language 101

Techies get their entertainment from small talk about “meatspace”, “shelfware” and “yoyo mode”. As language boffins, we get our kicks from a slightly different “kettle of fish”. We thought we would share some interesting facts about languages.

  • The most spoken languages are Chinese (1.200bn.), Spanish (0.400bn.), English (0.335bn.), Hindi (0.260bn.) and Arabic (0.237bn). Chinese and Arabic refer to a collection of dialects of at least 1 million people each.
  • There are between 6000 and 7000 languages in the world.
  • There are 2400 languages classified as being endangered.
  • Most of the world’s languages are spoken in Asia and Africa.
  • Most European languages belong to three broad groups: Germanic, Romance and Slavic.
  • At least half of the world’s population are bilingual or plurilingual.
  • Russia (140 million inhabitants) has the highest number of languages spoken (130-200 depending on the classification).
  • In London, about 300 languages are spoken.
  • There is a language in Botswana that consists of 5 different click sounds.
  • One language disappears every 14 days.
  • The bible is available in 2454 languages

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