"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.