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How Many Languages are There?

There are almost 7,000 living languages in the world, plus hundreds of extinct and endangered languages. There are more than 2,000 living languages in both Africa and Asia, and there are about 200 languages spoken in Europe on a daily basis.

More talking points about languages:

  • About 95 percent of the world's languages are spoken by only about 6 percent of the global population. That means that the majority of languages have only a small number of people who use them regularly.

  • The language with the most native speakers is Mandarin Chinese, with almost 900 million speakers. Spanish is the language with the next most native speakers, with more than 400 million native speakers, followed by English, which has about 300 million native speakers.

  • Some linguists believe that 90 percent of all languages will become extinct by 2050. They claim that the whole structure of language is in crisis, in part because of the spread of the Internet, and that language will completely revamp itself in the coming years.

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Discuss this Article

anon323037
Post 5

Spanish will most definitely not wipe out all other languages. If anything, Mandarin, English or French will.

anon311372
Post 4

@anon143232: Not really. Spanish only has power behind it in the Americas. In Africa it is a minority language, and in Asia it doesn't even exist. In Spain, it isn't the only official language. Languages like Catalan and Basque are also recognized as official languages. So Spanish is a second language to a lot of Spainards. The Americas are that way because the majority of the American population is Spanish speaking. (Spanish 388,000,000+) (English 340,000,000) (Portuguese 200,000,000)*

*Spanish includes South America only, not the Caribbean or Central America, so a "plus' was added. English includes North America and Portuguese is Brazil.

anon176391
Post 3

@anon143232 - Yeah, makes sense. But English is already a lingua franca in many countries - that means that it's the common language of business and international relations. As it is so commonly taught in so many countries, you can bet that if two people don't share the same native tongue, they'll certainly have English in common to rely on. Yes, it may be third on native basis, but you can bet it's the first in spoken language, native or otherwise.

Despite that, a big effort must be made for people to learn each others' language, more if possible.

anon143232
Post 1

Spanish is going to wipe out all other languages. It already has in America!

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