How often do you think about language? Do you ever think about the common languages spoken around the world? According to Babbel, the top five most common spoken languages are:

  • Chinese
  • Spanish
  • English
  • Hindi
  • Arabic

First Is Common, But Second Is Far Reaching

But what about second languages? Not many people think about the most common second languages spoken around the world. If had had to wager a guess, you’d be right if you bet that English was one of them. In fact, English ranks as “the most popular second language in 55 countries;” and though French comes in at second place, only 14 countries use it as the second language (MentalFloss).

 English ranks as “the most popular second language in 55 countries;” and though French comes in at second place, only 14 countries use it as the second language.

According to Mental Floss, after English and French, the most popular second languages spoken around the world include:

  • Russian – 13 countries
  • Spanish – 8 countries
  • Creole – 8 countries
  • Arabic – 6 countries
  • Kurdish – 4 countries
  • Portuguese – 4 countries
  • Italian – 3 countries
  • Quechua – 3 countries

Breaking Down the Continents

What do you think the second most common language is in North America? That all depends on what country you’re in. For example, the second most commonly spoken language in the United States is Spanish, French comes in second for Canada, and Danish is the second most commonly spoken language in Greenland.

In Europe, you might think of many different languages, from German to French, but when it comes to second languages, you’ll find a host of differences. In Germany, the second most common language is Turkish, in Spain it’s Catalan, and in Turkey, it’s Kurdish. However, English dominates the second language market in France, Sweden, and Italy.

In Africa, Niger-Congo languages such as Lingala in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bantu in Angola and Isixhosa in South Africa are common second languages. In fact, many people living on the African continent are multilingual. In Kenya, for example, the average child speaks three languages and it is common for people to speak up to five languages or dialects.

Common Tongue In Other Areas

Breaking down other areas, you’ll discover that there are some countries whose second language might surprise you if you are not familiar with history. For instance:

  • French is the most common second language spoken in Algeria
  • Italian is the most common second language in Argentina
  • Nahuatl is the most common second language in middle Central America
  • Portuguese is the most common second language in Mozambique
  • Mandarin is the most common second language spoken in Australia

The Need For Language Translation

Language is what keeps us communicating with each other. No matter where you are in the world, you often speak the same language as your partner or peers, and that can help you come up with ideas, build your strengths, overcome your weaknesses, and share your values.

When it comes to business, chances are that you’ll speak the same as your employers and co-workers. But what happens when you have customers in different areas of the word? What happens when your CEO is in a different country? As we can see, fluent communication in our multilingual world means businesses will often need the assistance of a good translation agency.

At ITC Global Translations, we have professional translators in over 80 language combinations. For your next big project, contact us for all your translation needs. For the needs of the many, or the needs of the few, we’ve got it covered.

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