Global Lingo Blog

Languages of the world

Global Lingo has two separate departments; one specialising in English transcription and minute taking, and one dedicated to translation and interpretation services. We claim to translate virtually all world languages. In practice this would be a very hard thing, as there are literally thousands of world languages. Should one of our clients have a specific request to have something translated into one of the many weird and wonderful languages of the world, we have a specialist project managers, who are practised in finding translators for some of the more exotic languages.

At present the languages of the world number in the thousands. To establish an exact number is impossible, for many are scarcely known, and it is often a moot point whether two similar languages are actually separate languages or two dialects of the same language. The term dialect (from the Greek word διάλεκτος, dialektos) refers to a variety of a language that is characteristic of a particular group of the language’s speakers.

Just to give you an idea of where these languages originate from, the continent of Africa is known to have well over a thousand languages, with 250 in Nigeria, 120 in Tanzania, an 100 in Cameroon. The American Indian languages number almost a thousand and the single island of New Guinea contributes some 700 more. India has over 150, Russia about 100, while China has several dozen, as do a number of other countries. even in the US, more than 50 Indian languages are spoken.

As you can see, our Project Manager often have their work cut out!

It is important to view these figures in their perspective however. Among the world’s several thousand languages, the top 100 account for over 95 percent of all speakers. Chinese alone accounts for 20 percent. If we add Hindi, English, Spanish, Arabic, and Bengali, the figure rises to about 45 percent. Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, German, French and Italian bring it to about 60 percent.

By contrast, the five percent at the bottom include thousands of different languages, the great majority spoken by tiny numbers, some by only a few families or even by one or two people! You can see how languages can literally die out.

 

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