Interesting Facts and Statistics about Languages

  • The United States has no “official language.” Most people just assume it’s English. Source
     

  • The language of La Gomera spoken off the coast of Spain consists entirely of whistles. (…but what if you can’t whistle?) Source
     

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

  • About 2,400 of the world’s languages are in danger of becoming extinct, and about one language becomes extinct every two weeks. Source
     

  • In the Chinese language there are about 50,000 characters, but learning only 2000 characters of them can make you learn 90 % of that language. Source
     

  • Spanish contains about 4,000 Arabic words. Source
     

  • Multiple studies have shown that learning a second language can improve memory and slow the process of aging. This is one of our favorite language facts! Source
     

  • 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. Source
     

  • Some of the hardest languages in the world are Japanese, Mandarin, Arabic, and Korean. Source
     

  • Only 23 languages account for more than half of the world’s population! Source
     

  • Japanese uses three different writing systems: kanji, katakana, and hiragana. Source
     

  • The British empire facilitated the widespread of English language through its dominance and colonies. Most of the scientists, business owners, engineers have contributed their work in the English language which made English become the first truly global language. As British empire continued to form and dominate new colonies, these countries, in turn, became independent and developed their own norms for spoken English. Source
     

  • In India, only 12.18 % of people speak English which makes India the second largest English speaking country in the world by POPULATION. Source
     

  • Arabic, Hebrew, Urdu and Persian languages are written right to left. Source
     

  • About ⅔ of all languages are from Asia and Africa. Source
     

  • There are over 1.000 different languages on the African continent. Source
     

  • Hawaiians have over 200 different words for “rain.” Source
     

  • A scientist from NASA named Rick Briggs once said that Sanskrit is the only unambiguous language in existence and hence Sanskrit could be the most computer friendly language. Unambiguous language means clear and readily apparent to the mind which leads to only one conclusion, and having no confusion and Sanskrit is one of the most logical Languages in the World. Source
     

  • Over 20,000 new French words are created each year. Source
     

  • Botswana has a language made up of five primary “click” sounds. Source
     

  • Over 300 languages are spoken in London alone. No matter what, you have a pretty good chance of finding someone to speak with! Source
     

  • There are over 7,000 languages worldwide, and most of them are dialects. Source
     

  • South Africa has the most official languages with 11. Source

  • Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world. Source
     

  • The Papuan language of Rotokas only has 11 letters, making it the smallest alphabet. Source
     

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

  • Cambodian has the longest alphabet with 74 characters. Try making that into an alphabet song! Source
     

  • Russian was the first language spoken in outer space. Source
     

  • In Indonesian, “air” means “water.” Source
     

  • There are over 200 artificial languages in books, movies, and TV shows, such as “Klingon.” Source
     

  • Of all the language facts, this one fascinates us the most- at least half of the world’s population is bilingual! Source
     

  • Papua New Guinea has the most languages, at 840. Source
     

  • German is the most spoken language in Europe. Four countries have it as their official language. Source
     

  • The English language contains the most words, with over 250,000. Source
     

  • Many linguists believe that language originated around 100,000 BC. Source
     

  • On average, people only use a few hundred words in daily conversation, while most languages have 50,000+ words. Source
     

  • The first printed book was in German. 1455: The Gutenberg Bible (in Latin) was the first book printed in Europe with movable metal type, by Johannes Gutenberg. Source
     

  • The English word “alphabet” comes from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet – alpha and beta. Source
     

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

  • About 30% of English words come from French. Source
     

  • Twenty-one countries have Spanish as their official language, making it a great choice for travelers. Source
     

  • The US has the second-highest number of Spanish speakers, after Mexico. Source
     

  • People who speak and understand Chinese use both sides of the brain, whereas English only uses the left side. Source
     

  • The Pope tweets in nine languages, but his Spanish account has the most followers. Source
     

  • Mandarin Chinese is the most spoken language in the world. If you speak it, you can speak to 13% of the world’s population! Source
     

  • Some of the oldest languages in the world are Hebrew, Egyptian, Chinese, Sanskrit, and Tamil. Source
     

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