Do you know how many languages there are in the world? I didn't until I read an article about the most popular languages spoken globally. It turns out that there are 6, 909 different languages! But only about six percent of them have over a million speakers. As the world becomes more globalized, so does the learning of language. Learning a second language, or third, or fourth can be beneficial if you're in business or do much traveling. There are ten languages that currently dominate the globe. Here they are:
1. Chinese/Mandarin with 882 million speakers
2. Spanish with 325 million speakers
3. English with 312-380 million speakers
4. Arabic with 206-422 million speakers
5. Hindu with 181 million speakers
6. Portuguese with 178 million speakers
7. Bengali with 173 million speakers
8. Russian with 146 million speakers
9. Japanese with 128 million speakers
10. German with 96 million speakers
With 1.3 billion people, it's no big surprise that Chinese is the number one language. But in a country so large and so diverse, they are able to sustain many unique and interesting languages. When we speak of the Chinese language, we are referring to all their different languages and dialects. Because it is the most common of all the dialects, Mandarin and Chinese are often used interchangeably.
Here are the Chinese dialects in order of popularity.
And this, just in case you're wondering why there are so many Spanish-speakers these days. Spanish isn't generally spoken in Africa, Asia, and the majority of Europe but it is still the second most-spoken language globally. The Spanish language spread through colonization of places like South, Central, and large parts of North America. Before becoming part of the US, the now states of Texas, California, New Mexico, and Arizona were all part of Mexico...a former colony of Spain. And while Spanish isn't common in Asia, it is fairly common in the Philippines. It, too, was a former colony of Spain. There are many dialects of Spanish depending on what country and region you're visiting. And although the dialects can sometimes cause confusion, it doesn't prohibit Spanish speakers from communicating with one another.
As for English, after World War II, the United States led the world in technology and medical advancements. it was advantageous, then, for students in these fields to learn English. As globalization grew, more and more parents world-wide encouraged their children to learn English. just like most other languages, English can be very different depending on who's speaking. British, or the Queen's English, can sound very different from American English. And the English spoken in southern states can vary from that which is spoken in the north.
Whatever language you speak, be proud of it. You no doubt share it with millions of others. Without language, we'd still be communicating through crude drawing on the walls of our caves (or lily pads)!