Peter Sheil (petersheil) wrote,
Peter Sheil

The 20 Most Spoken languages

OK, I'll tell you all what I think. My data comes from the book "The Power of Babel" by John McWhorter.

The majority of the discussion was on livejournal_uk journal, so look there if you want to see it.

Several of you got very close or all corect on the top 5 and Stephen Booth got all 20 of them all correct - must have read my mind ;)

1. Chinese
There are just so many of them that they win hands down. I am presuming that the different Chinese dialects are all grouped together.
2. English
Including American, Australian and other dialects.
3. Spanish
The language of the future? With their higher birth rates the Spanish speakers are already more common in some areas of the USA and may predoninate one day. Scary thought for some Americans I'm sure.
4. Hindi
Surprised me, but there are several of the languages of the Indian sub-continent on the list.
5. Arabic
Another surprise for me.
6. Bengali
7. Russian
Just so many of them I guess :)
8. Portugese
This high because of their colonies in Africa and S America.
9. Japanese
There is a rumour that it is this high only because of the number of people who learnt it to try and understand the instructions on consumer electronics gadgets :))
10. German
I expected this to be higher - I am euro-centric I guess.
11. French
Same here - with all their colonies (and Canada) I thought they'd be higher.
12. Punjabi
13. Javanese
A surprise - you don't think they are including JavaScript in this do you?
14. Bihari
15. Italian
16. Korean
17. Telugu
I don't even know where this and the following two languages come from. Just call me ignorant :)
18. Tamil
19. Marathi
20. Vietnamese
A surprise for me.

Well it was interesting seeing other people's views. There is, of course, no "right" answer for this as it is changing day by day and it is very dependant on how you actually do the counting. Maybe we could just randomly dial phone numbers and see what language people reply in? *grins and shudders at ending a sentence preposition with*

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