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The world’s Top 10 languages, spoken by native speakers

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I battle to speak one language, English, and can barely order my lunch in Thai. And, whilst studying French for 7 years at school, I can only ask a French-speaker for the time or order coffee. Sacre Bleu! The world’s most common languages changes over time and a world interlinked on the internet and aviation, like never before, is making profound changes to the way we communicate, as a species..

You can be sure the ‘conversation’ will stir some heated debate over which is the most spoken languages, generally, and natively. But the numbers win (which we have updated from statistics in recent years).

For pop culturalists, we’re sad to report that neither ‘Klingon’ (used by the Star Trek foes) or ‘Minionese’ have made it into the top 10 most spoken languages in the world.

 

When tallied, according to number of native speakers only, the following are the most spoken languages in the world, the languages people learn as their primary spoken tongue. When you count the Top 10 most spoken languages – the total number of people who actually speak them natively and as a second or third language, English is just slightly ahead of Chinese as the most spoken language in the world.

But here are the Top 10 languages, as spoken by native speakers…

1. Chinese, 1.3 billion Native Speakers

1.3 billion native speakers, roughly 918 million of whom speak Mandarin Chinese. It’s definitely the most spoken language in the world with 1 in 6 of the world’s population being a native Chinese speaker. Seeing as Chinese is a tonal language that uses thousands of logograms, it will certainly keep you busy. Even if you only count the speakers of Mandarin Chinese, it still has more than twice the number of native speakers than the second most spoken language. China’s other main dialect is Cantonese, generally the lingua franca of southern Chinese.

2. Spanish, 460 million Native Speakers

Looking at native speakers, Spanish is just ahead of English with about 460 million native speakers. If you want a language that will open up entire continents to you, Spanish is considered a good choice. It is certainly the main language of the majority of South and Central America, Spain, and even large swathes of the US.

3. English, 380 million Native Speakers

You may have already noticed that this article is written in English, so you’re one of the 380 million native English speakers. An additional 754 million people speak English as a second or third language, not necessarily fluently. English has had success as the lingua franca (common language) of business, trade, travel, aviation and international relations. The pervasive cultural power of the US in the second half of the last century means that English still dominates the world stage, for now anyway. For people in developing nations, ‘English’ means ‘opportunity’ and a ‘better quality of life’.

4. Hindi, 340 million Native Speakers

To complicate matters, India has 23 official languages, with Hindi and Urdu leading the way. It is widely debated if these two dialects are separate or just one big language, Hindustani. It is spoken mainly in northern India and parts of Pakistan. At the moment there are moves to have Hindi displace English in the southern Indian states as the primary language of official communication. You probably didn’t know it, but you already speak Hindi when you use the words bungalow, shampoo, jungle, bandana, pyjamas, cashmere, punch (the drink) and jodhpurs.

5. Arabic, 317 million Native Speakers

Arabic, like Chinese, is again broken up into numerous dialects that some could even describe as separate languages just lumped together the sake of convenience. Modern Standard Arabic is a primarily written form, closely related to the Classical Arabic of the Quran.

6. Bengali, 228 million Native Speakers

Huh, what? That’s a language? Yep, and it’s number 6 on the list. People who speak Bengali are principally in the western parts of today’s India and Bangladesh. The Partition of Bengal by the British in 1947 separated West Bengal, now part of India, from its counterpart East Bengal, now Bangladesh. Bengali is the language of Kolkata, the Andaman Islands and 160 million Bangladeshis. The country is almost completely surrounded by Indian territory and faces the Bay of Bengal.

7. Portuguese, 220 million Native Speakers

Thanks to some intrepid explorers in the 15th century, Portuguese is spoken in a few colonial outposts and not just in Portugal. Portuguese traders and conquerors brought their language to Africa, Asia and the Americas. Apart from Portugal, the language is natively spoken in Brazil, Goa, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bisseau, São Tomé, Príncipe (all former Portugues colonies) and, interestingly, Macau.

8. Russian, 154 million Native Speakers

Russian remains one of the 6 languages spoken in the United Nations, and responsible for the literary classics of Dostoyevsky, Nabokov, Chekhov, Gogol and Tolstoy. Not a lot of Russian words have become commonly used in English, except maybe ‘Vodka’. Hmmmm.

9. Japanese, 128 million Native Speakers

Japanese speakers mostly live in Japan, one of the most ethno-centric cultures in the world. Japanese boasts two distinct written forms – hiragana and katakana, and makes extensive use of Chinese Kanji characters. Some Japanese speakers also live in the US, the Philippines and Brazil.

10. Lahnda, 118 million Native Speakers

Lahnda (Western Punjabi), is a Pakistani language that primarily includes Western Punjabi. The Punjab was sliced in two by the British when they left, and millions of people were forced to abandon their homeland. But they’re slowly taking their revenge, Bollywood-style. Punjabi music now account for 50% of Indian chart-toppers.

French? German? Indonesian? You get a chance in this next list, the most commonly spoken languages by the total number of people who speak them.

