Learning a new language, whether at school or later in life, is a great way to really immerse yourself in a culture. And of course it makes travel so much easier too, especially with one of these most spoken languages;
English is far and away the most common language on the planet - 53 countries across the world have English as their primary tongue. And with 196 countries in total, that’s more than 1 in 4 destinations that use English. The biggest speakers of course are the USA with over 225 million English-speakers as their first language and second up is the UK, with 58 million residents using the language. Next on the list is Canada (17.7m), Australia (15.6m) and Ireland (4.1m). Of course there are hundreds of other countries that speak English as a second language.
The second most use language on earth is French, which is spoken as an official language in 29 different countries. The top three largest French speaking populations are France (64 million), Democratic Republic of the Congo (28m) and Canada (7.7m).
A total of 25 countries class Arabic as their first language, mainly across North Africa and the Middle East. The biggest country to count Arabic as their official language is Egypt, with up to 67 million speakers, followed by Algeria (27m) and Saudi Arabia (22.8m).
Taking a Spanish language class in school is a great option, as many of the world’s popular tourist destinations speak it! In total it’s an official and/or national language in 20 countries. Spanish is the national language in Mexico (113 million speakers), Spain (46.5 million speakers) and Argentina (41.7m).
Nine countries across the world class Portuguese as their official first language, mainly in South America and Southern Africa. The biggest speakers of Portuguese are of course in Brazil with 210 million speakers. Next up is Mozambique (24m), Angola (18.5m) and Portugal (10.7m). There are also 1.5 million Portuguese speakers in Goa in India.
Finally, German is spoken as a first language by 100 million people worldwide, across six countries and one region. More than 81 million speak the language in Germany itself, followed by Belgium (10.8m) and Austria (8.3m).