What are the 5 most spoken Languages in the world?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Asexperia, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. Asexperia Registered Senior Member

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    But, What are the 3 most international languages?

    English, Spanish and Mandarin?

    [video=youtube;qv27dSa6jz4]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qv27dSa6jz4[/video]

    Un saludo a todos.
     
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  3. mathman Valued Senior Member

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  5. Asexperia Registered Senior Member

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  7. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Still think the world would have been better off with an artificial universal axillary language, instead of having to learn some language imposed on you by your imperialist overlords that speak it. Oh well I can dream. pua teleim
     
  8. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

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    Language is the way we quickly ascertain in-group members which is why there are so many and why they continue to evolve.
     
  9. Asexperia Registered Senior Member

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    I think that the language is part of the culture of a region or a country. Diversity of languages ​​becomes richer the human civilization.

    The Imperialism has always wanted to impose their language to the conquered territories by force.

    Hasta la vista.

    What means "pua teleim"? please.
     
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Although Mandarin has the greatest number of native speakers, it is not widely spoken outside of China so I don't think it qualifies as "international." In the past the Chinese have shown very little interest in teaching their language to foreigners, although it must be noted that (in my experience) they are extremely gracious, patient and helpful with those of us who want to learn it. Of course that may change. Now that China has become a great economic power, they are sending language teachers to other countries, including Russia.

    English is the native and/or official language of several countries. It is taught in virtually all schools in India and is used for everyday communication between people from different Indian states. And of course it is the dominant language of world commerce. Add American and British movies, TV shows and rock'n'roll, and English is obviously #1.

    Spanish is the native and/or official language of an even greater number of countries. Although Brazil is now Latin America's largest economy (and the sixth largest in the world), the Brazilians have been surrounded by Spanish speakers for so long that many of them are comfortable with the language--it's similar enough to not be too difficult. There isn't a strong movement to establish Portuguese as an international language of commerce. So Spanish remains #2.

    But I'm not sure what to nominate as #3. Perhaps Arabic. It is the native and official language of many countries in southwestern Asia and northern Africa. Regional dialects can differ significantly, but formal, international broadcast-standard Arabic keeps them from losing the ability to communicate with each other. All Muslims everywhere are supposed to be able to read the Quran in Arabic, and to the extent that perhaps they actually can, this may give a devout Indonesian, a devout Pakistani, a devout Bangladeshi and a devout Nigerian (the four largest Muslim nations, none of which is Arab) a rudimentary ability to communicate.

    There was a time when Russian would have been named. During the era of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact, many scholars, businesspeople and government workers learned Russian in the Eastern Bloc nations (Hungary, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, etc.) and in the non-Russian Soviet republics (Estonia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, etc.). But their "divorce" from Russia was not a cordial one and today few of those people would speak Russian unless it was the only language that would work in an emergency. Nonetheless, Russia is the 10th-largest economy and it cultivates relations with many other nations, especially its neighbors.

    A generation earlier, the same could be said about German. When I traveled in eastern Europe in 1973, I was pleased to discover that the German I had studied in college was understood by older people everywhere. They had been forced to learn it at gunpoint, but they didn't teach it to their children. However, unlike Russia, Germany is now a major economic power (#4, just behind Japan and ahead of France and Brazil) that "plays nice" with its neighbors, so those neighbors find it useful and not uncomfortable to hang onto their fluency in German for another generation.

    So what's #3? Arabic? Russian? German? Chinese? Portuguese? How about Latin, all Catholic priests can speak it?

    Lo mismo a Vd, de un losangeleño quien habla (más o menos) las tres lenguas de su ciudad: el inglés, el español y el chino.

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    We tried that with Esperanto--my fourth language. (Actually my second, I am much more fluent in it than in Spanish or Mandarin.) The problem is that every natural language (even dead ones like Latin and resuscitated ones like Hebrew) comes attached to a culture that includes a point of view and some colorful idioms. Esperanto has none of that, making it feel and sound cold and lifeless. In its heyday nearly 100 years ago, when many people dreamed of peace and brotherhood, it was estimated to have ten million speakers, but today I doubt that it has one million. It still has a durable following in eastern Europe, among people who only have to drive (or ride a train) for a few hours to find themselves in a place where nobody understands their own language.

    And these efforts, surprisingly, are not always terribly successful. The mighty Roman Empire only managed to impose Latin on the Franks. It's tempting to add the Iberian tribes and the Dacians to that list, but those people were overrun by Romans, not colonized. As I already noted, the Russians imposed their language on all of their conquered peoples, but twenty years after Perestroika, Estonian, Lithuanian, Turkmen, Latvian, Azeri, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Uzbek, Moldovan, Kazakh, Armenian, etc., are alive and well, and those people only speak Russian when Russian diplomats and commercial representatives come to visit.

