Do you know there are 7,111 spoken languages in the world today? This is according to Ethnologue which is the most extensive language catalogue in the world. However, the number of languages decline every year. Of the 7,111 languages, more than 90% are spoken by less than 100,000 people. This means that the less dominant languages are more likely to decline in number as compared to the more dominant languages.
Of all these languages, there are interesting facts about that that will surprise you
1. There is a language spoken by 8 people
Can you imagine this? The Busuu language is spoken by eight people in the world! It’s the language of Southern Bantoid of Cameroon. There were 8 speakers of the language in 1986 and 3 in 2005
Translate your documents, content and your website in 40+ languages. Upload your files or paste your text and a professional translator will start working immediately. Order your translation now
2. Over 300 languages are spoken in the US
The US is considered to be one of the most diverse countries in the world. There is a huge number of unique settlers here such that they had a problem choosing the official language when creating laws by the continental congress.
3. There is no official language in the US
With so many languages in the US, there is no official language, some people think its English but it’s not. There are so many settlers bringing confusion in the official language to use.
4. Spoken languages become extinct
A language dies out if there is no one to speak it, or record using written variations. The dialect dies out and today, there are 241 languages that have become extinct.
5. Half the population of the world speaks 23 languages
More than half of the global population speaks 23 languages only. This is as compared to more than seven thousand languages is interesting.
6. Half the world is bilingual.
At least more than half of the world’s population speak more than one language.
7. One country has more than 800 languages
Papua New Guinea is the country with the most number of languages in the world. It has 841 languages but its predicted that 40 of these languages are to become extinct as only a few people speak them.
8. Most translated document
The bible is the most translated document followed closely by Pinocchio. The bible is translated to 683 languages and parts of it has been translated to more than 3000 languages.
9. Oldest written language
Sumerian is the oldest written language dating back to 3500 BC followed by Egyptian dating back to 3300BC. Old Chinese dates back to 1250BC
10. The love language
French is known in the world today as the love language. Not only because of the accent but France and Italy are known to be fine love destinations and it happens to be the most dominant in these countries.
11. Smallest alphabet
The Papuan language is the language of Rotokas and its known to have 11 letters only. This makes it the smallest alphabet.
12. Almost all languages in the world have been influenced by another language.
This is all thanks to diversity and immigration of people in different places in the world.
13. Basque is the only language in the world that has no correlation to any other language.
It is spoken in the mountains between Spain and France and the people here didn’t get out too much hence the isolation of the language.
14. Most official languages
While the US boasts having no official language, South Africa is known to have the most official languages totaling to 11. All this thanks to the diversity of the country and their culture.
15. Most spoken language
Chinese mandarin is the most spoken language in the world with more than 1.3 billion speakers. However, these are more native speakers and the language isn’t well adopted in the world.
16. The language of War
One of the most beautiful languages to learn is Russian. It’s also considered by most people as the language of war. Not to know why but the average Russian is said to be always angry and the languages doesn’t do their moods any good.
17. Most dominant language
While it’s not the most spoken language in the world, English is the most dominant. It’s well received and adopted in the world with many people finding it easy to learn and it’s an official language in most countries.
18. Thank the British empire and the iPhone
The dominance and diverse qualities of the English language are all thanks to the iPhone and the British empire. England had so many territories and colonies and they had no other option other than to adopt the language.
19. The official language of the air
Did you even know anything like this exists? This is the language of airplane travel and it happens to be English adding to its dominance in the world. Everywhere in the world, the pilot and his crew know English.
20. Longest alphabet
The Cambodian language has the longest alphabet with more than 73 characters. It’s also one of the toughest languages to learn by yourself.
21. The language of symbols
Instead of alphabets, the Chinese mandarin language consists of symbols. These represent different letters and are written differently. Most people assume they are drawn not written.
