What is the sweetest language in the world?
Top 100 Languages by Population
The population figures in this table refer to first language speakers in all countries. Note that these figures are updated from the 13th Edition of the Ethnologue (1996).
Click on the language name to view its home country Ethnologue entry. For other countries in which the language is spoken, click on the three-letter abbreviation.
|Rank||Language Name||Primary Country||Population|
|1||CHINESE, MANDARIN [CHN]||China||885,000,000|
|3||ENGLISH [ENG]||United Kingdom||322,000,000|
|9||GERMAN, STANDARD [GER]||Germany||98,000,000|
|10||CHINESE, WU [WUU]||China||77,175,000|
|11||JAVANESE [JAN]||Indonesia, Java, Bali||75,500,800|
|12||KOREAN [KKN]||Korea, South||75,000,000|
|14||VIETNAMESE [VIE]||Viet Nam||67,662,000|
|16||CHINESE, YUE [YUH]||China||66,000,000|
|21||CHINESE, MIN NAN [CFR]||China||49,000,000|
|22||CHINESE, JINYU [CJY]||China||45,000,000|
|25||ARABIC, EGYPTIAN SPOKEN [ARZ]||Egypt||42,500,000|
|28||CHINESE, XIANG [HSN]||China||36,015,000|
|30||CHINESE, HAKKA [HAK]||China||34,000,000|
|33||PANJABI, WESTERN [PNB]||Pakistan||30,000,000|
|35||PANJABI, EASTERN [PNJ]||India||26,013,000|
|38||AZERBAIJANI, SOUTH [AZB]||Iran||24,364,000|
|39||FARSI, WESTERN [PES]||Iran||24,280,000|
|42||ARABIC, ALGERIAN SPOKEN [ARQ]||Algeria||22,400,000|
|45||CHINESE, GAN [KNN]||China||20,580,000|
|51||ARABIC, MOROCCAN SPOKEN [ARY]||Morocco||19,542,000|
|52||ARABIC, SAIDI SPOKEN [AEC]||Egypt||18,900,000|
|53||UZBEK, NORTHERN [UZB]||Uzbekistan||18,466,000|
|54||MALAY [MLI]||Malaysia, Peninsular||17,600,000|
|60||ARABIC, SUDANESE SPOKEN [APD]||Sudan||16,000,000|
|63||ARABIC, NORTH LEVANTINE SPOKEN [APC]||Syria||15,000,000|
|64||THAI, NORTHEASTERN [TTS]||Thailand||15,000,000|
|68||ARABIC, MESOPOTAMIAN SPOKEN [ACM]||Iraq||13,900,000|
|69||MADURA [MHJ]||Indonesia, Java, Bali||13,694,000|
|70||SINHALA [SNH]||Sri Lanka||13,220,000|
|73||CZECH [CZC]||Czech Republic||12,000,000|
|78||CHINESE, MIN BEI [MNP]||China||10,537,000|
|80||ZHUANG, NORTHERN [CCX]||China||10,000,000|
|81||ARABIC, NAJDI SPOKEN [ARS]||Saudi Arabia||9,800,000|
|82||PASHTO, NORTHERN [PBU]||Pakistan||9,685,000|
|85||ARABIC, TUNISIAN SPOKEN [AEB]||Tunisia||9,308,000|
|87||ZULU [ZUU]||South Africa||9,142,000|
|91||OROMO, WEST-CENTRAL [GAZ]||Ethiopia||8,920,000|
|92||PASHTO, SOUTHERN [PBT]||Afghanistan||8,206,000|
|96||FULFULDE, NIGERIAN [FUV]||Nigeria||7,611,000|
|97||ARABIC, SANAANI SPOKEN [AYN]||Yemen||7,600,000|
|99||HAITIAN CREOLE FRENCH [HAT]||Haiti||7,372,000|
|100||AZERBAIJANI, NORTH [AZE]||Azerbaijan||7,059,000|
|102||KHMER, CENTRAL [KMR]||Cambodia||7,039,200|
|103||FARSI, EASTERN [PRS]||Afghanistan||7,000,000|
The entire database from which this table is extracted is available as a tab-delimited file suitable for importing into a database or spreadsheet program: http://www.sil.org/ftp/ethnolog13/langpop99.zip
Part of the Ethnologue, 13th Edition, Barbara F. Grimes, Editor.
Copyright © 1996, Summer Institute of Linguistics, Inc. All rights reserved.
If you have questions, comments, or updates on the Ethnologue, go to the Feedback page.
Did UNESCO Declare Bengali The Sweetest Language In The World? (They Didn’t.. But It Might Still Be)
Bengali is the language of over 230 million speakers in Bangladesh and North Eastern India in the region of West Bengal.
It’s a language that’s very dear to its speakers, especially since they had to fight in order to gain the right to speak it, a right that the Bengali people won when they gained their independence from Pakistan in 1971.
