15 Interesting Facts About Languages

You might be a be a beginner at language learning. You might know the importance of speaking more than one language. You also might speak more than one language. But did you know all these interesting facts about languages?

Take a deserved short break from learning a new language and check out these awesome facts about different languages of the world that you probably never knew about:

  1. There are about 7000 languages in the world. In Europe there are 260 languages spoken which is only 3% of the world’s total. The largest number of the world’s languages are spoken in Asia and Africa. There are about 2,200 languages in Asia and more than 1000 different languages are spoken in Africa.
  2. In many isolated communities due to factors such as geographic or political isolation, new languages have been developed. For instance, in Papua New Guinea alone there is an astonishing number of 832 different languages!
  3. There are about 200 constructed languages (conlangs) that have been developed since the 17th century. At first they were created by the great minds of the time, but later on these languages’ goal became simpler international communication but they are also used for commercial and business reasons.
  4. The most popular conlang of present time is Esperanto, which is spoken by 2 million people and also got featured in a lot of movies. It was invented in 1887 by the Polish doctor Ludwig Zamenhof, and got him the nickname Dr. Esperanto. He wanted to provide all people with a common language, therefore he came up with Esperanto, a simple language to learn and a politically neutral one.
  5. “Esperanto literally means” “one who hopes”. Esperanto sounds a bit like Latin because the majority of its vocabulary is based mostly on Latin, but it also has elements taken from English, Polish, German and modern Romance languages.
  6. Bilingualism and multilingualism bring with them great benefits. Multilinguals and bilinguals grasp other languages easier, their thinking process is enhanced and they have economic advantages as well, as more jobs are available to people who speak more than one language.
  7. Euskara language is the language of the Basque people which has about 720 000 native speakers. It doesn’t belong to any language family and doesn’t even have any resemblance at all to any other language.
  8. There was a word in the English dictionary from 1932 to 1940 which didn’t have a meaning. The word was “Dord” and it got there because of a printing error. It was known as the ghost word.
  9. “Pronunciation” is the most mispronounced word in the English language! Oh the irony!
  10. English as a Flying Language: All pilots on international flights communicate in English. In order to lower the number of misunderstandings that lead to accidents the English language was adopted as an international civil aviation language.
  11. There are 50,000 characters in the Chinese language. You’ll need to know about 2,000 for only reading a newspaper!
  12. The reason why computer keyboards are set the way the are instead of in alphabetical order dates back to the time when typewriters were used. To prevent the mechanical rods from clashing with each other, the keys were arranged in a way so that the most used letters got placed further away from each other.
  13. Mandarin, Malay, Indonesian have no tenses. The time of the action is determined mostly by the adverbs in the sentence.
  14. Language endangerment is the risk of a language not being spoken anymore. There are about 2400 endangered languages in the world, as 231 are already completely extinct. It is estimated that 1 language dies every two weeks, while the Northwest Pacific Plateau of North America, Siberia, and Northern Australia are the areas where the most endangered languages are spoken.
  15. In the Irish language, like in other Gaelic languages, words for “Yes” and “No” do not exist. This is how Irish speakers answer to “yes or no” questions:

Q: An éisteann Kieran lena mháthair riamh? (Does Kieran listen to his mother?)

A: Éisteann (meaning: Listens) or Éisteann sé (meaning: Doesn’t listen)

Hope you enjoyed this article. Don’t hesitate to comment if you have anything to add!

2 Comments

  1. Fabulous facts!
    It’s amazing how many languages exist in the world, even when we think the world is shrinking through easy transportation and the Internet. Language is power!

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