We probably assume that English is the most widely spoken language in the world so what’s the point?
According to Ethnologue that is no longer the case.
Counting the people who speak a language as their first language:
- Chinese has over a billion speakers
- Spanish is next with 427 million
- English is third with 339 million
- Arabic is fourth with 267 million
- Hindi is fifth with 260 million
Portuguese, Bengali, Russian, Japanese, and Lahnda ( variant of Punjabi) make up the rest of the top ten in that order.
However when it comes to the countries in which a language is established it’s a slightly different story.
- English is used in 106 countries
- Arabic in 58
- Chinese in 35
- Spanish in 31
- Russian in 17
- Portuguese in 12
The other languages mentioned above are found in fewer than 10 countries each.
So perhaps Brits needn’t start worrying too much yet although there are lots of words we use of foreign origin. And having a second language is good for your brain!