There are about 7139 languages in the world (as per ethnologue). The number is constantly increasing because new languages in the world emerge every day. These languages in the world are dynamic and living.
However, with the advancements in lifestyle, one-third of these languages face certain risks of extinction. Compared to all other continents, the Asian continent has the largest percentage depending on the number of languages spoken, around 32%. About 2,300 languages are spoken across the Asian continent.
The African continent follows 30%, and we have an estimation that 2,000 languages are spoken in the African continent. Pacific stands third with 18.5%, the Americas are in fourth place with 15%, and last is Europe with 4%.
It is estimated that around 915 languages in the world have become extinct. (Also read: Oldest languages in the world).
12 Extinct languages
Many languages in the world lost their identity during each millennium. Especially in the 2nd millennium BC, only seven languages have died out. During the 20th century, 110 became extinct languages. In this current century, a total of 12 languages have been declared dead.
- Ancient Egyptian
- Andalusian Arabic
- Portuguese-based Creole
- Biblical Hebrew
Top 10 Influential languages in the world
We all know that the English language scores the top rank in the most influential languages in the world. English ranks third among the most spoken languages in the world (as first language).
English is being tracked by French, which has provided an official language status in 25 countries. Arabic closely follows Spanish ranks in the third position and. Mandarin grabs the fifth position.
From the sixth to the tenth position, Russian, Portuguese, German, Japanese, Hindi, and Urdu occupy the list.
Sign and written languages
There is also a matter of uncertainty considering how many languages in the world are in written forms. The closest estimates are around 300 languages. Sign language is not globally accepted, certain countries permit using sign languages, but it’s closely linked to the historical background.
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Genetic relationship of language
The Indo-Europe family narrates the genetic relation of languages by having almost 200 languages globally interrelated. Around 140 language families exist where 75 are being isolated, and about 47 remain unidentified.
Diversity of the language
The distribution of languages is not standard and uniform. For example, there are about 2303 spoken languages in the Asian continent, whereas Europe occupies only 285. The small nation of New Guinea has about 3.9 million, and it has not less than 828 different languages. Also, we have around 165 indigenous languages spoken by the inhabitants of North America.
Instant disappearing languages
A large portion of the languages lost their identity very rapidly. This phenomenon has become a matter of concern where around 25% of the languages in the world carry less than 1000 speakers. When there is no longer a speaker’s availability of speaking any particular language, the death of that language is considered inevitable, which has become a debate topic among linguists.
Countries with hundreds of languages
- Papua New Guinea is considered the most diverse linguistic country in the entire world. It has more than twice the number of languages spoken across Europe, where over 840 languages are spoken.
- Indonesia has 709 languages spoken. The Indonesian language is the official language. Here, most languages are Austronesian.
- Nigeria has 527 languages spoken. Nigeria has many other unclassified languages with a mixture of the Niger-Congo family language and Afro-Asiatic family language. (Read also: Languages of Nigeria)
- India has 454 languages spoken. English and Hindi are the official languages. The Hindi language is widely spoken and stands fourth widely spoken language in the world. (Read also: Languages of India)
- The US has 347 languages, with the English language being supreme. Immigrants from other countries have greatly influenced demographic patterns in the USA.
- China has more than 300 languages spoken. The most popular language is Mandarin Chinese; however, Standard Chinese is the official language. Cantonese is an official language with other regional ones.
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How many languages are there In the world?
There are about 7139 languages in the world.
How many languages become extinct?
915 languages in the world have become extinct.
How many languages are spoken across the Asian continent?
About 2,300 languages are spoken across the Asian continent.
How many languages are spoken in the African continent?
Estimation that 2,000 languages are spoken in the African continent.