Languages With the Most Native Speakers

Languages of the world.
Languages of the world.

Language has existed throughout human history. It develops from linguistic elements within the society and spreads through conquests, trade, immigration, cultural interactions, and colonization. Every community develops a native language that serves as a first language in both verbal and non-verbal forms. Thanks to China's large population, Mandarin is the most spoken native language in the world. The following are the most spoken native languages in the world.

The Most Spoken Languages

Mandarin Chinese

About 950 million native speakers speak Mandarin while a further 200 million users as a second language. Mandarin was developed in China and is part of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages. The largest number of native speakers are in China, but it is also spoken in Taiwan, Malaysia, and Singapore. Mandarin consists of various dialects that vary depending on the region. The traditional form of the language is so complex that the government established a simplified form.


Spanish is the second most spoken native language with approximately 450 million native speakers. A further 75 million use it as a second language, and 22 million are actively learning it. Spanish was developed in the Iberian Peninsula as the Celtic speaking Celtiberians interacted with the Latin-speaking Romans. Further interaction with the Germanic tribes and North African Arabs give rise to the Castilian dialect that evolved into standardized Spanish. The language was brought to the Americas during colonization. Native speakers are found in Spain and Latin American countries including Costa Rica, Mexico, Chile, El Salvador, and Guatemala.


English is the most spoken language in the world. It is used by 360-400 million as a native language, 750 million as a second language, and 600-700 million as a foreign language. English evolved from several linguistic influences introduced to Great Britain by persistent invasions from Germanic tribes, Vikings, and Celts. It was introduced to North America by early European settlers and to Africa and the East during the colonization period. It is a native language in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and Australia. It is used as a second language and in an official capacity in former British colonies.


Hindi is the official language of India. It is spoken by 320 million native speakers and as a second language by 270 million. Hindi evolved from the ancient Sanskrit language spoken by the Aryan settlers of northwest India. The development of Hindi was influenced by Portuguese, Dravidian, Turkic, Arabic, English, and Persian languages. Outside India, Hindi is spoken in Nepal, Mauritius, Saudi Arabia, and by Indian communities around the world.


The various dialects of the Arabic language are spoken by 290-310 million native speakers and as a second language by 270 million. Arabic is a Semitic language that was developed in the Arabian Peninsula and spread across the Middle East and North Africa by Arab traders. It is the official language of most Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Qatar, Iran, and Afghanistan.

Fastest Growing Languages

French is the fastest-growing language due to its popularity as a second language. Approximately 230 million people currently speak French, and by 2050, it is estimated that 750 million would be speaking the language. A misconception is that Arabic is a language that should be spoken by Arabs only, but that is far from the truth. It is among the three fastest-growing languages in the United States and the fastest growing language on the internet. Spanish and Mandarin are also popular second languages.

Languages With the Most Native Speakers

Rank´╗┐LanguageNative Speakers (Millions)
1Mandarin (entire branch)955
7Bengali (Bangla)205

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