How Many Languages Are Spoken In The World
We often get asked at our company how many languages we can translate. The answer is more than 25 language combinations. Saying we could translate all languages would be unrealistic and most likely infeasible. But how many languages are there really in the world?
There are around 6000, according to Unesco. But the number is by no means fixed, just like languages themselves, which evolve and change to adapt to new societies and situations in the world. And some languages even die out. Its difficult then to calculate exactly how many languages there are worldwide. In some territories several languages are spoken, and knowing where one language starts, and another stops, is also tricky. Whats more, at least 43% of the approximate 6,000 languages spoken in the world are in danger of becoming extinct.
While the fact that there are 6,000 languages sounds a lot, 75% of the worlds population can speak with just 20 languages.
If we look at the number of languages for each continent, according to an article in the Washington Post, Asia is the continent with the most languages, some 2300. Its followed by Africa, with around 2000, America and Oceania, each with 1000 respectively, and finally Europe with some 280.
What Languages Have In Common
What all spoken languages share are certain very general structural properties. Every language has a grammar with the following components: meaningful units akin to words and other grammatical markers a sound system a system for arranging the meaningful units into sentences another for arranging the internal parts of words another for interpreting the meanings of utterances and principles for using language in actual discourse . The boundaries between these systems are not always clear. The study of phonetics, for example, deals with the more physical properties of speech, its relation to both acoustics and physiology, while phonology treats sounds more as abstractions, but there is no way to draw a sharp line between them.
Where Is The Largest Number Of Languages Found
The worlds ten biggest languages are used by 43% of the population of our planet. Of the approximately 7,000 languages, more than two thousand are used in Africa, and about one thousand in Papua alone. The country with the worlds largest concentration of languages is a small state of Vanuatu in the Pacific Ocean it has 106 languages, while in Europe 285 are used.
Table 1. Language distribution among continents 2014)
One reason for the different geographical distribution of languages is the varying conditions shaped by landforms. Countries on plains are often monolingual: this means that a single language is used in them. Mountainous areas are in turn very diverse in terms of language. Witold Maciejewski speaks of the mountains as of areas of refuge specific places where various ethnic groups find a kind of asylum, each living in a relatively small area. In countries where there are mountainous areas, the language of the central government has much less influence in the mountains than on the plains, where it has its centre.
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Lahnda 118 Million Native Speakers
With varying estimates of around 118 million native speakers, the last spot on the list goes to Lahnda, a Pakistani macrolanguage that primarily includes Western Punjabi! That doesnt even include Eastern Punjabi, which is spoken in India. The Punjab was sliced in two by the British when they left, and millions of people were forced to abandon their homes, businesses and families. But theyre slowly taking their revenge, Bollywood-style: Punjabi songs now account for 50 percent of chart-toppers. Thats a comeback if weve ever seen one.
Mandarin Chinese 1107 Million Speakers
Mandarin Chinese is the language with the most native speakers. But in recent years, the number of people interested in learning it as a second or third language has increased. This is due to the importance of China for the economic development of the worlds companies, both as a country that generates raw materials and as a technology developer.
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Languages Of The World
A guide to which languages are most widely spoken, hardest to learn and other revealing facts.
Its estimated that up to 7,000 different languages are spoken around the world. 90% of these languages are used by less than 100,000 people. Over a million people converse in 150-200 languages and 46 languages have just a single speaker!
Languages are grouped into families that share a common ancestry. For example, English is related to German and Dutch, and they are all part of the Indo-European family of languages. These also include Romance languages, such as French, Spanish and Italian, which come from Latin.
2,200 of the worlds languages can be found in Asia, while Europe has a mere 260.
Nearly every language uses a similar grammatical structure, even though they may not be linked in vocabulary or origin. Communities which are usually isolated from each other because of mountainous geography may have developed multiple languages. Papua New Guinea for instance, boasts no less than 832 different languages!
The world’s most widely spoken languages by number of native speakers and as a second language, according to figures from UNESCO , are: Mandarin Chinese, English, Spanish, Hindi, Arabic, Bengali, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, German and French.
Globalisation and cultural homogenisation mean that many of the worlds languages are in danger of vanishing. UNESCO has identified 2,500 languages which it claims are at risk of extinction.
Language Choices Will Be Context
There was a suggestion in some answers that language preferences might shift and accommodate, even as English was sweeping the internet. A typical iteration of this idea came from Esther Dyson, former chair of ICANN, and now of CNET Networks: Yes, English will displace some languages, but there will be, for example, much more Chinese. People pick their language according to whom they want to communicate with, and there will be many different communities with many different languages.
