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Top 100 Languages In The World (2024)

The top languages in the world are commonly arranged according to the estimated number of speakers they have. Apparently that is in a bid to arrange them in order of importance, or viability- they are they languages that are least in danger of dying out.

However, another important factor which seems to have been completely ignored, is the fact that language can be an economic factor. People aiming for a career in business often choose a second language that will give them a career edge- because languages can make one rich.

The top languages in the world should therefore have an economic classification as shown by the areas where they are spoken.

Top 100 Languages In The World

1. English        

1.132 Billion Speakers

English Language is the most important language in the world; it is spoken by about 1.132 billion people. The most impressive thing about this language is that its speakers are spread throughout the world- English is spoken in every continent on the planet. This is as a direct result of the British Empire’s conquest of the world.

This gives English a distinct advantage; it explains why English is the preferred language of communication in political and business circles, and why young people are often encouraged to attain proficiency in this language so as to boost their chances in the business world.

 2. Mandarin Chinese

1.117 Billion Speakers

Mandarin Chinese is not too far behind; it is one of the world’s top languages with about 1.1 billion speakers. This is the language of China; with a population of 1.4 billion people; the largest in the world.

Chinese is also spoken in Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and Singapore. There are Chinese Populations (often called Chinatowns) in many countries across the world.

Chinese is powerful language in the world of business; in western countries it is one of the most sought after languages for those who aspire to go far in business.

3. Hindi           

615 Million Speakers

Hindi as we know it today is the modern version of an ancient language which is called Indo-Aryan because of its cultural origins. The language is spoken by a large section of the part of the population of India; especially in the northern, central, eastern, and western India.

It is important to mention that India is just as important as any other country in the world; it has a population of 1.4 billion people; although there are several languages spoken in that country.

Another thing to note is that most people in India at least understand Hindi; and there are large Indian Diasporas in every corner of the world.

4. Spanish

534 Million

Spanish is the language of Spain. It is an Indo European language; a term describing the geographical location where the language is most prevalent. The language is also described as a Romance Language; a term that describes its evolution- it came from Late Latin, or the spoken form.

Spain was quite the Empire leading up to our modern times, and so the Spanish language was spread by force of arms to a large section of the world. Today, Spanish is spoken in countries like Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Cuba, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Guatemala, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Equatorial Guinea

5. Indonesian

300 Million

Indonesian is the language of Indonesia. It is an Austronesian language; one that is very similar to standard Malay with which it is associated. Indonesian language has somewhere around 300 speakers; which is not surprising because Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world.

Indonesian is spoken in Indonesia; it is also spoken in East Timor- as a language of commerce.

6. French

280 Million

French is the language of France; it is also an Indo-European language as per the geographical location where it is mostly prevalent. French is also a Romance Language; meaning that Latin is its root.

The French were also aggressive conquerors during the 16th and 17th Centuries; although while the Spanish concentrated on South and Central America; the French concentrated on Africa. Therefore, French is spoken in Togo, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Madagascar, Mali, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, the Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, and Haiti.

French is also spoken in Canada, Luxembourg, Monaco, and Switzerland.

7. Arabic

274 Million

Arabic is an Afro Asiatic language; its origins are the Middle East and its surrounding cultures. Arabic is one of the top languages in the world by importance; it is spoken by around 274 million people, and has great cultural and religious importance.

Arabic was spread by force of the sword through much of North, West, and Central Africa; as well as other parts of the world.

Arabic is spoken in Algeria, Bahrain, Chad, Comoros, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, and Yemen. Arabic is also spoken to a lesser extent in many other countries.

8. Bengali

265 Million

Bengali is a language of India; it too is an Indo-Aryan language. Bengali is spoken by nearly 300 million people, but the region where it is prevalent is not too big. Bengali is spoken in the Bengal region of South Asia.

Bengali is spoken in India and Pakistan; and in whatever countries that have sizable diaspora populations of citizens of those countries. Bengali is an ancient language; it has developed in its spoken and written forms for over 1300 years.

9. Portuguese

234 Million

Portuguese is the language of Portugal; it too is a Romance Language; which means it originates from the language of the Romans who lived in the area which is now Portugal. With around 230 million speakers, this is one of the world’s biggest languages.

Portuguese is spoken in Portugal, and it is the official language of Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde and São Tomé and Príncipe. Portuguese is also widely spoken in East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, and Macau. It has a wider area where it is spoken.

10. Russian

200 Million

Russian is the language of Russia. It is of East Slavic origin; and belongs to the Indo European language family. Russian is spoken by over 258 million people; and it is mainly spoken in Russia. Russian was once a more powerful language; during the time of the Soviet Union it was the language of Government and Commerce.

Russian is still a lingua franca in some countries of the former Soviet Union; such as Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. It is also spoken and used for commerce in Ukraine and the Caucasus. There are about 2 million Russian speakers in Israel.

The following is a more extensive list of the top 100 languages in the world.

