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May 2024
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Language Facts That May Surprise You


  • Today, there are more than 7,000 languages and dialects spoken around the world. Chinese, Spanish, English, and Hindi lead the list as the most widely spoken.
  • 90% of these are spoken by fewer than 100,000 people, leading linguists to predict some 2,400 native tongues are at risk of dying out.
  • Papua New Guinea is home to 850 languages, the most in the world. At least 40 are spoken by only a handful of the nation’s 7.6 million residents.
  • More than half the world is bilingual, paralleling the more than 40% of bilingual Toastmasters.
  • Africa has the most official languages, at 11.
  • The Cambodian alphabet is the longest of all, at 73 characters.
  • Can you speak Klingon? It’s one of the world’s 200 fake languages, dreamed up for books, movies, and TV programs.
  • The German language has three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter.
  • Kinshasa, the capital of Congo, is second only to Paris in French-speaking people.
  • With so many diverse languages at risk of dying out, the United Nations has named 2022–2032 the Decade of Indigenous Languages, to support the preservation and revitalization of native tongues.

Source: Speakt, a professional translation service.

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