The World's Most Spoken Languages

Following English and Mandarin Chinese, which language is the third most spoken native language in the world?

And the answer: Spanish.    

Photo credit: Anne Arundel Community College. 

Among native speakers, Spanish is one of the most spoken languages in the world. It's the first language for more than 460 million people in Spain, North America, and South America.

Language is constantly spreading, adapting and changing all around us. Even some of the world's most widely spoken languages, like English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese develop new word uses and associations nearly every day. The English language, for one, is notoriously complex, yet its vocabulary continues to grow exponentially every year. Many new words come from the fields of technology and science. Take for example, the longest word in the English language: Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, which is the name of a lung disease (try saying that three times fast). With words like that – not to mention the variabilities in meaning and spelling – it’s no surprise that the English vocabulary is overwhelming to so many people.

Meanwhile, Spanish is a relatively easy language to learn. Spanish is a phonetic language, meaning that each letter in Spanish represents a certain sound, and speakers pronounce these letters in the same way every time they speak. Luckily, this makes learning Spanish a whole lot easier than English.

The language of Hindustani, which contains Hindi and Urdu dialects, is another prominent language in India and Pakistan. With around 544 million speakers of Hindustani, many words from this language have made their way into others, such as English. For example, the words punch, sorbet, yoga, shampoo, bungalow, jungle, mantra, guru all come from Hindustani.

Learn more interesting facts about our world's languages here.


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