HaqCheck came across a claim made on Twitter on May 9, 2023, that the Amharic language is the second most-spoken language in the world next to Arabic.
The Twitter post received many reactions and views on the platform. However, HaqCheck investigated the claim and rated it False.
There are organizations that publish periodic statistical data on languages and the number of speakers.
Ethnologue is an annual statistics publication and it is one of the top sources of world language statistics. The publication owned by a non-profit organization SIL International is considered as the main source of global language statistics by many institutions such as Encyclopedia, Wikipedia, and Oxford University.
Thus, HaqCheck used statistical data from Ethnologue to cross-check the claim.
Ethnologue ranks languages in terms of the number of native speakers and total (natives plus non-natives) speakers.
Accordingly, the most spoken language in the world in terms of total speakers is English. The language has 1.45 billion native and non-native speakers.
However, in terms of native speakers, Chinese Mandarin is by far the most-spoken language in the world with 939 million native speakers.
In terms of the number of total speakers, these are the ten most-spoken languages in the world: English, Chinese Mandarin, Hindi, Spanish, French, Arabic, Bengali, Russian, Portuguese, and Urdu.
In terms of the number of native speakers, these are the ten most-spoken languages in the world: Chinese Mandarin, Spanish, English, Arabic, Hindi, Portuguese, Bengali, Russian, Japanese, and Lahnda.
For instance, Arabic is the fourth most spoken language in terms of native speakers and the seventh in terms of total speakers.
According to Ethnologue, Amharic which is the working language of the federal government of Ethiopia, has 32 million native speakers and 25 million non-native speakers.
In terms of native speakers, Amharic is the second most-spoken language in Ethiopia after the Afaan Oromo which has 37 million native speakers.
However, back to the claim, Amharic is not the second most-spoken language in the world.
Ethnologue categorizes Amharic as a Semitic language. Accordingly, Amharic is the second most-spoken Semitic language in the world after Arabic. Therefore, HaqCheck rated the claim False.