This same event inspired the creation of the «International Mother Language Day» by the UNESCO.
Add to that the Bangladeshis have a multi-millennium old tradition of writing poetry and literature which has affected and enriched the world.
Some call Bengali «the sweetest language in the world», and there are many reasons that it might be. The main source for this title, however, is faulty.
In 2010, rumors circulated on social media that UNESCO (again) had carried out a vote in order to decide which world language was to be considered the sweetest. Allegedly, Bengali took the prize, followed by Spanish and Dutch as the second and third sweetest languages.
Yet, no official declaration, press release or or even a tweet was published by UNESCO. The whole story was a a hoax!
This didn’t stop the media, however. To this day, when you perform a simple Google search looking for information on the story, you’ll find plenty of newspaper websites, blogs, and forums speaking of the event and announcing the news of the millennia-old Bengali language’s sweet new status.
The results that call for fake news or that declare the story a hoax are not to be found among the top results. Among the more notable sources to report on the non-event is the Times Of India as well as many others.
But nothing from UNESCO.org
So.. Isn’t Bangla The Sweetest Language Then?
So we’ve established that there never was a UNESCO vote for finding the sweetest language in the world. That means that Bengali never won that title.
In reality, carrying out such a vote would probably not be a very easy thing to do.
- What factors come into play when deciding what langue is «sweet» and which one isn’t?
- Who decides which language will win? Someone who knows all world languages intimately and who is able to compare? (That guy should be famous!)
- Or will ordinary people like you and me vote? (Guess what? I’m going to vote for my native language!)
«Language sweetness» is hard to define and even more troublesome to measure. Add to that, that it’s something that even world renowned linguists seem to. Never talk about.
It actually does not appear to be a «thing».
«But the other articles I read proposed a lot of reasons why Bengali was the sweetest language!»
Yes, I’ve read them too. Various articles forum answers and news papers speak of Bengali being a sweet language because of its simple soft pronunciation because of its tender terms of endearment its charming sounds its history of literature and poetry and how Bengali is especially sweet to Bangladeshis because it’s their mother tongue that they were denied while a part of Pakistan.
What do you think?
I think that the beauty of the «sound» of a language is highly subjective.
Bengali might not have the «harsh» German «ch» or the guttural Arabic «ع». But while some consider these rough and unpleasant, others think they’re the sweetest sound in any language! (I kinda like them).
Then for the terms of endearment. There’s an expression in Bengali saying that «The Boat Of Affection Can Ascend Mountains» (ভালবাসার নৌকা পাহাড় বইয়ে যায়।) — and what a beautifully sweet saying it is! But is it sweeter than expressions in any other language? (Go read my article about Algerian Love Phrases).
And then there’s the sounds and exclamations you make in Bengali. One Quora answer mentioned the sound «isshh‘ that Bangla women make when embarrassed and blushing. And everyone can understand how such linguistic quirks can be charming.
But listen to the background sound of this video of Sea Otters holding hands. Some Japanese tourists are going crazy!
And there’s no denying the Bengali language’s rich and profound history of creating beautiful and rich poetry. But are those poems measurably sweeter than Russian, Thai or Swahili poems?
Bengali: The World’s Sweetest Language.. To Bangladeshis
Being denied to speak the language in which your parents spoke to you as a child is gruesome, and seeking refuge in that language can be one of the sweeter moments in life. There is no doubt about it.
Loosing your language is like loosing part of your identity. But it also isolates you from your personal history and your ancestors.
It’s been proven time and again that immigrant children who speak the native language of their parents at a high level do better in the host countries, even though you’d imagine that only the host language would be important. (I’ve written an article about how the children of immigrants should be taught their mother tongues).
Most countries have a strong, emotional connection to their mother tongues, and it would probably be difficult finding a nation that doesn’t consider their language sweet.
Bengali is an example of that. It’s not the way it sounds, its expressions, the history of the language or anything else along those lines that make Bengali a sweet language.
Bengali was never voted «the sweetest language» by UNESCO, that’s a myth.
It’s Bangla people themselves, and how they feel about the language.
If you’re interested in the Bengali language, go read my article «How To Learn Bengali By Yourself».
What is the sweetest language?
Bengali According to a UNESCO survey, Bengali has been classified as the sweetest language in the world. As a language, Bengali is widely spoken all over India, including Assam and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The sweetest language in the world is also recognized in the Constitution of India.
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Languages are a construct commonly used as an excellent tool for communication. However, these tools have also evolved to hold significant value for linguist enthusiasts around the world. What then, is the sweetest language in the world ? Here is everything you need to know! The spoken word is an essential part of human connection. Of the different species in the world, human beings are the only race to have mastered the cognitive skill of language communication. Languages play an important role in sharing ideas, thoughts, and feelings with a larger audience. With the power of languages, it becomes possible to build societies into stable and concrete structures. Different kinds of languages have evolved from different global communities. Therefore, there are many similarities and distinctions between different tongues. Keep reading to learn more about the sweetest language in the world!
