We are people on the move. Work and leisure take us all over the world, and speaking at least a handful of phrases in the local tongue is not only personally helpful but courteous to those we encounter. With a few words, our ability to connect and learn from diverse peoples grows considerably.
Actually, there are numerous benefits to learning a language. Research suggests that multilingual people experience dementia at a later age compared to those who speak only one language as knowledge of two or more languages strengthens memory and listening as well as reading and problem-solving skills. Overall, it promotes a keener mind.
And in the process, not only does the first language improve, math skills, reading comprehension, and even one’s IQ improves. In addition, knowing more than one language is attractive to employers, expanding our career potential.
Here are some of the most common languages spoken around the globe. You may be surprised at what they are and their ranking.
- Chinese/Mandarin—37 countries, 13 dialects, 1,284 million speakers
- Spanish—31 countries, 437 million
- English—106 countries, 372 million
- Arabic—57 countries, 19 dialects, 295 million
- Hindi—5 countries, 260 million
- Bengali—4 countries, 242 million
- Portuguese—13 countries, 219 million
- Russian—19 countries, 154 million
- Japanese—2 countries, 128 million
- Lahnda—6 countries, 119 million