The concept of world languages along with its criteria is controversial because it implies that some languages are better suited to international communication than others. Some authors argue that English is the best language for international communication, while others claim that French or Spanish are superior.
In addition, many countries have multiple official languages, and some even have several dialects within each language. Thus, the question arises as to how to define a single language that could serve as the basis for such comparisons.
Various definitions of the term world languages have been proposed, including:
- A language is called a world language if it is used as a common medium of communication between people who speak different mother tongues.
- A language is a world language if it serves as a second language for people whose mother tongue is another language.
- A language qualifies as a world language if it fulfills certain criteria, such as being widely known, commonly taught, and/or having a large population of speakers.
- A language becomes a world language if it gains recognition as such.
- A language can become a world language if it meets certain conditions, such as being widely spoken, well documented, and/or having literary works translated into it.
Knowing this information is essential to understanding if you’re planning a global expansion strategy and leveling up in the business world, as well as having the ability to communicate effectively across cultures and countries.
Additionally, whether in the workplace or in personal development, knowing more than one language offers us new horizons and the opportunity to expand our cultural understanding.
So keep reading to find out the top international languages that are most spoken in the world.
English as a global language
The number of people worldwide speaking English as a first or second language is growing rapidly. In fact, according to the United Nations, the number of native speakers of English grew by more than 400 million over the course of the 20th century. This growth reflects both the expansion of commerce and education throughout the world.
Why is English so popular, even among those who don’t speak it as a first or second tongue? One reason is that English is the de facto language of business. More than half of Fortune 500 company use English as part of their corporate culture.
And because English is such a useful tool for communication, it’s becoming the lingua franca of the internet too. A recent study found that nearly 80% of online searches are conducted in English. So if you want to reach a large audience, learning English could help you do just that.
According to the latest data from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), there are now more than one billion English speakers worldwide. This makes it the most widely spoken language in the world. In fact, English is the second most commonly used language in the world, behind Mandarin Chinese.
English is also the most common language among immigrants around the globe. There are over 380 million native speakers of English, while another 753 million speak the language as a second language.
Mandarin is one of the most commonly used languages in the world. In fact, there are more people speaking Mandarin than English. But what makes it such a popular language? Is it because it’s easy to learn? Or does it have something to do with the culture? Let’s take a look at some interesting facts about Mandarin.
India is home to about 400 different languages, making it the most linguistically diverse nation on Earth. In fact, there are more native speakers of Hindi (the language spoken in India) than there are people living in China, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and other countries.
Spanish is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. It is the second of the seven European languages, after English, with the greatest number of native speakers, according to data from the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The language is the second most common tongue worldwide, after Mandarin Chinese, and the second most commonly taught foreign language in schools around the globe.
In fact, Spain is the second country with more native speakers of the language than there are people living in China.
According to the latest estimates, there are approximately 456 million native speakers of the language, while another 74 million speak it as a second language. This makes Spanish the second most widely spoken language in the world, behind Mandarin Chinese, and the most popular among the Romance languages.
French is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. In addition to being used in over 200 countries, it is also the official language of 29 nations on different continents. As such, it is often referred to as the “language of diplomacy.” This is because it is the second language of choice for international organizations like NATO and UNESCO.
The use of French is especially important in France itself, where it is the primary language of education, government, and commerce. However, it is also the main language of the media, film, literature, art, fashion, and science.
Arabic is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. In fact, there are more native speakers of Arabic compared to English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, and Hindi.