In today’s increasingly globalized world, having a shared means of communication—or an international language, rather—is more important than ever.
With over 1.1 billion speakers worldwide, English is currently the closest we’ve come to a lingua franca, a common language that connects people from different backgrounds.
However, Mandarin Chinese may one day catch up. Here’s a look at the top 10 most spoken languages across the globe:
|2||Mandarin Chinese||1,117 million|
|6||Standard Arabic||274 million|
While English and Mandarin Chinese come close when looking at their total number of speakers, English has a wider geographical distribution—it’s classified as an official language in 67 different countries worldwide.
In contrast, Mandarin Chinese is recognized as an official language in just five regions.
Top 10 Languages By Native Speakers
Things look slightly different when looking at total native speakers, or people who consider a language their first/primary one.
In this instance, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish outrank English:
|1||Mandarin Chinese||918 million|
|9||Western Punjabi||93 million|
This begs the question—will English remain the “dominant” language in the years to come, or will the world be switching to a new lingua franca in the future?