Four fast facts about Arabic, and other languages, you probably didn't know
These statistics may make you want to finally crack open those language books.
Arabic is well-known to have a major presence in several countries around the world beyond the Middle East. But to what degree?
In fact Arabic stands tall in the rankings. That's what you can see from a series of graphics on mother tongues created by Alberto Lucas Lopez, graphics director at the South China Morning Post. Here are some quick statistics.
1. Arabic is the fifth-most spoken language in the world. First is Chinese, then Spanish, English and Hindi.
2. Arabic is spoken by 60 countries, second-most in the world after English, which is spoken in 110.
3. Despite how prolific it is, Arabic doesn't make the cut for the most popular languages learned. The top seven? English, French, Chinese, Spanish, German, Italian and Japanese.
4. The most surprising statistic, though, may be the Middle Eastern country with the most languages spoken: Iran. The Islamic Republic's Persian roots and geography make it a hotbed for an ecclectic mix of languages, placed somewhere between 77 and 82 total.
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