An astounding 7,097 languages are spoken in the world today, according to a recent report by Ethnologue. However, only 23 languages account for most of the world’s population and up to 90% will be extinct by 2100. We took a look at the 12 most widely spoken languages in 2016 and found out how different cultures wish each other a happy new year:
Still the world’s lingua franca, English has 375 million native English speakers and a vast majority of one billion people speak it as a second language.
(Pictured above) On January 1st, fireworks are meant to drive away evil spirits and bring good luck. Image source
2. Mandarin Chinese
Boasting a total of 1.1 billion native Chinese speakers and 982 million non-natives, it’s no surprise Mandarin is named one of the languages of the future.
Mostly influenced by the Sanskrit language, Hindi comes from the Persian word “Hind” that means “Land of the Indus River” and is one of India’s official languages.
The second most studied language in the world, Spanish has 329 million native speakers and is projected to reach 600 million speakers by 2050.
Spoken by 300 million people residing in the Arab League from Southwest Asia to Northwest Africa, Arabic is the official language in over 20 countries.
Portuguese is the official language of eight countries: Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé e Príncipe, with over 235 million speakers.
An official language in many international institutions, from the UN to the European Union to the Olympics Committee, it is estimated that French will be spoken by 750 million people by 2050.
Bengali, or Bangla, is predominantly spoken in South Asia by over 230 million people from Bangladesh and the Indian states of West Bengal and Tripura.
The most widely spoken of all Slavic languages, Russian is the official language in the Russian Federation and one of the six official languages of the United Nations.
About 105 million people speak German as their mother tongue and it is the official language in seven countries in the European Union.
One of the most difficult languages to learn, there are only one million people who speak Japanese as a second language and about 127 million native speakers.
With 78 million native speakers, Korean, also known as Kugo, is the official language of South Korea and North Korea, but also spoken in China, Japan and Russia.
If it’s not listed above, how do you say “Happy New Year” in your language? We’d love to learn more!