Whether you’ve been to every country in the world or have never left your neighborhood, we all have to communicate somehow. These 10 most popular languages are spoken more than any others in the world. Though many believe that English will eventually become a universal language, the fact that humans have created so many diverse languages is proof that each language is special, unique and useful in its own way. Check out the 10 most popular languages in the world below.
Number Ten: Punjabi. Approximately 102 million people speak Punjabi, which is commonly heard in India and Pakistan. Punjabi is the only living language of all Indo-European languages that is fully tonal, meaning tone, rather than grammar, is used to differentiate meaning between homonyms.
Number Nine: Japanese. With 125 million speakers, Japanese is the ninth most popular language in the world. Almost all Japanese speakers (124 of the 125 million) live in Japan or the island group of Okinawa.
Number Eight: Russian. One of the United Nation’s six official languages, 155 million people speak Russian. Russian is the most geographically widespread language in Eurasia.
Number Seven: Bengali. At 205 million speakers, Bengali is the seventh most popular language in the world. It is India’s second most widely spoken language.
Number Six: Portuguese. There are 215 million Portuguese speakers in the world. However, 150 million of them speak a version called Brazilian Portuguese, which is the most common variant of the language.
Number Five: Arabic. The language of Muslim holy writings, Arabic is spoken by 295 million people. Arabic is also hugely influential, as there are about 4,000 Spanish words with Arabic roots.
Number Four: Hindi/Urdu. Hindi and Urdu may be written differently, but they share many common words, grammar and have a history together. More than 310 million people speak Hindi, Urdu or both.
Number Three: English. Though English used to be the second most popular language in the world, there has been an influx of Spanish-speaking people over the course of the last 15 years. There are 360 million English speakers in the world.
Number Two: Spanish. Second on our list is Spanish, which has 405 million speakers in the world. There are several dialects of Spanish, including Castilian (the national standard), Andalusian, and Catalan.
Number One: Mandarin. Finally, at number one on our list of the world’s most popular languages is Mandarin, which is one of the five primary Chinese dialects. More than 955 million people speak Mandarin, and it is the official language of both China and Taiwan.