28 Feb

Facts about the Most Widely Spoken Languages in the World

According to language experts, there are 2,700 languages spoken around the world today and the most widely spoken languages are Chinese, Spanish, and English. Below are some interesting facts you might not know about the top three spoken languages:

Chinese Language Facts

  • Studies show that about one in five of the world’s population can speak a form of Chinese.
  • There is only one writing system of about 4,000 symbols for all Chinese dialects; these symbols are universally comprehensible.
  • With more than 800 million speakers, Mandarin is by far the most widely used form of Chinese. It is also the official language of the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong (which is now once more part of the PRC) and Taiwan.
  • Aside from Mandarin, other important Chinese dialect groups are Cantonese, Wu, Xiang, Min, Hakka and Gan. Most of the Chinese-speaking people in the U.S. speak Cantonese.

Spanish Language Facts

  • According to Instituto Cervantes, Spanish is spoken by 500 million people today and with its growing trend, the Spanish language will reach 600 million speakers by 2050.
  • When it comes to the largest population of Spanish speakers, Mexico is on the top of the list with 114 million speakers followed by the U.S. with 50 million speakers.
  • The Spanish language is also called Español and Castellano (the Spanish equivalent of “Castilian”) by the people who speak it. The labels usually vary regionally or according to the speakers’ political viewpoint.
  • Aside from French, Italian, Catalan, Romanian, and Portuguese, the Spanish language is also classified as a Romance Language.
  • Spanish was the diplomatic language up until the 18th century.

English Language Facts

  • The official language of the sky is English; all pilots speak English on international flights.
  • Because of a printing error, the nonexistent word “dord” appeared in the English dictionary from 1932 to 1940. It is now known as the “ghost word”.
  • ‘Uncopyrightable’ is the longest word in the English language that can be spelled without repeating any letters.
  • The longest word in English is a lung disease: ‘pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis’. It has 45 letters.
  • Around 4,000 new English words are added to the dictionary every year. That’s approximately one new word every two hours.

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