Chinese most widely spoken native language

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The Washington Post just published this fascinating series of info-graphics illuminating some surprising facts about language, diversity and global populations. What I love about this series are the layers of complexity. The story isn’t all that long, but it challenges us to question misconceptions about the dominance of English. Chinese, for example, has more native speakers than any other language, followed by Hindi and Urdu,” WAPO reports. English comes next, followed by Arabic and then Spanish.

But cut the numbers differently, and you get a new perspective. We’ve all heard that America is a great melting pot, but it is far from the most linguistically diverse country or continent. Africa wins that distinction.

English is widely used as an official language. It is spoken in more countries than anywhere else and it the most studied.

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But the most languages are spoken by only a handful of people, and are at risk of disappearing in 100 years, says WAPO.

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