Fun Phrases in 10 of The Most Spoken Languages

Acquiring a new language facilitates interaction and forges a bridge between different cultural worlds.

Top Languages Around The World

shutterstock 2160141657

But did you know that there are about 7100 languages spoken around the world? The good news is that if you want to travel the world, you don’t need to master all of them. As a matter of fact, a few languages account for the bulk of those spoken.

Looking specifically at native speakers (those who said the language is their first language), here are the top ten languages spoken around the world and some fun sayings in each.

1. Mandarin Chinese – 920 Million Native Speakers

chinese woman

Mandarin Chinese claims the top spot on our list.

1. Mandarin Chinese – 920 Million Native Speakers

shutterstock 2105067590 Custom

Have you ever heard the expression “huà shé tiān zú” while in China? It means adding unnecessary steps to something simple, but in literal terms, it translates to “draw snake, add legs.”

According to the Chinese culture, those extra steps will ruin your result.

2. Spanish – 475 Million Native Speakers

shutterstock 1893672355 Custom

Coming in at number 2 is Spanish, with nearly 500 million native speakers.

2. Spanish – 475 Million Native Speakers

best apps to learn spanish

In Spanish, you may hear the idiom “dar gato por liebre” which translates to “give a cat instead of a hare.” This means to deceive or cheat someone, like a salesman lying about a product.

3. English – 373 Million Native Speakers

shutterstock 2051490671 Custom

In terms of native speakers, English is the third most spoken language. However, if you include those worldwide who speak English as a second language, it jumps to the top of the list.

3. English – 373 Million Native Speakers

british accent american accent

English has a plethora of idioms. One of the weirdest also involves an animal. If there’s an awkward or obvious topic a group is avoiding, it’s referred to as “the elephant in the room.”

4. Arabic – 363 Million Native Speakers

shutterstock 2152588803 Custom

Arabic cracks the Top Five with almost as many native speakers as English. Like Chinese, this language has many dialects. However, unlike Chinese, Arabic is less concentrated; many countries speak it.

4. Arabic – 363 Million Native Speakers

shutterstock 2181150103 Custom 1

A popular saying in Arabic is “el erd fi ein omo ghazal.” This very poetic way of calling someone ugly translates literally to “the monkey is as beautiful as a gazelle in its mother’s eyes.” Talk about mean!

5. Hindi – 344 Million Native Speakers

shutterstock 2124306770 Custom

Hindi is one of many languages spoken in India and Nepal and has the fifth-highest number of native speakers.

5. Hindi – 344 Million Native Speakers

shutterstock 2024214899

Like the languages above, Hindi has a lot of colorful idioms involving food or animals.

“Bandar kya jaane adrak ka swad” translates to “What does a monkey know about the taste of ginger?” and means that someone does not have the experience or knowledge required to criticize something.

6. Bengali – 234 Million Native Speakers

shutterstock 2331528895 Custom

Bengali is spoken in Bangladesh and parts of India.

6. Bengali – 234 Million Native Speakers

shutterstock 1606121245 Custom

Ever do someone a favor only to have them ask for more?

In Bengali, the expression “khete dile shute chaay” captures that unique irritation perfectly. It literally translates to “feed him, and he asks for a bed.”

7. Portuguese — 232 Million Native Speakers

shutterstock 2325817211 Custom

Portuguese is the seventh most spoken language, with 221 million native speakers.

7. Portuguese — 232 Million Native Speakers

You're Welcome in Spanish

“Acordar com os pés de fora” is a Portuguese idiom that translates to “wake up with the feet outside.”

This is similar to the English expression “waking up on the wrong side of the bed”; it means to wake up in a bad mood.

8. Russian — 154 Million Native Speakers

shutterstock 1903232821 Custom

With 154 million native speakers, Russian is the eighth most spoken language worldwide.

8. Russian — 154 Million Native Speakers

russian woman

“Zamorit’ chervyachka” is one of the funniest idioms in Russian. It translates to “kill the worm.”

What exactly is the worm? A person’s hunger. This is how Russians express having a full belly.

9. Japanese — 125 Million Native Speakers

shutterstock 1487131571 Custom

Japanese is unique on this list as it is the only language spoken entirely by a country. 99% of Japanese people speak the country’s official language.

9. Japanese — 125 Million Native Speakers

japanese woman

“Yoko meshi” is a popular Japanese idiom which means “a meal eaten sideways” and is used to describe the awkwardness of trying to speak or converse in a foreign language—ultimately feeling like the words are going in a different direction.

10. Lahnda (Western Punjabi) — 101 Million Native Speakers

shutterstock 2239415489 Custom

Last but not least is Lahnda.

10. Lahnda (Western Punjabi) — 101 Million Native Speakers

shutterstock 2145527453

A popular Punjabi expression is “khaane chhole, dakaar badaama de,” which translates to “eating chickpeas but burping almonds.”

This funny idiom refers to someone who makes a big deal of their actions despite performing very little.

Read More: 15 British Phrases That Always Confuse Americans

british girl

Brits are confusing. Especially when they speak English.

Read Now: 15 British Phrases That Always Confuse Americans

Read More: The Worst Things Teachers Have Confiscated

0650gkLgY9bHB16kkEGyLN7Ot4dWjWNwwM7vGRNVhL2E5 w8SJjHKyLlX5QbHIgf4n88LAX2nrom J4TJ3ePEwMips9kVQUbd2VdKoqzNTh61aiAxAbqx8sV2WjeeHKdntCAuPgsn VkTp7w8aNv3 w

Teachers have seen it all. So we asked them: what was the worst thing they had ever confiscated from a student?

Their answers would be enough to put you off the teaching career for life.

Read Now: The 20 Worst Things Teachers Have Confiscated From Students

Read More: Teaching or Chatting?

Did you know that up to 45% of all Americans have a side gig? Do you?

We found probably one of the most enjoyable, rewarding ways to earn money by teaching (chatting) with those who want to learn English online. Log in any time you want, 24/7, and get paid weekly for the hours you put in.

Learn More: Cambly 2023 Review, Requirements & Pay For Tutors (Beginner Friendly)

Read More: She Didn’t Want Her Son To Sleep At His Girlfriend’s Because “Something Felt Very Off”— And She Was Right

To a child, parents’ rules and restrictions may seem arbitrary and controlling. While the occasional rule might be strict, hindsight usually reveals that—more often than not—a parent’s intuition was right.

Read Now: She Didn’t Want Her Son To Sleep At His Girlfriend’s Because “Something Felt Very Off”— And She Was Right

Read More: Transgender Man Wants To Use The Male Toilets But Feels Uncomfortable— Seeks Advice on Social Media

SEyAhV 1l9xj3SHYfNuD33 wgo 8z0uzN MpYrh fEjMrJaE17hlYf2zfnqk5tznu4Lqk6vLmZtMLmRDY8PD1MON81dj9pYbaeyYc vrvhsXtcCMtAwicmfmewMo6BoVA8UJ7Qiy7rONvKf7PL1GaVE

Do men care who’s in the restroom with them? The debate over gender-neutral bathrooms has usually centered around women’s restrooms. As the conversation continues, trans men have also begun to voice their concerns. 

Read Now: Transgender Man Wants To Use The Male Toilets But Feels Uncomfortable— Seeks Advice on Social Media

This article was produced and syndicated by TPR Teaching.

Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments