- Linguists estimate that there are approximately 6,500 languages spoken in the world today. However, about 2,000 of these languages have fewer than 1,000 speakers.
- About half of the world’s languages are no longer spoken by children.
- The most popular language in the world is Mandarin Chinese with over one billion speakers.
- The five main Romance languages (there are many more) are Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese and Romanian. Although we all know French is the language of love, the term Romance actually comes from the Latin expression “romanice loqui”, which means to speak Roman.
- Of all the Romance languages, Italian is the closest to Latin. Dante Alighieri was the one to formalize the Italian language by combining dialects from the south with his refined Italian from Tuscany.
- Castilian Spanish is not the only language spoken in Spain. There are at least 3 other major languages spoken in addition to other variations and dialects. The other major languages are Galician, Basque and Catalan.
- From the 17th–19th centuries French was pre-eminent as an international language. It was eclipsed by English in the 20th Century. Nowadays more than 75 million people speak French and it is the official language of France, Luxembourg, Haiti and over fifteen African countries. It is also one of the official languages of Belgium, Switzerland and Canada.
- Portuguese is spoken by over 230 million people worldwide and is the sixth most popular language in the world.
Let’s talk about English:
- No word in the English language rhymes with silver, orange, month and purple.
- King George I of England did not speak English. He only wrote and spoke German.
Why translators are so important:
- The last words of Albert Einstein will never be known. They were spoken in German and the attending nurse did not understand German!