Paul Saffo, forecaster and strategist for the Institute for the Future, responded that the scenario is actually a present-tense description. He added: Badly-accented English is to global society today what Latin once was to Western society long ago. English will continue to advance, BUT the real question is whether this trend will peak in the next two decades, and I believe it will. Englishs acceptance will reach a certain high-water point not terribly larger than its penetration today. Then things will get interesting.
English is going to be the common language, wrote internet pioneer David Clark of MIT, but we will see an upsurge in use and propagation of local languages. For many users, their local language will still be the only language they use on the Internet. And of course, for low-complexity uses, we will see more translation.
Arabic 273 Million Speakers
The beauty of this language continues to amaze linguists around the world. As it has sounds in its pronunciation that are alien to the Western world, there has always been a fear of delving into its learning.
However, the experience of learning it has surprised a growing number of enthusiasts initially attracted to trade with Middle Eastern countries.
Portuguese 234 Million Speakers
In the business world, Brazil is not spoken of as another market, but as another planet. It is a completely different world from what is known even in the rest of Latin America.
That is why speaking Portuguese is opening the doors to a new world.
In any case, this language also represents an opportunity beyond Brazil, as it is spoken in Portugal and in several African countries.
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French 2741 Million Speakers
French is not only one of the most spoken languages in the world, its also an official language of the UN, EU, and other major international organizations. Its the official language of 29 countries and territories around the world, including Haiti and Rwanda.
The French vocabulary has also had a tremendous impact on other languages around the world, including English. Around 40% of English words have a French origin.
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Marathi 74 Million Speakers
Another language of India. There are 22 official languages in that country according to its Constitution, although the two main ones are English and Hindi.
The most beautiful thing about Marathi is its amazing literary tradition, which, through its famous writers, has put India several times on the map of world literature.
It is the language spoken in the city of Bombay.
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Italian 679 Million Speakers
The Italian language is a Romance language spoken by 68 million people all over the world. Its also the official language of Italy, Switzerland, and San Marino.
Italian developed from Latin and it has been heavily influenced by French. The Italian alphabet consists of 21 letters with 5 vowels and 16 consonants.
Italian has been a popular language to learn for centuries. It is a beautiful and romantic language that is full of history, food, art, and fashion!
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Languages Of Every Country
Below are the official languages of all 193 UN countries in the world. Thats all the members of the United Nations. In addition to this, a lot of places in the world are considered countries by many. More about this in this article. You can click on each country for more information. Please contact us if you notice any mistakes.
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Mandarin Chinese 1118 Billion Speakers
There are around 1.118 billion speakers of Mandarin Chinese, and it has been spoken in China for more than 3,000 years. Mandarin Chinese is also the official language of Singapore and Taiwan. There are many other languages in China , but Mandarin is by far the most widely spoken.
Many people mistake Mandarin for the most spoken language in the world. In reality, its the language with the most native speakers. This means there are a lot of great advantages for people who speak Mandarin.
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Is Human Language Different From Animal Communication
Human languages, as opposed to, for example, artificial logic or programming languages are natural languages. This raises the question what about the languages of animals? Birds as well as humans communicate by using sounds. Are ultrasonic signals through which dolphins communicate, or the so-called waggle dance of the bees, a set of movements used by bees to communicate where the food can be found, to be considered equivalent to the communication systems of human languages?
Both human language and the systems of communication characteristic of animals occur naturally and are the result of the evolution of species. Gatherer bees use a system of movements to inform their fellow bees where the food is, but they are unable to communicate that the food was in the same place a week earlier. In addition, people, unlike bees, have the opportunity to talk about general phenomena, abstract concepts such as love or life. Human language, as opposed to dancing bees, is characterized by abstraction and consequently, by the independence from the stimulus: people do not need to have direct access to the fact about which they talk with other users of the language.
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Internet Influences Might Create New Dialects In The English Language
Several respondents noted that English itself is likely to see some changes in the next 15 years, as globalization and new communications-content delivery systems alter cultural needs.
Bruce Edmonds of the Centre for Policy Modelling in the United Kingdom observed, 1) Technology will allow considerable interoperability between languages, making a single language less necessary. 2) As in all evolutionary systems, very successful, dominant species spawn subspecies English will continue to fragment into many sublanguages.
Bob Metcalfe, inventor of Ethernet, founder of 3Com, and now with Polaris Venture Partners, wrote, Of course, a lot of 2020 English will sound Mandarinish.Paul Saffo of the Institute for the Future wrote: Mandarin will of course grow dramatically, but I believe we will also see the rise of divergent English dialects.
