Languages Spoken Across the Globe

Desktop version, 03 SEPTEMBER, 2019

A few days ago Arjun, my eight-year-old, asked about the most widely spoken languages in the world. We summoned Alexa 🤖, who was very upfront about the source of her answer "According to one Amazon customer, Mandarin is the most widely spoken language". Soon after, he wanted to know the second most widely spoken language and so forth. So I did what any Dad with some coding skills would do, I made some plots for him and secretly hoped that he might well get interested in Python, R or D3/Javascript, but alas, may be next time. However, the process of doing it made me think, maybe I can create a new category called "Arjun Asks" and share the visualisations I create in response to his queries (although I am yet to add the search/filter on tags 😅).

Now, I do not do this for all his questions but I have done this a few times earlier. For example, there was a time when he wanted to create superhero names for his Lego mini-figures which somewhat lead to superhero name generator using deep learning (RNN) here, and more recently he wanted to know whether the Avengers Endgame was the most popular movie ever made, which was explored here.

I used the data available on  Wikipedia for all the plots on this page. The page shows 90 languages that have at least 10 million first-language speakers as of 2019, which covers 72.38% of the world population.

What are the Top 10 most widely spoken languages?

I expected Mandarin, Hindi, English and, Spanish to be in the list but surprised to find Japanese, Punjabi and, Marathi in the top 10 list.

We could also see most of the above information in a single concise plot below. The innermost ring shows the continent, the next shows the countries within each continent and the outermost shows the languages spoken with in the countries.

Hover over the circle to see the details.

And that's it folks. Thanks for visiting.