Position Language Total Speakers Native Speakers Language Origins and Classification
1 English 1,132M 379M Indo-European
2 Mandarin Chinese 1,117M 918M Sino-Tibetan
3 Hindi 615M 341M Indo-European
4 Spanish 534M 460M Indo-European
5 French 280M 77M Indo-European
6 Standard Arabic 274M Afro-Asiatic
7 Bengali 265M 228M Indo-European
8 Russian 258M 154M Indo-European
9 Portuguese 234M 221M Indo-European
10 Indonesian 199M 43M Austronesian
11 Urdu 170M 69M Indo-European
12 Standard German 132M 76M Indo-European
13 Japanese 128M 128M Japanic
14 Swahili 98M 16M Niger-Congo
15 Marathi 95M 83M Indo-European
16 Telugu 93M 82M Dravidian
17 Western Punjabi 93M 93M Indo-European
18 Wu Chinese 82M 81M Sino-Tibetan
19 Tamil 81M 75M Dravidian
20 Turkish 80M 69M Turkic
21 Korean 77M 77M Koreanic
22 Vietnamese 77M 76M Austronesian
23 Yue Chinese 74M 73M Sino-Tibetan
24 Javanese 68M 68M Austronesian
25 Italian 68M 65M Indo-European
26 Egyptian Spoken Arabic 65M 65M Afro-Asiatic
27 Hausa 63M 44M Afro-Asiatic
28 Thai 61M 21M Kra-Dai
29 Gujarati 61M 56M Indo-European
30 Kannada 56M 44M Dravidian
31 Iranian Persian 53M 53M Indo-European
32 Bhojpuri 52M 52M Indo-European
33 Southern Min Chinese 50M 50M Sino-Tibetan
34 Hakka Chinese 48M 48M Sino-Tibetan
35 Jinyu Chinese 47M 47M Sino-Tibetan
36 Filipino 45M Austronesian
37 Burmese 43M 33M Sino-Tibetan
38 Polish 40M 40M Indo-European
39 Yoruba 40M 38M Niger-Congo
40 Odia 38M 34M Indo-European
41 Malayalam 38M 37M Dravidian
42 Xiang Chinese 37M 37M Sino-Tibetan
43 Maithili 34M 34M Indo-European
44 Ukrainian 33M 27M Indo-European
45 Moroccan Spoken Arabic 33M 27M Afro-Asiatic
46 Eastern Punjabi 33M 33M Indo-European
47 Sunda 32M 32M Austronesian
48 Algerian Spoken Arabic 32M 29M Afro-Asiatic
49 Sudanese Spoken Arabic 32M 32M Afro-Asiatic
50 Nigerian Pidgin 30M Indo-European
51 Zulu 28M 12M Niger-Congo
52 Igbo 27M 27M Niger-Congo
53 Amharic 26M 22M Afro-Asiatic
54 Northern Uzbek 25M 25M Turkic
55 Sindhi 25M 25M Indo-European
56 North Levantine Spoken Arabic 25M 25M Afro-Asiatic
57 Nepali 25M 16M Indo-European
58 Romanian 24M 24M Indo-European
59 Tagalog 24M 24M Austronesian
60 Dutch 23M 23M Indo-European
61 Sa’idi Spoken Arabic 22M 22M Afro-Asiatic
62 Gan Chinese 22M 22M Sino-Tibetan
63 Northern Pashto 21M 21M Indo-European
64 Magahi 21M 21M Indo-European
65 Saraiki 20M 20M Indo-European
66 Xhosa 19M 8M Niger-Congo
67 Malay 19M 16M Austronesian
68 Khmer 18M 17M Austronesian
69 Afrikaans 18M 7M Indo-European
70 Sinhala 17M 15M Indo-European
71 Somali 16M 16M Afro-Asiatic
72 Chhattisgarhi 16M 16M Indo-European
73 Cebuano 16M 16M Austronesian
74 Mesopotamian Spoken Arabic 16M 16M Afro-Asiatic
75 Assamese 15M 15M Indo-European
76 Northeastern Thai 15M 15M Kra-Dai
77 Northern Kurdish 15M 15M Indo-European
78 Hijazi Spoken Arabic 15M 15M Afro-Asiatic
79 Nigerian Fulfulde 14M 14M Niger-Congo
80 Bavarian 14M 14M Indo-European
81 Bamanankan 14M 4M Niger-Congo
82 South Azerbaijani 14M 14M Turkic
83 Northern Sotho 14M 5M Niger-Congo
84 Setswana 14M 6M Niger-Congo
85 Southern Sotho 14M 6M Niger-Congo
86 Czech 13M 11M Indo-European
87 Greek 13M 13M Indo-European
88 Chittagonian 13M 13M Indo-European
89 Kazakh 13M 13M Turkic
90 Swedish 13M 10M Indo-European
91 Deccan 13M 13M Indo-European
92 Hungarian 13M 13M Uralic
93 Jula 12M 2M Niger-Congo
94 Sadri 12M 5M Indo-European
95 Kinyarwanda 12M 12M Niger-Congo
96 Cameroonian Pidgin 12M Indo-European
97 Sylheti 12M 10M Indo-European
98 South Levantine Spoken Arabic 12M 12M Afro-Asiatic
99 Tunisian Spoken Arabic 12M 12M Afro-Asiatic
100 Sanaani Spoken Arabic 11M 11M Afro-Asiatic



When looking at the top 100 languages in the world, one may see those at the bottom as the less viable- going towards extinction. This is not a sure thing; changes may occur in the future which may turn the tide. Furthermore, languages may spread through migration as they once spread through conquest- time will tell.