11 Incredible Language Facts

By OptiLingo

Do You Know Diverse and Interesting Language Is?

If you want to know how to learn Spanish, then learning more about other languages is an important step to prepare you for fluency. If you’re in a foreign language learning programs, then you can even further appreciate Spanish even more by learning more about other surprising language facts. Knowing how different languages are will help make your language learning experience more successful.

7097 Languages Currently Exist

Languages can be traced back to similar routes. These routes spread over region and time. If you think of language as a tree, then you can picture how many different various of language there can be. Currently, there are 7097 languages that exist around the world today. Many are only spoken by small populations, some as small as 10,000, others as small as two. As more and more people gravitate towards more popular languages, the pool of native speakers continues to shrink and those languages eventually go extinct.

There are 2400 Endangered Languages

At the current rate of language extinction, 40% of the world languages will disappear in less than a 100 years. This is because 1000s of languages are endangered.As the world’s most popular languages continue to grow, they absorb people who speak less popular languages. The inhabitants of these areas often feel they need to learn the more popular language to succeed. This means that they spend less time focusing on learning and maintaining their native language, causing it to phase out.

Every 2 Weeks Another Language Goes Extinct

Despite there being over 7000 languages in the world, every two weeks, one of them becomes extinct. As mentioned before, this is a result of larger languages absorbing populations of people who speak a different, less popular language. The mainstream language is viewed as a way of achieving further success, and so many of these people focus on mastering those language instead of their native ones. A language can die out from war and disease as well.

There are 573 Extinct Languages

573 languages are extinct. While this may bring up languages like Old English, Latin, and Ancient Greek, that’s not accurate. Those are dead languages. Dead languages are still in use, despite having no native speakers. However, an extinct langauge is a language that lacks native speakers.

Half the People in the World Use Only 23 Languages

Out of all the languages that exist currently in the world, 23 of them are used by half of the global population. The most spoken languages are Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Japanese, Hindi, Lahnda, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

The Most Translated Book in the World Is the Bible

The Holy Bible is the most translated book in the world with translations in 650 different languages. And if you only count the New Testament, then that brings the total language translations to 1521. There are a few other widely translated books that trail behind. The Little Prince, with over 300 translations, is the second most translated book in the world, a title held previously by Pinocchio with around 260 translations. Harry Potter, Tintin, and Alice in Wonderland have been widely translated as well.

The Smallest and the Biggest Alphabets

Khmer has the largest alphabet out of any language in the world. This language has over 74 letters its alphabet and it’s used by over 8 million people, mostly Cambodians.

The smallest alphabet in the world belongs to Rotokas with only 12 letters for its some 4000 speakers to use.

Papua New Guinea Uses over 800 Languages

Papua New Guinea’s inhabitants use a total of 856 different languages, making it the country with the most diverse collection of language. This is over twice as many as the United States that is home to over 300 languages. However, the U.S. has a population over 40 times that over Papua New Guinea’s 8 million people.

Your Mental Health Can Improve by Becoming Bilingual

The benefits of learning another language go well beyond being able to communicate with more people; learning another language benefits your brain health. Learning a new language involves using different parts of your brain than being a monolingual speaker. Fluency requires global brain use, as people who speak more than one language have to shift around between languages as they communicate. Those that are multilingual have more active brains and as a result are better prepared to fight of degenerative brain diseases.

There Is No Official Language in the US

English is not the official language of the U.S., despite it being a very popular idea. There is no official language, despite many previous attempts. The main reasoning behind this is because America was founded as a collection of small, diversely populated colonies. Creating an established national language seemed to clash with the ideologies of freedom established by the original settlers.

Argentina Uses Welsh

Argentina has a population of Welsh speakers. In the mid-1800s, Welsh settlers left England as a means of keeping their culture alive. They were unlike other waves of settlers who left England to fight off religious persecution or to seek the fortune of the colonies. As part of their agreement to declare allegiance to Argentina, these settlers were allowed to protect the culture of their people. Outside of Wales, Argentina has the second highest collection of Welsh speakers on the planet.

There Are Many Aspects to Language

Through understanding the diversity of language and the unique set of characteristics that exist as a result of that, you can learn to develop an appreciation for language. This will allow you to more readily learn and understand languages as you work towards achieving a quick way to learn Spanish or any other language. Knowing that language exists as a rapidly changing, organic entity will help you better master the it while learning what makes it a defining characteristic of our humanity.