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Languages of the world in 6 graphics and maps

03 Jan 2016


Can you get your head around how many languages are used around the world?

There are at least 7,102 living languages in the world

1 - Languages Spoken Continent by Continent

  Graphic: 5 boxes representing 5 Continents

Smallest box: 286 languages, Europe has the least languages

2nd smallest box: 1064 languages in the two American Continent

3rd smallest box: 1313 languages in regions of the Pacific

4th smallest box: 2138 languages in Africa

The largest box: 2301 languages in Asia

  Source: Ethnologue  Encyclopedia for world languages, eighteenth edition                      Yalla


2 - Most widely spoken languages

Chinese is the mother tongue more than any other language in the world followed by Indian and Urdu which share the same root.

Arabic is mother tongue to 465 million people, 100 million more than Spanish. These numbers are from a Study of the University of Dusseldorf in Germany, which lasted 15 years.

There are 7.2 billion humans on earth

Almost a third of humans speak one of these 12 languages

Chinese (all dialects): 1039 million

Hindi-Urdu: 588 million

English: 527 million

Arabic: 367 million

Spanish: 389 million

Russian: 254 million

Bengali: 250 million

French: 118 million

Japanese: 123 million

German: 132 million

Italian: 67 million

Portuguese: 193 million

Source: University of Dusseldorf, Office of Residential References This department doesn’t exist, translators must ensure proper nouns are correct


3 - The map below lists countries that speak the widest range of languages - Iraq is the 73rd most diverse

Source:     Source: Ethnologue  Encyclopedia for world languages, eighteenth edition                   

4 - Many languages are officially spoken in more than one country, illustrating the colonial past

English: 101 countries

Arabic: 60 countries

French: 51 countries

Chinese: 33 countries

Spanish: 31 countries

Persian: 29 countries

German: 18 countries

Russian: 16 countries

Malaysian: 13 countries

Portuguese: 12 countries

  Source: Ethnologue Encyclopedia for world languages, eighteenth edition      

5 - Languages with the least number of speakers. By the end of this century, it is estimated that half of all languages will be extinct.

3% of world’s population speak 96% of the current languages, and amongst those, 2,000 have less than a thousand native speakers. Most of the languages expected to die out by the end of this century are from the vast deserts of Africa and Australia, and the rainforests of South American and Southeast Asia.

Languages in danger of extinction

Yellow: in danger of extinction

Orange: in significant danger of extinction

Red: in serious danger of extinction

Source: UNSCO, coalition of multitude languages


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