Michael Gorrell, senior VP and CIO for EBSCO, wrote, Some internationalized variation of English will evolve. Internet and instant messenger-based acronyms will grow into everyday use, fwiw. This new slang will be combined with new words and concepts like blog, wiki, chat to form a new net dialect of English.
Japanese 150 Million Speakers
Although Japan is only 377,975 kilometers long, it has 126 million inhabitants. But to speak rigorously of the language, we must include other corners of the world such as Palau, Marshall Islands, Guam, Hawaii, Micronesia, South Korea, Taiwan, and some more
If with Portuguese we said that the language opens the doors to another planet, with Japanese we would have to speak of another universe.
It is about another culture that does not even have to do with the western one. The differences are so great that sometimes there are no common places between Japan and the rest of the world. And all that is the most interesting and attractive thing about learning Japanese.
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Where Do All These Different Languages Come From
The languages that are spoken today have changed and evolved significantly since the first languages were created.
Most of the popular languages that are spoken today are part of a language family. A language family is a group of languages that are related to a common ancestor.
The most common language families include Sino-Tibetan, Indo-European, Niger-Congo, and Austronesian.
The first languages were created when people began to communicate with one another. As humans migrated throughout the world, they brought their languages with them.
Over time, these languages changed and evolved to reflect their new cultural environments.
Different factors can lead to the evolution of a language. There might be a need for a new word or a change in the way people communicate.
For example, when Europeans first arrived in the Americas, they encountered many new plants and animals that did not exist in Europe. As a result, the European languages had an increased need for new words.
Portuguese 232 Million Native Speakers
This is another language whose reach owes much to its colonial past. Starting in the 15th century, avid Portuguese traders and conquerors brought their language to Africa, Asia and the Americas. The spread of Portuguese may have initially been tied to European colonization, but the colonized countries developed their own vibrant cultures that transformed the language forever. Today, Portuguese is spoken by 232 million native speakers in countries like Brazil, Goa, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bisseau, São Tomé and Príncipe and Macau. Its also the language of Machado de Assis, Bossa Nova, Mia Couto, Fernando Pessoa and Agualusa.
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List Of Languages By Number Of Native Speakers
This article ranks human languages by their number of native speakers.
However, all such rankings should be used with caution, because it is not possible to devise a coherent set of linguistic criteria for distinguishing languages in a dialect continuum.For example, a language is often defined as a set of varieties that are mutually intelligible, but independent national standard languages may be considered to be separate languages even though they are largely mutually intelligible, as in the case of Danish and Norwegian.Conversely, many commonly accepted languages, including German, Italian and even English, encompass varieties that are not mutually intelligible.While Arabic is sometimes considered a single language centred on Modern Standard Arabic, other authors describe its mutually unintelligible varieties as separate languages.Similarly, Chinese is sometimes viewed as a single language because of a shared culture and common literary language.It is also common to describe various Chinese dialect groups, such as Mandarin, Wu and Yue, as languages, even though each of these groups contains many mutually unintelligible varieties.
Nigerian Pidgin 1207 Million Speakers
Nigerian Pidgin is a lingua franca, which means that its a bridge language. Its a way for the more than 250 ethnic groups in Nigeria to communicate, but its not recognized as an official language in Nigeria.
Its most closely related to English, but different ethnic groups will incorporate words from their native languages, which means it can vary from speaker to speaker. Nigerian Pidgin has become such a common language in Nigeria and across the West African Coast that BBC has started publishing news in pidgin.
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Sao Tome And Principe
Portuguese 98.4% , Forro 36.2%, Cabo Verdian 8.5%, French 6.8%, Angolar 6.6%, English 4.9%, Lunguie 1%, other 2.4% note – shares sum to more than 100% because some respondents gave more than one answer on the census other Portuguese-based Creoles are also spoken
Arabic major-language sample: ÙØªØ§Ø¨ ØÙØ§Ø¦Ù Ø§ÙØ¹Ø§ÙÙØ Ø§ÙÙØµØ¯Ø± Ø§ÙØ°Ù ÙØ§ ÙÙÙÙ Ø§ÙØ§Ø³ØªØºÙØ§Ø¡ Ø¹ÙÙ ÙÙÙØ¹ÙÙÙØ§Øª Ø§ÙØ£Ø³Ø§Ø³ÙØ© The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.
Urdu 2313 Million Speakers
Urdu is an Indo-Iranian language with 230 million speakers. Its the official language of Pakistan and its also recognized as an official regional or secondary language in India, where speakers of both languages can understand one another.
Urdu has adopted several words directly from English, including airport, file, science, corrupt, bus, and library. English has also adopted words from Urdu and Hindi, like pajamas and khaki.
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