(English) Most important spoken languages

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  1. Chinese

Chinese is spoken by over 1.2 billion people, one billion of which speak Mandarin. 1 in 6 people in the world speak it, but they are mainly concentrated in China.

  1. Spanish

Spanish has over 400 million speakers and is considered to be the second most international language after English. It is the main language of most of South and Central America, Spain, and large areas of the USA.

  1. English

360 million people are native speakers of English and for 500 million people it is their second language. This explains why it is the most popular language for international relations and travel. It is considered the “lingua franca” for business. For some people, the English language still represents opportunity and a better quality of life.

  1. Hindi

India has 23 official languages, Hindi being one of them. It is spoken mainly in northern India and some parts of Pakistan. The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is pushing for Hindi to replace English as the preferred language in southern Indian states. Hindi has given us the words “shampoo”, “jungle”, “jodhpurs” and “bungalow”.

  1. Arabic

This language has over 250 million native speakers. Arabic and Chinese have so many dialects that they’ve all been grouped together for convenience. Writing and speaking Arabic is done very differently in the various regions the Arabic language is found in. For example, spoken Arabic in Oman and Morocco are so different that two philosophy professors from these countries might be able to discuss the ancient texts but would have trouble ordering lunch.

  1. Portuguese

This language spread greatly due to its colonial past. In the 15th century, Portuguese traders and conquerors took their language to Africa, Asia, and    the Americas. Today, Portuguese is the mother tongue of 215 million people in countries such as Brazil, Macau, Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique, etc.

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