    All of my language teachers said that language follows the coin, not the flag and not the holy book. Just look at India. Hindi is the language of the national government, it is taught almost universally, and most educated people can read official documents and understand speeches. But when a Punjabi and a Telugu meet, they speak English to each other, not Hindi. They feel more at ease speaking the language of their former conquerors, than the regional language of the Delhi area and the government employees who live there!

    Inexplicable accidents also happen. The Aramaeans were one of many conquered peoples in the empire around Babylon that was ruled by Akkadians, Assyrians, and successive waves of conquerors. The Aramaeans had no status, yet for reasons no one has ever understood, Aramaic became the common language of the empire. Much of the Talmud was originally written in Aramaic and it was the everyday language of Palestine in Jesus's time. The Aramaean people were absorbed by the "melting pot" and no longer exist, yet their language endured and became the lingua franca of Mesopotamia and the surrounding regions, right up into the early 20th century. Even today there is still an Aramaic-speaking community with their own websites and it is the liturgical language of many Eastern Christian congregations.

    On a list of the world's most spoken languages, I'd probably feel compelled to include Aramaic, with an asterisk.

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  11. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    I really don't think that was the problem, I think it was more of a combination of imperialist thinking "Why can't they just learn my country's language?" and lack of market penetration: why learn a language you know nothing of and never heard anyone speak? Proof so is that Esperanto has idioms: "For example, eldoni, literally "to give out", means "to publish"; a vortaro, literally "a compilation of words", means "a glossary" or "a dictionary"; and necesejo, literally "a place for necessities", is a toilet" and culture

    "I dream(can)" Don't waste your time learning that, for the above reasons I mentioned. It is just an artificial language I been designing off and on for some time since peace corps.
     
  12. Asexperia Registered Senior Member

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    I have placed the Chinese in third as an international language due its own weight (14.1 % of world population ). Although Arabic can occupy that place.

    No, yo no hablo Mandarin, yo hablo tambien Italiano y Frances.

    I think more than language, It's the internet which has move closer more people from different regions.

    A presto.
     
  13. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Agreed and every better translation programs are now making it easier to understand each other without actually learn each other language.
     
  14. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Chinese has the most speakers so it's the #1 language in the world. But almost all of the people who can speak and understand it are citizens of a single nation, so it's not truly international. English, Spanish and Arabic are international because they are spoken by many people in many nations, and are even the national language in multiple nations.

    Yes indeed. Electronic technology has brought people together. Our government (USA) has been telling us for more than thirty years that the Iranians are our enemies and we should hate them. But when Neda Agha-Soltan was murdered in a Tehran street by agents of her own evil theocratic government, the Iranian people instantly broadcast cellphone videos of her death. Americans wept and wrote songs about her.
     
  15. Asexperia Registered Senior Member

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    Posted by Fraggle:
    I agree with you definitely.
     
  16. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Chinese is probably not going to become a good international language, its not easy for non-tonal language speakers to learn and learning thousands of ideograms is probably harder than an alphabet and words spelled at least semi-phonetically.
     
  17. Asexperia Registered Senior Member

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    FOR CURIOSITY

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    NI HAO MA?
     
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  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    In the Pin-Yin romanization system, which is now the world standard (except in Taiwan), "good" is transcribed as hao, not hou. It's also written that way in the Wade-Giles system, which was standard for centuries and is still used in Taiwan. In the Yale system, which I learned first, it's hau, but the Yale system never caught on, even though it is slightly more logical for anglophones.
     
  19. Asexperia Registered Senior Member

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    Good point Fraggle. I took as a reference the writing: "jao" in Spanish, and then I took the english word "about".

    I did the correction.
     
  20. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Write it in IPA, that is the bee's knees of phonetic accuracy.
     
  21. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    The goal of Chinese transcribers has always been to get by with only the basic modern Roman/English alphabet. No diacritics like Ñ, no modifications like Ø, no digraphs like Æ, no fanciful new symbols like Þ. In the internet era this is even more important. If people can't type it with a basic keyboard, they won't use it.

    I agree that most Americans don't pronounce most Chinese words correctly because it has a much different set of phonemes than English, including a few that are as difficult for us as German Ü or Czech Ř--in fact Mandarin has both of those sounds. Spelling them precisely in IPA symbols isn't going to help, especially since very few people can read them.

    "Hao" is actually a somewhat more faithful transcription than "hau" or "how." The diphthong doesn't quite descend into a U. It turns into a vowel more like an O, and then just stops. That's why it was chosen. Nonetheless the Yale system writes that sound as AU because most people will figure it out and it's close enough. Fortunately when Mao Zedong (or Mao Tse-Tung, as it was spelled in the 1960s when the Wade-Giles system was still supreme) was on the front page of every newspaper once a week, we all learned how to pronounce it.
     
  22. RobbieB Registered Senior Member

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    I agree. I all but gave up trying to learn when I lived there because of the tones. Stupid tones:bugeye:
     
  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I'm a singer. I guess that's why I didn't have any trouble.
     

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