INFOGRAPHIC: The second languages of the world, and what it says about China

By Ryan Kilpatrick, November 5, 2014

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Relocation services website MoveHub has just published this fascinating infographic showing the second language of countries in every region around the world.   

The second most spoken language in China is Cantonese, which counts approximately 62 million native speakers in the mainland and beyond. This comes despite repeated attempts by authorities to discourage use of the southern tongue. 

Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau simply fall under China in the map, but obviously Cantonese is the first language in Hong Kong and Macau and in Taiwan the second language (first being Taiwanese Guoyu) is Taiwanese Hokkien. 

In Hong Kong, Mandarin recently overtook English to become the territory's second language, the result of controversial education reforms and a dramatic spike in mainland immigration following the 1997 handover.

In Macau, Mandarin has also trumped Portuguese and English to become the de facto second language. The Macanese language itself (known as Patuá) is now on the verge of extinction in Macau, with only about 50 native speakers left in the former Portuguese territory. 

Chinese immigration to Australia, meanwhile, has made Mandarin the second most common language down under. 1.6 percent of Australians speak Mandarin, and 1.2 percent speak Cantonese. 

In the United States, Chinese recently become the third most spoken language nationally, although Spanish maintains a broad lead. 

French remains the second language of Canada but has been in decline for decades as ethnic diversity increases. In the province of British Columbia on Canada's Pacific coast, 8.5 percent of the population speak Chinese and only 1.4 percent French. 

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