Gratitude for language

Language is one of life’s most precious and amazing gifts. The following fun facts shed light on the wonder that people have been able to communicate with each other for over 100,000 years.
(These facts are courtesy the Vistaworld website.) 

The Rotokas alphabet:
12 letters

Estimated number of living languages today: 6912.

Number of those languages that are nearly extinct: 516.

Country with the most languages spoken: Papua New Guinea has 820 living languages. 

English is spoken by more non-native speakers than any other language. Approximately 25% of the 300-350 million English speakers are native speakers.

First written language: Sumerian or Egyptian (about 3200 BC).

Oldest written languages still in existence: Chinese and Greek (about 1500 BC).

Language with the most words: English has approximately 250,000 distinct words. 

The average English native speaker knows about 20,000 words. University-educated people know around 40,000 words. Everyday writing (such as email) typically uses about 5,000 very common words that are used repeatedly.

Language with the fewest words: Taki Taki (also called Sranan) has 340 words. Taki Taki is an English-based Creole language spoken by about 120,000 people in the South American country of Suriname.

Language with the largest alphabet: Khmer (74 letters). This Asiatic language is the official language of Cambodia, where approximately 12 million people speak it. 

Language with the shortest alphabet: Rotokas (12 letters). Approximately 4300 people speak this East Papuan language. 

The Khmer alphabet: 74 letters

 ©InterestEng. July 2013 - November 2020 §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff photos or used with permission.  §  To contact us: