World Languages – 24 Unusual Statistics & Facts

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Language spoken by the greatest number of non-native speakers: English

There are approximately 6,900 languages currently spoken around the world today, the majority of which have only a small number of speakers. About 4 billion of the earth’s 6.5 billion people, or over 60% of the earth’s population, speak one of the top 30 languages as their native tongue. The rest are suffering a slow death.

Here are some rather unusual statistics about the world’s languages that you may not know.

Number of living languages: 6912
Number of those languages that are nearly extinct: 516
Language with the greatest number of native speakers: Mandarin Chinese [See Top 30 languages]
Language spoken by the greatest number of non-native speakers: English (250 million to 350 million non-native speakers)
Country with the most languages spoken: Papua New Guinea has 820 living languages. [See Top 20 countries]
How long have languages existed: Since about 100,000 BC
First language ever written: Sumerian or Egyptian (about 3200 BC)
Oldest written language still in existence: Chinese or Greek (about 1500 BC)
Language with the most words: English, approx. 250,000 distinct words
Language with the fewest words: Taki Taki (also called Sranan), 340 words. Taki Taki is an English-based Creole spoken by 120,000 in the South American country of Suriname.
Language with the largest alphabet: Khmer (74 letters). This Austro-Asiatic language is the official language of Cambodia, where approx.12 million people speak it. Minority speakers live in a handful of other countries.
Language with the shortest alphabet: Rotokas (12 letters). Approx. 4300 people speak this East Papuan language. They live primarily in the Bougainville Province of Papua New Guinea.
The language with the fewest sounds (phonemes): Rotokas (11 phonemes)
The language with the most sounds (phonemes): !Xóõ (112 phonemes). Approx. 4200 speak !Xóõ, the vast majority of whom live in the African country of Botswana.
Language with the fewest consonant sounds: Rotokas (6 consonants)
Language with the most consonant sounds: Ubyx (81 consonants). This language of the North Causasian Language family, once spoken in the Haci Osman village near Istanbul, has been extinct since 1992. Among living languages, !Xóõ has the most consonants (77).
Language with the fewest vowel sounds: Ubyx (2 vowels). The related language Abkhaz also has 2 vowels in some dialects. There are approximately 106,000 Abkhaz speakers living primarily in Georgia.
Language with the most vowel sounds: !Xóõ (31 vowels)
The most widely published language: English
Language with the fewest irregular verbs: Esperanto (none)
Language which has won the most Oscars: Italian (12 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film)
The most translated document: Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, written by the United Nations in 1948, has been translated into 321 languages and dialects.
The most common consonant sounds in the world’s languages: /p/, /t/, /k/, /m/, /n/
Longest word in the English language: pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (45 letters)

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Archaeologists To Study Early Use Of Navajo Smoke Signals

Archeologists To Study Early Use Of Navajo Smoke Signals

Pueblitos are small defensive sites constructed by the Navajo peoples in the northwest corner of New Mexico

Archaeologists and volunteers armed with special flares will fan out over part of the Four Corners region on Saturday to study how early Navajos could have used smoke signals to warn against invaders.

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Cocaine And LSD Discovered in the Air of Spanish Cities

Scientists Discover Cocaine And LSD in the Air of Spanish Cities

Study finds the air in Madrid and Barcelona is also laced with at least five drugs  

 Spanish scientists have discovered traces of cocaine and LSD in the air in the cities of Madrid and Barcelona.

Air pollution has long been a fact of life in Spanish cities, but scientists now say that it is not just smog that chokes people as they walk to work or stroll through the park.

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Cocky Chavez Launches Low Cost Phone Derived From Penis

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Welcome the thrifty new cocky talker phone

It is perhaps the world’s cheapest mobile phone. It is the latest offering from Hugo Chavez’s socialist revolution. And its name is derived from a slang word for penis. Behold the VERGATORIO!

Venezuela’s president launched the handset on his TV show with a Mother’s Day call to his mum and predicted it would conquer all rivals. “This telephone will be the biggest seller not only in Venezuela but the world,” he said. “Whoever doesn’t have a Vergatario is nothing,” he joked.

Priced just $15 (nearly £10), the phone has a camera, WAP internet access, FM radio and MP3 and MP4 players for music and videos. And it has that oh so suave name. Who knows, maybe it will eventually comes with a free sexting feature…

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Don’t Leave Home Without It!

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Who Wouldda Thought?

Discovery News features a “tiny gold combined toothpick and earwax spoon, believed to be more than 385 years old, found during the search for a shipwrecked Spanish galleon off the Florida Keys.” Don’t laugh. If you were going halfway across the known world to a place with no gold earwax spoons that would also function as toothpicks, you’d find a place for this in your baggage too.

Continue reading… “Don’t Leave Home Without It!”