Geographical distribution of languages worldwideEnglish is spoken in England. German in Germany. But how far has which language actually spread?
English and French are often considered "world languages" in the Western world, but due to the high population figures in China and India, the national languages there are instead by far the most frequently spoken mother tongues in the world.
Although Spanish has only been taught in schools for a few decades, the language is even more widespread than English. The latter spread through the British Commonwealth globally, but primarily in small countries. Spanish, on the other hand, is extremely widespread in Central and South America.
|Mother tongue||Spoken||Official language||Worldwide percentage||Worldwide total|
|Chinese||25 countries||5 countries||17.1 %||1,350 M|
|Hindi||8 countries||India||7.3 %||578 M|
|Spanish||34 countries||21 countries||5.8 %||455 M|
|English||58 countries||39 countries||5.2 %||412 M|
|Arabic||33 countries||22 countries||4.7 %||371 M|
|Bengali||2 countries||Bangladesh||3.5 %||279 M|
|Portuguese||18 countries||10 countries||2.9 %||228 M|
|Russian||22 countries||3 countries||2.0 %||157 M|
|Punjabi||3 countries||-||1.9 %||151 M|
|Japanese||4 countries||Japan||1.6 %||126 M|
|Javanese||1 country||-||1.4 %||108 M|
|Telugu||1 country||-||1.3 %||101 M|
|Marathi||1 country||-||1.2 %||99 M|
|French||46 countries||39 countries||1.2 %||98 M|
|German||20 countries||6 countries||1.2 %||96 M|
|Urdu||3 countries||Pakistan||1.1 %||89 M|
|Tamil||5 countries||2 countries||1.1 %||89 M|
|Vietnamese||4 countries||Vietnam||1.1 %||86 M|
|Korean||6 countries||2 countries||1.0 %||79 M|
|Turkish||11 countries||2 countries||1.0 %||78 M|
|Gujarati||1 country||-||0.8 %||63 M|
|Italian||16 countries||3 countries||0.8 %||62 M|
|Persian||3 countries||2 countries||0.8 %||60 M|
|Hausa||2 countries||-||0.7 %||58 M|
|Malay||7 countries||4 countries||0.7 %||57 M|
|Kannada||1 country||-||0.7 %||52 M|
|Pashto||2 countries||Afghanistan||0.7 %||51 M|
|Yoruba||2 countries||-||0.6 %||47 M|
|Oriya||1 country||-||0.6 %||45 M|
|Malayalam||1 country||-||0.6 %||45 M|
Decreasing linguistic diversityThere are currently around 6,500 languages in the world. The country with the most languages and dialects is probably Papua New Guinea, a country on the border between Asia and Australia with historically numerous trade relations in large parts of Asia, Australia and Oceania. There are said to be over 800 individual languages there. In the U.S. alone, over 300 different languages are spoken, about 170 of which originated in the Americas.
It is noticeable that the density of languages around the equator is increasing significantly. In Central Africa, South and Southeast Asia and Northern South America, there are numerous different languages and dialects, the diversity of which does not occur in other regions. The reasons for this are primarily of a social and ecological nature. In regions with higher ecological risks and thus greater dependence on fellow human beings, there are more numerous and closer social ties. This results in a much smaller number of different languages. Conversely, this means that in small and fertile countries, more independent peoples with less economic dependence are formed.
Only 1,000 years ago, the number of languages worldwide was about 9,000. Due to increasing globalization, however, this number is steadily decreasing and is leading to linguistic homogeneity. It is assumed that in 2050, there will be only about 4,500 languages left, only 3,000 in 2100 and only 100 by the beginning of the 23rd century.