First place and first language
There are over one hundred and ninety countries in the world and about seven thousand languages. In first place is China. There are over one billion speakers of Mandarin Chinese. In second place is India with speakers of Hindi. And in third place is Spanish. Spain isn’t a big country, but there are over four hundred million Spanish speakers in different countries around the world. This is very true in Latin America.
English as a global language
As a first language, English is in fourth place. About three hundred and eighty million people are native English speakers. But English is in first place as a second language for many other people. Over a billion people speak English for doing business, reading the news or studying science and medicine. In some countries, English is not the native language, but it is the official language for the government and in schools. And even in London, the capital city of Britain, there are over three hundred different languages.
The other 6,996 languages
Chinese, Hindi, Spanish and English are the ‘big’ languages. About eighty per cent of the world’s population speak them. But these are only four languages, so what about the other 6,996 languages? Many countries have lots of different languages. For example, on the islands of Vanuatu in the South Pacific Ocean there are sixty-five different islands and they have one hundred and nine different languages.
The last speakers
Finally, there are some languages with only one speaker. They are old people and they speak the language of their parents and grandparents. For example, Charlie Muldunga lives in Australia. He speaks English because it is the first language of the country. However, his native language is Amurdag. It’s an ancient language and he is the last speaker of
this Aboriginal language.
The most spoken language in the world is Chinese.