Whenever I meet someone of a different ethnicity, out of sheer curiosity, I always ask if they speak the language of their heritage. I was born in Canada, but grew up with Punjabi speaking parents. I also studied French, Japanese, and Korean, and like to see language as almost a binding agent that helps smooth over communication.
Business deals can go in a completely different direction if someone knows even a few words of another language, and, let’s be honest, traveling around the world and practicing different words you’ve picked up is fun. Having even a rudimentary understanding of another language also allows you to connect with someone of a different culture much more quickly, and people generally appreciate any efforts of communication in their own tongue. Science has also shed light on how learning more languages can improve your intelligence.
This interesting info-graph shows which languages are spoken the most around the world. Any language which has at least 50 million first language speakers made the list, and this comprises 23 of the 7, 120 known languages around the world. Of the 7.2 billion people on the planet, 6.3 billion were included in the study, making it incredibly comprehensive. 4.1 billion of the people studied, represented by the entirety of the circle, speak 1 of the 23 as their native tongue. You can zoom into the graph as it further breaks down these numbers by the amount of people that speak a given language according to country.
It’s an interesting thing to ponder. So many of us speak different languages, have different cultural traditions and perceive our world in a different manner from one another, but at the end of the day we all belong to one human race. Why is it that we continue to focus on on the differences between us, instead of highlighting the many similarities we all share. Our differences exist for us to share them with each other, all races on this planet bring something very unique and fascinating to the whole, we are all pieces of this one giant puzzle, and it doesn’t come together until we all work together.
Do you speak one or more of these languages?
This fascinating breakdown of languages around the world was created by infograph artist Alberto Lucas Lopez for the South China Morning Post.