What is the sweetest language in the world?
The sweetest language in the world is not limited to just one tongue! Statistics and global surveys have revealed 5 languages that are classified as ‘sweet’, based on their vocabulary, tonality, and simplicity.
Here are the top 5 sweetest languages in the world-
One of the reasons why Bengali is one of the loveliest languages to speak is because it is very simple to speak and comprehend Every nook in India is replete with cultural heritage and historical significance. Of the different languages that emerge from this country, According to a UNESCO survey, Bengali has been classified as the sweetest language in the world. As a language, Bengali is widely spoken all over India, including Assam and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The sweetest language in the world is also recognized in the Constitution of India. Additionally, both Bangladesh’s and India’s national anthem is written in Bengali by the famous Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore. One of the reasons why Bengali is regarded as the sweetest language in the world is because of its simplicity. It is very easy to speak and comprehend. The words and tonality are known to be absent of harshness and roughness. Additionally, Bengali also has simplified consonant and vowel sounds.
The second language on the list that is regarded as the sweetest language in the world is Spanish. Spanish is one of the most widely spoken tongues globally and is known to have originated from Latin (the language of the Romans). Spanish is considered a romantic language primarily because of the way the tongue sounds. Made up of vowels that are longer than Slavic and Germanic languages, Spanish offers softer consonants that allow words to flow together easily. One of the characteristics of Spanish is that verb conjugations are required. Therefore, rhymes in the language can be very easily made. This allows poetry and music to be ideally correlated, a rare feat accomplished by the language.
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As a country, Italy was once divided into several regional kingdoms that lacked a cohesive government with an established official tongue. This situation reigned for almost 100 years. Consequently, members of society who needed to express themselves came together to coin the Italian language. Over the next couple of centuries, the style and vocabulary of Italian were shaped largely by poets and writers whose primary consideration was the beauty and sound of the language. As a result, Italian has now become regarded as among the sweetest languages in the world. English speakers often find Italian romantic and sweet because of its so-called ‘melody.’ The open sound associated with Italian makes it perfect for singing. Additionally, Italian also has many words that end in vowels, adding a rhythmic characteristic to the tongue.
The Arabic language may be one of the most useful in the future, but it is also deemed as one of the sweetest languages in the world. Arabic is a top contender for the title of the sweetest language in the world. As a tongue, Arabic is also regarded as one of the most fascinating languages spoken globally. One of the main reasons it falls in the category of a sweet language is that the words almost always start with a consonant. This is followed by a vowel. A notable characteristic of Arabic is that there are only 3 vowels in the entire language. It is also written in a beautiful script that is appreciated by many across the world. The calligraphic qualities of the language add to its aesthetic and charm. Arabic calligraphy is highly venerated by enthusiasts globally as a way to express the artistic body and nature of poetry. It is also among the most useful languages worth learning. This is primarily because it is the medium of exchange in multi-billion-dollar oil deals. It is also the language of stock trading in countries such as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
It is an Indo-Aryan language and shares a large portion of its morphology and vocabulary with standard Punjabi. Saraiki also has common grammatical features with Sindhi. ‘Greater Punjabi’ is a macro language, of which Saraiki is a dialect. This dialect is a significant contributor to why it is regarded as one of the sweetest languages in the world. Words such as “saaein” and “meidaa” (meaning “my precious”) are often used to address strangers and loved ones alike. Additionally, words such as “bhaaji” are used to address older individuals and are often a sign of respect.
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Another reason Saraiki is on the list of the sweetest language in the world is that it is home to several literary works. Sufi poets such as Sachal Sarmast and Khwaja Ghulam Farid have written many of their work in the language. Additionally, renowned Pakistani singers such as Ataullah Khan Essa Khailwi spent many of their career singing songs in the Saraiki language.
Languages are essential communication tools that allow sharing ideas, concepts, and information.
Languages have also evolved to become more than just tools to convey messages. There is often a wide range of cultural and linguistic characteristics associated with different languages. The 5 languages in this blog have been regarded as among the sweetest languages in the world owing to their unique characteristics, tonality, vocabulary, and sound. Was this blog informative? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments below. Click here to reach out to us for more information on the sweetest languages in the world. We would be happy to assist you with your queries!
Q1. What is expressive functioning?
Answer – Expressive functioning is a basic function of language that allows you to express your attitudes, feelings, and emotions to another person.
Q2. What is the difference between oral language and written language?
Answer – Oral language is spoken language meant specifically for conversing with others. On the other hand, written language is about expressing ideas with written words and content. Oral communication is significantly faster and much more informal than written language.
Q3. What do you mean by an ‘economic language’?
Answer – An economic language discusses how efficiently you can speak by avoiding unnecessary words or vocabulary. Essentially, economic language refers to concise and coherent spoken information.
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