Languages in Asia
Asia is home to approximately 4.46 billion people who speak some 2,300 languages. The continent’s population is about six times that of Europe, and it is not surprising that there are many languages on the continent. In Europe, the Indo-European languages, which include Slavic, Romance, and Germanic, are spoken by most people. The range of languages is much broader in Asia and includes Indo-European, Sino-Tibetan, Dravidian, and Altaic. Mountains, vast plains, islands, and jungles define Asia, a characteristic that has allowed communities to isolate and evolve languages without external interference. Most Asians, however, speak the mainland-related common languages; Chinese, Hindi, English, Russian, Indonesian, Bengali, and Japanese. The most spoken languages on the continent are listed below.
1) Grammar translation
1 billion Asian speakers, 1.2 billion global speakers. That is right, the most spoken language in Asia is Chinese! However, it’s not only one language but a family of dialects of the language. Mandarin Chinese is the most common variant of the language, and about 51 percent of the total population of Asia speaks Mandarin as the official language of China! Other prominent Chinese dialects include Wu, Min, and Yue. Well, the country’s huge population is a major factor, thanks to China’s tremendous economic growth over the past few decades. By 2050, analysts predict that China will become the leading economy.
JapanHindi is an Indo-European language that is spoken in Asia by about 550 million people. In North and Central India, it is used in its official capacity. In the United Arab Emirates and Mauritius, Hindi is also spoken. India is home to a significant percentage of Hindi, but it is not the country’s national language. With the Urdu language spoken in Pakistan, it’s mutually intelligible. It is the world’s fourth most spoken language, inferior to English, Spanish, and Mandarin.
300 million Asian speakers, more than 2 billion worldwide speakers (native and as a foreign language). This one shouldn’t come as a surprise, either – as the lingua franca of the world, English is hugely popular in Asia. The language was introduced during colonization in some countries or was later adopted due to English’s enormous world presence. In Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore, India, Pakistan, and Malaysia, it is used officially. Pidgin English in Papua New Guinea is also popular. Linguists think about 17 percent of the population of Asia is made up of English speakers!
260 million speakers in Asia. Yep, Russian also makes the list! Since Russia is (by landmass) the world’s largest country, this makes sense. The language is used in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and disputed territories in Georgia, and former Soviet bloc nations still speak Russian as well. Russian is also considered to be the United Nations’ official language.
230 million speakers in Asia. Although you may not think that Indonesian is as popular as Korean or Japanese, it is actually more popular! Linguists say that about 10 percent of the population of Asia speaks Indonesian. It is used as a working language in East Timor, outside of Indonesia.
230 million speakers in Asia. Next comes Arabic! Yes, parts of the Asian continent are located in the Middle East. The language is classified as a “Afro-Asian” language, meaning both Africa and Asia have origins. In Qatar, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Yemen, Kuwait, Bahrain, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Oman, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates, Arabic is spoken.
7. Bangla or Bengali
230 million Asian speakers. This one is actually a tie with number 6, with about the same number of speakers in Asia for both Arabic and Bengali. What, may you ask, is Bengali? Bangladesh’s official language, of course! About 98 percent of Bangladeshis speak Bengali as their native language, according to the last census of the country. You could also hear Bengali when you visit West Bengal, Tripura, Assam, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, or the Jharkhand regions of India.
120 million Asian speakers. You probably expected the Japanese in this list to be higher, didn’t you? Japanese is only spoken by about 5 percent of the entire Asian population, despite its important cultural influence. However, experts expect the number of Japanese speakers to rise in the coming years due to Japan’s status as a science and technology powerhouse.
Those are just a couple of the most spoken languages in Asia. Of course, there are plenty more that come to mind, like Korean, Filipino, Tamil, Persian, Vietnamese, or Thai.
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