The 20 most spoken languages ​​in the world in 2023

Although many people have wondered what are the most spoken languages ​​in the world in 2022 , it is common for speculations and false beliefs to come to mind faster than deciding to do a quick internet search.

But the answer is much more complicated than you think, and has nothing to do with the number of countries that speak a language or the number of people with this or that mother tongue, but with something much less considered: the facts.

Various historical events have motivated people to decide to learn a language or another, and this includes both the facts that appear in books and the will of each individual to work at what they want.

At the Lingua language center , we wanted to answer this question in order to explain in a more general way the reason for our preference for certain languages , especially Western ones, which support communication with the rest of the world.


These are the most widely used languages ​​in the world

1.  English  – 1,121 million speakers

It is the most widely spoken language in the world due to the global influence of England and the United States over the past three centuries.

It is not the mother tongue of most people, but it is the language that most people are trying to learn. With English, there is no country or culture that is not accessible in the globalized world. This is the  lingua franca of the  21st century.

2. Mandarin Chinese – 1,107 million speakers

Mandarin Chinese is the language with the most native speakers. But in recent years, the number of people who want to learn this language as a second or third language has increased. This is due to the importance of China for the economic development of world companies, both as a country that produces raw materials and as a developer of technologies.

3. Hindi – 698 million speakers

This is another language that is almost entirely spoken by native speakers. But something similar to China is starting to happen: people want to do business with India, and speaking the language has become an important option.

However, the difference with China is that in India almost 350 million people can communicate in English in a basic way and 100 million speak it correctly.

4.  Spanish  – 512 million speakers

Spanish is an official language in Spain, 19 countries in the Americas, and one in Africa. But its impact goes much further because of migration.

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For example, in the United States today more Spanish is spoken than in Spain itself.

Speaking Spanish has become an opportunity for professionals from all kinds of professions. That is why it is one of the most studied languages ​​in the world.

5.  French  – 284 million speakers

For centuries, French has been considered the language of art and culture. This is still the reality in some aspects, but the language goes much further.

Francophonie includes 29 countries in the world, excluding territories that are still French colonies.

6. Arabic – 273 million speakers

The beauty of this language continues to amaze linguists around the world. Because he has sounds in his pronunciation that are foreign to the western world, there has always been a fear of immersing himself in his teachings.

However, the experience of his teachings surprised the growing number of enthusiasts who were initially attracted to trade with the countries of the Middle East.

7. Bengali – 265 million people

This language cannot go unnoticed. It originated more than a thousand years ago and is part of the Eastern Indo-Aryan sub-branch.

Today it is spoken in basically two places: Bangladesh and West Bengal.

8. Russian – 258 million speakers

As extensive as the Russian territory is the use of its language. It is a mixture that arose between several Slavic languages ​​and classical Greek.

This is where its special alphabet comes from, which, according to its practitioners, is the easiest to learn simple, sonorous and interesting language.

9.  Portuguese  – 234 million speakers

In the business world, Brazil is not referred to as another market, but as another planet. It is a completely different world than the one they know in the rest of Latin America.

Therefore, speaking Portuguese opens the door to a new world.

In any case, the language presents an opportunity outside of Brazil, as it is spoken in Portugal and several African countries.

10. Indonesian – 200 million speakers

Although the majority of the population of the Republic of Indonesia is currently bilingual, their mother tongue is Indonesian.

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It is also spoken in various parts of Malaysia and East Timor.

Despite its millions of inhabitants, it is used more often in urban Indonesia than in rural areas.

11. Urdu – 170 million speakers

Although it is the official language of Pakistan, its use in northern India has grown considerably in recent decades.

Urdu is written from right to left with the same alphabet used for Arabic and Persian. However, its origin is different from that of the two languages. Passed down by the Mongols from northern India, it has been practiced for centuries thanks to trade.

12. Japanese – 150 million speakers

Although Japan is only 377,975 kilometers long, it has a population of 126 million. However, in order to speak consistently about the language, we need to include other corners of the world such as Palau, Marshall Islands, Guam, Hawaii, Micronesia, South Korea, Taiwan and some others…

If with Portuguese we would say that the language opens the door to another planet, with Japanese we would have to talk about another universe.

It is a different culture, which does not even have to be related to the Western one. The differences are so great that sometimes there are no common places between Japan and the rest of the world. And all this is the most interesting and attractive thing about learning Japanese.

13. German – 135 million speakers

Germany’s leading position in Europe makes it a very attractive language to study. It is also spoken in Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and Belgium, as well as in many regions of Central Europe.

Its number of speakers is debated, as in addition to the 135 million we name here, a 2018 study calculates that there may currently be 298 million people who speak it at varying levels of proficiency.

14. Punjabi – 100 million speakers

It is an Indo-European language spoken in eastern India, in the Punjab region.

Its origin is in the Pracritic dialects.

Punjab is home to some of the oldest civilizations in the world, the Indus Valley. The study of their language is therefore of great interest especially to linguists and scientists.

15. Javanese – 84 million speakers

It is a language spoken in the area of ​​Indonesia, mainly on the island of Java.

16. Wu Chinese – 80 million speakers

This dialect of Chinese is spoken in various parts of the east of the country. In addition, emigration has also caused it to be frequently used in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

17. Telugu – 79 million speakers

It is another of the languages ​​of overpopulated India, which is spoken mainly in the west of the country (in the states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh).

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It is currently the fastest growing language in the United States. Between 2010 and 2017 alone, the number of speakers in this country increased by 86%.

According to the Fundación Gente Télugu, the increase in the number of speakers in the United States is due to the strong ties between the city of Hyderabad, India, and the engineering industry in America.

Tegulu is the mother tongue of many of Asia’s top engineers.

18. Turkish – 78 million speakers

The importance of the Turkish language is the same as the importance of Turkey as a country: they are the link between Europe and the East.

It belongs to the Turkic language family, which extends from western China to the Balkan Peninsula.

19. Korean – 77 million speakers

It is the official language of South Korea and North Korea. Technology is the main reason to learn this language. However, popular culture was one of the keys to bringing young people closer to the language.

Music groups like Black Pink or BTS have created authentic industries around the so-called K-Pop, which has made learning the language much more attractive.

20. Marathi – 74 million speakers

Another language of India. This country has 22 official languages ​​according to its constitution, although the two main ones are English and Hindi.

The most beautiful thing about Marathi is its wonderful literary tradition, which has put India on the map of world literature several times through its famous writers.

It is the language spoken in the city of Mumbai.

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