22. Toughest language to learn
Chinese Mandarin is considered to be the toughest language to learn in the world. All thanks to the lack of alphabets. They have symbols instead and its estimated that the average Chinese local knows more than 8000 symbols while you have to know more than 3000 symbols to read a newspaper.
23. Alphabet is Greek
Alphabet is an English word derived from Greek. The first two letters of the Greek alphabet are alpha and beta that in turn make the word alphabet.
24. First printed language
The first language to be printed was German. It wasn’t the first language to be written however but it was printed on a book.
25. Most popular languages
English and French are two of the most popular languages used on the internet. These two are taught in every country in the world with some of these countries adopting either as their official national language.
26. Death pledge
The English language has been influenced heavily by other languages. The word mortgage means death pledge in French.
27. Nigeria has more English speakers than UK
Africa is one of the continents where the English language is well adopted. Nigeria has approximately 90 million English speakers as compared to the UK which has approximately 60 million.
28. English Dialects
Did you know there are more than 24 English dialects and in the US alone? A native speaker can tell you people from New York, California, Boston and other places sound different.
29. English dominates even in the digital world
Of the information stored by computers in the world, 80% is in English.
30. Fastest spoken language
Japanese speakers speak faster as compared to any other language while mandarin speakers speak slower.
31. Japanese and Chinese are not related
As much as different languages are influenced by others, Japanese and Chinese aren’t related in any way. Japanese is not related directly to any other language but the writing systems are similar but not the same.
32. English has no guiding institution
Of the top ten most spoken languages, English is the only language with no institution setting language standards. Experts can dictate the language’s rules but they don’t have decisive powers.
33. English is the most evolving language
Each year, the English dictionary sees and addition of almost 4000 new words. This is as a result of the diversification of the language and technology which has led to the replacement of older words.
34. English has the shortest grammatically correct sentence
GO! This is a command or sentence that instructs people to do something. Here, the subject isn’t written or spoken but only understood.
35. The English and British royalty have a motto
Surprisingly, this motto isn’t written in English yet these two are the mother of the English language. The motto is written in French. The motto of the Order of the Garter which is UK’s third most prestigious honor is also written in French.
36. English did not originate in England
Even though England is the land of the English language, the language itself traces its roots in Germany from Angles who were a people living in the West German seaside.
37. Asia has the most languages
Asia has more than 2300 languages spoken closely followed by Africa with 2138 languages. Surprisingly, Europe has the lease languages with only 286 of them.
38. The English alphabet gets smaller
Over the years, the English alphabet has gotten smaller. It used to have 28 letters now it has 26.
39. Ghost words
The English dictionary had a ghost word, ‘dord’ which appeared in the dictionary for more than 7 years before it was noticed and removed.
40. There are over 200 fake languages
These are the languages made up from books, TV, or film. Klingon is one of these languages.
41. The US has more than 300 language speakers
While the US doesn’t have an official language, it has more than 300 languages making it daunting to come up with one official language.
42. Italian is not the official language of Italy
They choose a dialect known as the Florentine as their official language. Most regions here speak their own dialects.
43. Kinshasa is the second largest French speaking city
Paris is the largest French speaking city closely followed by Kinshasa the capital city of Congo.
44. German has three genders
While most languages have either feminine or masculine, German has feminine, masculine and neuter.
45. English is a French variant
Reason being 30% of the English words are derived from French.
46. Half brain
When you speak and understand English, you use only the left side if the brain while when the same applies to chines, you use both sides of the brain.
47. The first language in outer space
Russian was the first language to be spoken in outer space not English as many people believe.
48. Most words
The English language has the most number of words with over 250,000 of them.
48. North Korea and South Korea speak different languages.
They have been separated for so long they have different grammatical rules and vocabularies.
49. London has more than 300 different language speakers.
Anyone has a good chance to find someone who speaks their language here.
50 The pope understands a lot of languages
Not sure how many languages the pope can speak but he tweets in nine languages. The Spanish account has the majority of followers.
51. Water and air
Did you know that in Indonesian, “air” means “water”?