Infographic Category Education

The Most Spoken Languages in the World and Their Origins

By | source:Here Jan 5th, 2022

What are the most spoken languages in the world and where did they originate? This visualization traces the major language groupings and how they have progressed over time.

What is the most spoken language?

The language with the most total speakers is currently English with around 1.13 million total speakers. Next is Mandarin with 1.12 million total speakers. These numbers look dramatically different if you break it down into native and non-native speakers.


  • Native Speakers: 380 million
  • Non-native Speakers: 750 million


  • Native Speakers: 920 million
  • Non-native Speakers: 200 million

There is a significant drop off before you get to the next most popular languages on the list of Hindi and Spanish. 615 million speakers around the world speak Hindi and 534 million speak Spanish.

Do All Languages Come From a Common Ancestor?

No, but there are a handful of major root languages that have branched off into the languages we speak today. The major groupings are:

  • Indo-European
  • Sino-Tibetan
  • Afro-Asiatic
  • Austronesian
  • Japanic
  • Niger-Congo
  • Dravidian
  • Turkic
  • Koreanic
  • Kro-Dai
  • Urolic

An interesting note on the origin of our modern languages is that certain homogenous societies that are insulated from the outside world to a degree, have not branched off at all. Countries like Japan and Korea are still speaking the original language developed thousands of years ago. Countries that were more active in trade and territorial conflict were more likely to have had different language branches created over time.