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Languages of the World List, Most Spoken & Oldest Languages in World

Languages of the World

Across the globe, more than 7,100 languages are spoken, contributing to the world’s diversity. Busuu, a language spoken by 8 people in Cameroon, is an endangered language. In contrast, there are languages spoken by millions of people. English remains the most frequently spoken language (primary and second language). More than 1.4 billion people speak English around the world. According to various studies, there are more than 7,100 languages spoken around the world. However, only 2 of them have a population of one billion or more: English (1,132 million speakers) and Mandarin (1,117 million speakers).

From the standpoint of competitive examinations, the list of world languages is an important topic. In the General Awareness section of government exams such as SSC, Bank, and RRB, candidates may encounter questions about World languages or the most spoken language in the world.

This article will discuss the world’s languages. Candidates studying for exams will learn about world languages, the most spoken languages in the world, the world’s first language, and so on. The topic will assist candidates in acing the general awareness section of the examination.

List of Languages of the World

Languages of the World by the number of speakers are listed below, along with their family.

Language Family Total No of Speakers
English Indo-European 1.452 billion
Mandarin Chinese

(incl. Standard Chinese, but excl. other varieties)

Sino-Tibetan 1.118 billion
Hindi (excl. Urdu) Indo-European 602.2 million
Spanish Indo-European 548.3 million
French Indo-European 274.1 million
Modern Standard Arabic (excl. dialects) Afro-Asiatic 274.0 million
Bengali Indo-European 272.7 million
Russian Indo-European 258.2 million
Portuguese Indo-European 257.7 million
Urdu (excl. Hindi) Indo-European 231.3 million
Indonesian (excl. Malay) Austronesian 199.0 million
Standard German Indo-European 134.6 million
Japanese Japonic 125.4 million
Nigerian Pidgin English Creole 120.7 million
Marathi Indo-European 99.1 million
Telugu Dravidian 95.7 million
Turkish Turkic 88.1 million
Tamil Dravidian 86.4 million
Yue Chinese (incl. Cantonese) Sino-Tibetan 85.6 million
Vietnamese Austroasiatic 85.3 million
Tagalog Austronesian 82.3 million
Wu Chinese (incl. Shanghainese) Sino-Tibetan 81.8 million
Korean Korean 81.7 million
Iranian Persian (excl. Dari and Tajik) Indo-European 77.4 million
Hausa Afro-Asiatic 77.1 million
Egyptian Spoken Arabic (excl. other Arabic dialects) Afro-Asiatic 74.8 million
Swahili Niger-Congo 71.4 million
Javanese Austronesian 68.3 million
Italian Indo-European 67.9 million
Western Punjabi (excl. Eastern Punjabi) Indo-European 66.4 million
Kannada Dravidian 64.0 million
Gujarati Indo-European 62.0 million
Thai Kra–Dai 60.7 million
Amharic Afroasiatic 57.5 million
Bhojpuri Indo-European 52.5 million
Eastern Punjabi (excl. Western Punjabi) Indo-European 51.7 million
Min Nan Chinese (incl. Hokkien) Sino-Tibetan 49.7 million
Jin Chinese Sino-Tibetan 47.1 million
Yoruba Niger-Congo 45.6 million
Hakka Chinese Sino-Tibetan 44.1 million
Burmese Sino-Tibetan 43.0 million
Sudanese Spoken Arabic Afro-Asiatic 42.3 million
Polish Indo-European 40.6 million
Algerian Spoken Arabic Afro-Asiatic 40.3 million
Lingala Niger-Congo 40.3 million

Oldest Languages of the World

  • Tamil is the world’s first language, spoken by approximately 120 million people worldwide. Following Tamil is Sanskrit, which is followed by Greek, Chinese, Hebrew, and Arabic.
  • Sumerian, which dates back to 3500 BC, is the oldest written language, followed by Egyptian, which dates back to 3300 BC. Old Chinese dates from 1250 BC.
  • German was the first language to be printed. It was not the first language to be written, but it was the first to be printed on a book.

Toughest Language of the World

Mandarin Chinese is widely regarded as the most difficult language in the world to learn. They lack Alphabets and use symbols instead, and it is estimated that the average Chinese local knows more than 8000 symbols, whereas reading a newspaper requires more than 3000 symbols.

At more than 73 characters, the alphabet for the Cambodian language is the longest. One of the hardest languages to learn on your own is the Cambodian language.

Most Spoken Languages of the World

English is most often used. English is widely used and accepted, is an official language in the majority of nations, and is simple for many people to acquire. The fact that English is the language used on aeroplanes adds to the language’s domination in the world. Both the pilot and his staff are fluent in English. The most widely utilised languages on the internet are English and French. Every country in the world teaches these two, and some of those nations have chosen one of them to serve as their official national tongue. Several languages have had a significant influence on English.

One of the continents where the English language has been widely embraced in Africa. Compared to the UK, which has over 60 million English speakers, Nigeria has about 90 million. The  United States alone has over 24 different dialects of English. A native speaker can tell you that persons from Boston, New York, California, and other cities have distinctive accents.

Classical Languages of the World

Every language with an independent literary tradition and a sizable and lengthy body of written literature is considered to be classical. As spoken languages diverge more from the classical written language over time, classical languages are frequently dead languages or exhibit a high degree of diglossia. Chinese, Sanskrit, Arabic, Greek, and Latin are classical languages of the world.