1. English, 1.134 billion total speakers

2. Mandarin Chinese, 1.118 billion total speakers

3. Hindi, 615 million total speakers

4. Spanish, 534 million total speakers

5. French 280 million total speakers

6. ‘Standard’ Arabic, 274 million total speakers

7. Bengali, 265 million total speakers

8. Russian, 258 million total speakers

9. Portuguese, 234 million total speakers

10. Indonesian, 199 million total speakers

The world's Top 10 languages, spoken by native speakers | News by ThaigerSOURCE: Babbel.com

 

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Issan John

    Saturday, September 19, 2020 at 10:44 am

    Mathematics does not appear to be the author’s strongpoint, since the 4th place at 34 million is considerably less than the 5th to 10th places at 317 to 118 million.

    Nor does linguistics, since Cantonese and Mandarin are different languages although they share the same written alphabet.

    Does Thaiger really need to fill up space with this tripe?

    • Avatar

      Mike

      Saturday, September 19, 2020 at 12:06 pm

      Chinese languages don’t have alphabets.

      Also, you forgot Minnan, Xiang, Gan, Wu, Minbei and Hakka

      • Avatar

        Dave

        Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 9:20 am

        Only someone who is very ignorant, think that 34 million people speak Spanish. Obviously there was an error typing and a digit was missing.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

New report confirms what many have thought: Covid probably spreads through air

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Photo via Facebook/CAAT - The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand

So does this study confirm what the general public and researchers have been thinking since the pandemic started… that Covid-19 spreads through the air? The new Australian report suggests that ventilation systems can spread the virus through the air.

Lidia Morawska, a professor at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, led a team of 39 scientists from 14 countries to conduct the study. The authors have set out to seek universal recognition that infections can be squashed by improving indoor ventilation systems. The team has asked the WHO to amend its indoor air quality guidelines to include airborne pathogens among others.

“No one takes responsibility for the air. It’s kind of accepted that the air could be of whatever quality — containing viruses and pathogens.”

Scientists are now calling for cleaner indoor air by overhauling ventilation systems. But it’s not just the coronavirus that can infiltrate someone’s lungs simply by breathing. The influenza virus and other respiratory infections would also be addressed by improving ventilation systems, which would save healthcare costs by reducing the number of infections. Researchers say the amount saved in medical care would offset the cost of revamping air filtration.

Since SARS-CoV-2 has been shown to multiply in the respiratory tract, and spread in variously sized particles emitted from a person’s nose and throat during breathing, speaking, singing, coughing and sneezing, the issue of air quality has stirred up controversy as the WHO has modified it wording due to the ever-changing research findings. Still, the WHO has maintained that the virus spreads “mainly between people who are in close contact with each other, typically within 1 metre.”

But aerosol sized particles can linger for hours and travel indoors, in which Morawska says the 1 metre rule is not a set in stone distance.

“There’s nothing magic about this 1 metre. The closer to an infected person, the higher the concentration of infectious particles and the shorter the exposure time needed for infection to occur. As you are moving away, the concentration decreases.”

Raina MacIntyre, a professor of global biosecurity at the University of New South Wales in Sydney says the mainstreamed false assumption has given way to a hygienic practise that has done little good, as it didn’t focus on the virus being transmitted through the air.

“This resulted in hygiene theatre… scrubbing of hands and surfaces for little gain, while the pandemic wreaked mass destruction on the world.”

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

 

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Drugs

Crystal meth worth nearly AUD$100 million found on Thai cargo ship in Sydney

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr/Maryland GovPics

Drugs worth nearly A$100 million dollars have been found hidden in heaters and barbecues on a Thai cargo ship docked in Sydney. It’s understood the drugs were discovered inside electric barbecue grills and water heaters.

9News reports that the Thai vessel was intercepted by police officers at Sydney’s Port Botany, with the authorities searching 62 large cardboard boxes after inconsistencies were noted in the consignment information. Officers found over 300 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine (ice), with an estimated street value of AUD$94.5 million.

The Organised Crime division of New South Wales Police is now investigating, alongside Federal Police and the New South Wales Crime Commission.

SOURCE: 9NEWS

 

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World

Escaped Bengal tiger in America captured after terrorising locals

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Stock photo via Wikimedia Commons

An escaped, 9 month old Bengal tiger, that has terrorised the city of Houston in the American state of Texas, has been captured unharmed. The tiger, named India, was being minded by the wife of its owner who is 26 year old Victor Cuevas.

The owner was recently seen on social media kissing the tiger before putting it in his car and driving away. The tiger was last seen a week ago, wandering around houses in the suburbs of the large city. Houston police commander, Ron Borza, says the animal was unharmed when they captured it and transferred it to an animal sanctuary.

“We got him, and he’s healthy.”

Videos showed an off-duty sheriff pulling a gun on the tiger, before Cuevas arrived to take it away. He did not tell police where the tiger had spent the last week, but said that his wife had always known its whereabouts. However, owning a tiger within the city limits of Houston, Texas is illegal. Police say that Cueva’s wife would not face charges. But Borza did tell news reporters that having a tiger was not good.

“You should not have that in your home. It’s not good for the tiger.”

India was transported to a sanctuary where it will have its own habitat with a .2 hectare of land which includes a wooded area and pool. But first, the seemingly healthy tiger will undergo a quarantine for 30 days before being introduced to its new home.

The WWF conservation group estimates that there are some 5,000 tigers living in captivity across America, a number greater than the entire world population of wild tigers. The state of Texas is one of the biggest offenders in taking wild animals captive.

According to media reports, Cuevas was arrested last week, but was released 2 days later, only to be arrested again another 2 days later. This wasn’t his first arrest, as he previously faced a murder charge. No other details were given on his arrests.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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