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Friday, July 22, 2011

10 Most Spoken Languages

ECGMA says: Thanks to my aussie buddy in Sydney, AK, who shared this with me.

10 Most Spoken Languages on Planet Earth:(Listed from 10th to 1st)

10. French
Number of speakers: 129 million
Often called the most romantic language in the world, French is  spoken in tons of countries, including Belgium, Canada, Rwanda, Cameroon, and  Haiti. Oh, and France too. We're actually very lucky that French is so popular, because without it, we might have been stuck with Dutch Toast, Dutch Fries, and  Dutch kissing (ew!). 
To say "hello" in French, say "Bonjour" (bone-JOOR). 

9. Malay-Indonesian
Number of speakers: 159 million
Malay-Indonesian is spoken - surprise - in Malaysia and  Indonesia. Actually,
we kinda fudged the numbers on this one because there are  many dialects of Malay, the most popular of which is Indonesian. But they're all pretty much
based on the same root language, which makes it the ninth  most-spoken in the world. 
Indonesia is a fascinating place; a nation made up of over  13,000 islands it is the sixth most populated country in the world. Malaysia  borders on two of the larger parts of Indonesia (including the island of  Borneo), and is mostly known for its capital city of Kuala Lumpur. 
To say "hello" in Indonesian, say "Selamat pagi"  (se-LA-maht PA-gee). 

8. Portuguese
Number of speakers: 191 million
Think of Portuguese as the little language that could. In the  12th Century, Portugal won its independence from Spain and expanded all over the  world with the help of its famous explorers like Vasco da Gama and Prince Henry  the Navigator. (Good thing Henry became a navigator . . . could you imagine if a  guy named "Prince Henry the Navigator" became a florist?) Because Portugal got in so early on the exploring game, the language established itself all over the world, especially in Brazil (where it's the national language), Macau,
Angola,  Venezuela, and Mozambique. 
To say "hello" in Portuguese, say "Bom dia" (bohn  DEE-ah).
 
7. Bengali
Number of speakers: 211 million
In Bangladesh, a country of 120+ million people, just about  everybody speaks Bengali. And because Bangladesh is virtually surrounded by  India (where the population is growing so fast, just breathing the air can get  you pregnant), the number of Bengali speakers in the world is much higher than  most people would expect. 

6. Arabic
Number of speakers: 246 million 
Arabic, one of the world's oldest languages, is spoken in the Middle East, with speakers found in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt. Furthermore, because Arabic is the language of the Koran, millions of Moslems in other countries speak Arabic as well. So many people have a working knowledge of Arabic, in fact, that in 1974 it was made the  sixth official language of the United Nations. 
To say "hello" in Arabic, say "Al salaam a'alaykum" (Ahl  sah-LAHM ah ah-LAY-koom). 

5. Russian
Number of speakers: 277 million
Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin, and Yakov Smirnoff are among  the millions of Russian speakers out there. Sure, we used to think of them as  our Commie
enemies. Now we think of them as our Commie friends. One of the six  languages in the UN, Russian is spoken not only in the Mother Country, but also  in Belarus, Kazakhstan, and the U.S. (to name just a few places). 
To say "hello" in Russian, say "Zdravstvuite"  (ZDRAST-vet-yah). 

4. Spanish
Number of speakers: 392 million
Aside from all of those kids who take it in high school, Spanish  is spoken
in just about every South American and Central American country, not  to
mention Spain, Cuba, and the U.S. There is a particular interest in Spanish  in the U.S., as many English words are borrowed from the language, including: 
tornado, bonanza, patio, quesadilla, enchilada, and taco grande supreme. 
To say "hello" in Spanish, say "Hola" (OH-la). 

3. Hindustani
Number of speakers: 497 million
Hindustani is the primary language of India's crowded  population, and it
encompasses a huge number of dialects (of which the most  commonly spoken is Hindi). While many predict that the population of India will  soon surpass that of China, the prominence of English in India prevents  Hindustani from surpassing the most popular language in the world. If you're  interested in learning a little Hindi, there's a very easy way: rent an Indian  movie. The film industry in India is the most prolific in the world, making  thousands of action/romance/musicals every year. To say "hello" in Hindustani, say "Namaste" (Nah-MAH-stay). 

2. English
Number of speakers: 508 million
While English doesn't have the most speakers, it is the official  language of
more countries than any other language. Its speakers hail from all  around the world, including the U.S., Australia, England, Zimbabwe, the  Caribbean,
Hong Kong, South Africa, and Canada. We'd tell you more about  English, but you probably feel pretty comfortable with the language already.  Let's just move on to the most popular language in the world. 
 
1. Mandarin
Number of speakers: 1 billion+
Surprise, surprise, the most widely spoken language on the  planet is based in the most populated country on the planet, China. Beating second-place English by a 2 to 1 ratio, but don't let that lull you into thinking that Mandarin is easy to learn. Speaking Mandarin can be really tough, because each word can be pronounced in four ways (or "tones"), and a beginner  will invariably have trouble distinguishing one tone from another. But if over a billion people could do it, so could you. Try saying hello! 
To say "hello" in Mandarin, say "Ni hao" (Nee HaOW).  ("Hao" is pronounced as one syllable, but the tone requires that you let your  voice drop midway, and then raise it again at the end.) 

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