Sunday, 13 January 2013


"The limits of my language means the limits of my world." ~ Ludwig Wittgenstein

"Learn a new language and get a new soul." ~ Czech Proverb

Language is such an interesting theme to write about. There are two official languages in my hometown  Rovinj - Croatian and Italian, so I think I know how much do the knowledge of a foreign language can help throughout all the situation one can be faced to during his lifetime.
So, what is a language at all? This is what Wikipedia says: Language is the human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, and a language is any specific example of such a system. The scientific study of language is, as you probably know, called linguistics. 

All healthy, normally-developing human beings learn to use language. Children acquire the language or languages used around them – whichever languages they receive sufficient exposure to during childhood
Words appear around the age of 12 to 18 months; the average vocabulary of an eighteen-month old child is around 50 words

Here are some facts about world languages that could surprise or even shock you...

  • 6912 is the number of living languages 
  • 516 is the number of languages that are nearly extinct
  • More than half of the world's population communicates in only 8 languages: English, Mandarin Chinese, Hindu, Spanish, Arabic and Bengali and Portuguese (ranked by proportion).
  • Papua New Guinea is the country with the most languages spoken (820). 
  • A report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) states that half of all languages may vanish by the year 2100. 
  • Mandarin Chinese is the language with the greatest number of native speakers
  • English is the language spoken by the greatest number of non-native speakers (250-350 non-native speakers)
  • 250,000 is the app. number of distinct world in English 
  • Taki Taki is the language with the fewest number of words (340)
  • Khmer is the language with the longest alphabet (74 letters)
  • Rotokas is the language with the shortest alphabet (12 letters)
  • The most common sounds in the world's languages are: /p/, /t/, /k/ and /m/. 

And now some interesting facts about the English language...

  • Only two English words in current use end in "-gry". They are "angry" and "hungry".
  • The following sentence contains all 26 letters of the alphabet: "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog."
  • The longest English word without a true vowel is "rhythm"
  • The word "set" has more definitions than any other word in the English language.
  •  "Town" is the oldest word in the English language.
  • The word goodbye came and derived from the word "GodBye" used in Old English which used to meant that "God be with you".
  • The word "queue" is the only word in the English language that is still pronounced the same way when the last four letters are removed.

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