The World's Most Widely Spoken Languages

Jun 22nd, 2015
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Comrie (1998), Weber (1997), and the Summer Institute for Linguistics (SIL) 1999 Ethnologue Survey comparing the number of speakers of each language and the number of countries using each language.What are the world's most widely spoken languages? This question is a very interesting one that has a rather complicated answer.

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The World's Most Widely Spoken Languages(Work updated on July 21, 2010)Comrie (1998), Weber (1997), and the Summer Institute for Linguistics (SIL) 1999 Ethnologue Survey comparing the number of speakers of each language and the number of countries using each language.What are the world's most widely spoken languages?This question is a very interesting one that has a rather complicated answer. Estimates of how many people speak a language are quite general and can vary considerably. For example, English estimates vary from 275 to 450 million, Spanish from 150 to over 300 million, Hindi from 150 to 350 million, and Russian from 150 to 180 million.To further complicate matters, the definition of speaker can be vague. Some surveys of languages give information on native speakers only. Others count both native speakers and secondary speakers (those who use the language regularly or primarily even though it is not their native language).Lastly, it is important to consider not only the population (number) of language speakers, but also the geographic distribution of these languages. Some languages have relatively large populations of native speakers but are used a

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