Classical Languages of India

In India, six languages are currently classified as ‘Classical’:

  • Tamil (declared in 2004),
  • Sanskrit (2005),
  • Kannada (2008),
  • Telugu (2008),
  • Malayalam (2013), and
  • Odia (2014).

List of Official Languages in Different Country

More than 190 official languages from various nations are listed in the table below.

Languages of the World
Countries Official Languages
Albania Albanian
Ethiopia Amharic
Algeria, Bahrain, Chad, Comoros, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen Arabic
Sudan Arabic, English
Armenia Armenian
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan
Bangladesh Bengali
Vanuatu Bislama
Myanmar (Burma) Burmese
Andorra Catalan
Malawi Chichewa
China Chinese, Mandarin
Czech Republic Czech
Denmark Danish
Afghanistan Dari
Maldives Dhivehi
Belgium, Suriname Dutch
Bhutan Dzongkha
Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cameroon, Canada, Fiji, The Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Federated States of Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, United Kingdom, United States of America, Zambia English
Singapore English, Malay, Chinese, Tamil
Pakistan English, Urdu
Estonia Estonian
Finland Finnish
Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Republic of the Congo, Côte-d’Ivoire, Djibouti, France, Gabon, Haiti, Mali, Monaco, Niger, Senegal, Switzerland, Togo French
Netherlands Frisian
Georgia Georgian
Austria, Liechtenstein, Germany German
Greece Greek
Bolivia, Paraguay Guaraní
India Hindi, English
Hungary Hungarian
Iceland Icelandic
Indonesia Indonesian
Ireland Irish
Italy, Vatican City (Holy See) Italian
Japan Japanese
Kazakhstan Kazakh
Cambodia Khmer
The Democratic Republic of the Congo Kikongo
Rwanda Kinyarwanda, French, English
North Korea, South Korea Korean
Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyz
Laos Lao
Latvia Latvian
Lithuania Lithuanian
Luxembourg Luxembourgish
Macedonia Macedonian
Madagascar Malagasy
Malaysia, Brunei Malay
Malta Maltese
Moldova Moldovan
Mongolia Mongolia
Montenegro Montenegrin
Zimbabwe Ndebele, English, Shona
Nepal Nepali
Norway Norwegian
Palau Palauan, English
Iran, Tajikistan Persian
Poland Polish
Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, Sao Tome and Principe Portuguese
Peru Quechua
Romania Romanian
Russia, Belarus Russian
Samoa Samoan, English
San Marino San Marino
Central African Republic Sango
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Serbia Serbian
Seychelles Seychellois Creole
Sri Lanka Sinhala, Tamil
Slovakia Slovak
Slovenia Slovene
Somalia Somali
South Africa Sotho
Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Philippines, Spain, Uruguay, Venezuela Spanish
Taiwan Standard Chinese
Kenya, Tanzania Swahili
Uganda Swahili, English
Swaziland Swati, English
Sweden Swedish
East Timor (Timor-Leste) Tetum
Thailand Thai
Eritrea Tigrinya
Guinea, Papua New Guinea Tok Pisin
Botswana Tswana
Bulgaria, Cyprus, Turkey Turkish
Turkmenistan Turkmen
Ukraine Ukrainian
Uzbekistan Uzbek
Vietnam Vietnamese
Nigeria Yoruba

Important Facts about World Languages

Languages are dynamic and the numbers are constantly in flux. There are approximately 6500 languages in the world, possibly more, many of which are unknown to most people because they are less widely spoken than other languages. According to research, 40% of the world’s languages are now endangered, with fewer than 1,000 speakers remaining, and only 23 languages account for more than half of the world’s population.

With so many languages spoken in the United States, there is no official language; some people believe it is English, but it is not. There are so many settlers that the official language is becoming muddled. A language dies when there is no one to speak it or record it in written form. The dialect dies out, and there are currently 241 extinct languages. Only 23 languages are spoken by more than half of the world’s population. This is in comparison to over 7000 languages.

Papua New Guinea has the greatest number of languages in the world. It has 841 languages, but 40 of them are expected to become extinct because only a few people speak them. Today, French is known as the “love language” around the world. Not only because of the accent, but France and Italy are well-known as romantic destinations, and it also happens to be the most prevalent in these countries.

The Rotokas language is Papuan, and it is known to have only 11 letters. As a result, it is the smallest alphabet. Basque is the only language in the world that is unrelated to any other. It is spoken between Spain and France in the mountains. Russian is one of the most beautiful languages to learn. It’s also considered by most people as the language of war.

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How many languages are there in the world?

Today, over 7100 languages are spoken throughout the world. Chinese, the language with the most native speakers, has 13 variants, whereas Arabic has 20 variants, reflecting the diverse range of countries and cultures in which it is spoken.

Who is No 1 language in world?


What are the 23 main languages?

Arabic, French, Persian, German, Russian, Malay, Portuguese, Italian, Turkish, Lahnda, Tamil, Urdu, Korean, Hindi, Bengali, Japanese, Vietnamese, Telugu, and Marathi are the main languages of the world.

What are 7000 languages?

7000 Languages is a non-profit organisation that develops free language-learning software in collaboration with Indigenous communities worldwide. Children who learn their heritage language have higher self-esteem, perform better in school, and are more likely to graduate, according to research.

Is Tamil or Sanskrit older?

Tamil is older than Sanskrit.

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