert at how to find information online and has written over 1000 articles on topics related to the investigation industry. In addition, he is the author of the "Private Investigator Licensing Handbook", available at


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