How many languages are spoken in the world?


People communicate through language, whether the words are spoken or written down. Today, there are some 7,000 different languages spoken around the globe. Many more languages were spoken in the past, which have now been forgotten. The languages of the most powerful economic and political nations are spoken by millions of people.

  1. Chinese 1.3 billion people are native speakers of one of the family of Chinese languages. Some 880 million people communicate in Mandarin Chinese, a group of dialects (language variations) from northern and southwestern China.
  2. French Spoken by 220 million people worldwide, French is an official language of the United Nations. It is one of the family of Romance languages, which developed from Latin.
  3. Hebrew The holy language of the Jewish faith, Hebrew is spoken by 9 million people around the world. Many religious texts are written in an ancient form of Hebrew, in use from the 12th to the 6th century BCE.
  4. Arabic Some 300 million people communicate with a dialect of Arabic, a family of very old languages closely related to Hebrew. The Qu’ran, the holy book of the Islamic faith, is written in Arabic.
  5. Hindi The family of languages spoken in northern and central India is known as Hindi. As well as 425 million native speakers, there are many Indians who use Hindi as a second language.
  6. Portuguese This Romance language originated in Portugal, but spread to parts of South America in the 16th and 17th centuries. Today, it has 230 million speakers Worldwide.
  7. Japanese Used by 130 million people, the Japanese language can be adapted by the speaker to show respect to someone, according to their age and social status.
  8. Spanish Originating in northern Spain, this romance language has 577 million speakers. It is widely spoken in Central and Southern America. Today, Mexico has the most Spanish speakers.
  9. Bengali Also known as Bangla, this language is India’s second most spoken language. Bengali is also used in other parts of southern Asia, with 230 million native speakers.
  10. Greek This ancient language has used the same alphabet since the 9th century BCE. Today, about 13 million speakers in Greece and Greek communities worldwide keep this language alive.
  11. Latin The language of the Roman Empire, Latin developed into the family of Romance languages, as well as lending its vocabulary to a number of other languages.
  12. Russian With 160 million native speakers and many more using it as a second language, Russian is an important language in Europe and one of six official languages of the United Nations.
  13. English This widely spoken language went global through British colonization. Today, there are 400 million native speakers, and it is the most used language on the Internet.

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Why is Bengali not in the list of classical languages of India?

At present there are 6 languages which are marked as classical language in India.

  • Tamil (declared in 2004)

  • Sanskrit (2005)

  • Kannada (2008)

  • Telugu (2008)

  • Malayalam (2013)

  • Oriya (or Odia) (2014)

The reason why Bengali is not in this list is - Bengali has been derived from Magadhi-Apabhransha which is again derived from Sansrit-Prakrit. Unlike the classic languages which predates bengali and are more of a direct language.

According to information provided by the Ministry of Culture in the Rajya Sabha in February 2014, the guidelines for declaring a language as ‘Classical’ are:

“(i) High antiquity of its early texts/recorded history over a period of 1500-2000 years;

(ii) A body of ancient literature/texts, which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers;

(iii) The literary tradition be original and not borrowed from another speech community;

(iv) The classical language and literature being distinct from modern, there may also be a discontinuity between the classical language and its later forms or its offshoots.”

Bengali does not satisfy all the criteria mentioned above.


Credit : Quora

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What is body language?

Every day, you use your arms and hands and head or other parts of your body to help you say things. Sometimes your actions say things almost better than words can.

In school, you raise your hand. This tells the teacher you are asking for a turn to speak. When riding a bicycle, you let others know you are going to turn by signalling with your arm. Once in a while, you might shrug your shoulders to tell someone, “I don’t know,” or “Hmmm, maybe”.

Babies “speak” almost from birth. They frown, laugh and snuggle. Their mothers and fathers respond to every “word”.

Everyone around the world uses body languages to speak. We all greet a friend with a smile, and we all frown or cry when we are sad. But be careful! Some body language means different things in different places.

Did you stick out your tongue? In Tibet, you’re saying, “I respect you”. In Western countries, you’re saying just the opposite!

Did you tap your forehead? In the U.S.A., you are saying “smart”. In the Netherlands, you are saying “crazy”.

Did someone tell you “Shhh”? In Australia, you need to be quiet. In Germany, you’d better “hurry up”.

Did you nod your head, then shake your head? In most countries, you said “Yes”, then “No”. In Bulgaria, you said “No”, then “Yes”.

Saying good-bye? Wave to the English with your palm facing out, fingers waving. Wave to Italians or Peruvians with your palm facing in.

Are you making a circle with your forefingers and thumb? In most countries, that means “Okay!” In France, it means “It’s worthless”. In Greece and Italy, it’s an insult.

Want to point to something? In most countries, you use your finger. In Thailand, you use your chin.

A pinch on the cheek is a friendly greeting and a sign of affection in some parts of Eastern Europe.


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What are the different ways to say hello?

How many different ways can you say hello? Here are seven different ways. Try them!

  • In French, you say Bon jour

  • In Portuguese, you say Ola

  • In Turkish, you say Merhaba

  • In Vietnamese, you say Xin Chao

  • In Spanish, you say Hola

  • In Lithuanian, you say Labas

  • In Swahili, you say Jambo

Now, how do you “see” hello? It depends on who’s writing it! Try copying some of these friendly written greetings from around the world.

Do you want to learn more words in another language? Find a radio station or TV channel on which people are speaking another language. Listen for a while. See if you can work out what some of the words mean. Practise saying them. Or read product labels and public signs that include your language and another language. Compare the words and see how much you can understand.


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Why do children speak more than one language?

How many ways can you say “Hello”? Some children speak more than one language, because the people they live with speak different languages. Children who live in places like Western Europe, where many countries and cultures are close together, often learn a second language.

Even people who speak the same language don’t always say words the same way. In the U.S.A., people in the northeastern states may say “dahg”. People in the southeastern states may say “dawg”. They are all saying the word dog, but they have different ways of saying it.

There are about 6,000 languages in the world, and most people speak and understand only one or two. People who know more than one language can become interpreters. Interpreters are people who translate words from one language into another. When world leaders meet, they often exchange ideas through an interpreter.

When people who do not speak the same language get together, they talk through interpreters.

Canada has two official languages, English and French. Many children there learn to speak both.


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