15 Interesting Facts About The World’s Languages



© Photo Karl Taylor

1. More than 6.000 languages are listed worldwide.

2. 50 of them are employed by 4.1 billion people (about 60% of the world’s population). The other 40% (2.7 billion) speak the 10 most widely used languages in the world.

3. In Papua New Guinea there are approximately 800 languages, representing about 15% of all languages in the world.

4. There are over 1.000 different languages on the African continent.

5. The United Nations uses 6 official languages: English, French, Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Spanish.

6. The longest alphabet in the world, comprising 74 letters, is Cambodian.

7. Chinese writing consists of 40.000 ideograms. The word ”difficulty / inconvenience” uses the same ideograms’ pair as the word woman.

8. The taki-taki (sranan) language, spoken in western French Guiana and Suriname, contains only 340 words.

9. Priests, lawyers and doctors use in their daily lives an average of 15.000 words. Skilled workers – between 5 and 7 thousand words, and farmers – about 1.600.

10. During the 19th century ampersand (&) was part of the English alphabet.

11. In the 18th century, Benjamin Franklin counted over 200 synonyms of the word drunk.

12. In most languages the word mommy begins with the letter “m”.

13. The Russian (Soviet) acronym Niiomtplaboparmbetzhelbetrabsbomonimonkonotdtekhstromont is the longest in the world (56 letters but only 54 in Cyrillic: Нииомтплабопармбетжелбетрабсбомонимонконотдтехстромонт) means “The laboratory for shuttering, reinforcement, concrete and ferroconcrete operations for composite-monolithic and monolithic constructions of the Department of the Technology of Building-assembly operations of the Scientific Research Institute of the Organization for building mechanization and technical aid of the Academy of Building and Architecture of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics”.

14. Different estimates and statistics show that the number of people speaking a given language varies from one to two, as in French, which in some censuses reaches 118 Mn and in others 220 Mn. However, unquestionably in all statistics, the first most spoken language in the world remains:

1. Mandarin Chinese 765-1’500 Mn
2. English 466-528 Mn
3. Spanish 466-528 Mn
4. Hindi 380-490 Mn
5. Arabic 353-422 Mn
6. Russian 272-277 Mn
7. Bengali 215-250 Mn
8. Portuguese 217-240 Mn
9. Indonesian 163-268 Mn
10. Japanese 123-132 Mn
11. French 118-220 Mn
12. German 111-169 Mn


15. The largest Internet users per language 15-interesting-facts-langues-languages-язык



The most widespread content on the Internet by language 15-interesting-facts-langues-languages-языкbusiness-divider

The hegemony of the English language does not require further comment. But quite surprising are the Chinese language (second biggest Internet audience, but the ninth in terms of content) and the Russian language (the eighth in terms of users number, but the most important content volume after English). This must certainly mean that the Russians have ideas…  :)


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