In the modern world, language is the main basis for communication and is something that we learn from an extremely early age. Even before we are born we will be picking up the language spoken by our mothers, and as we enter infancy our brains become a soak for everything that we hear and we very quickly learn our mother tongue. Indeed, if you want your child to effortlessly learn another language then their early years are the best time, which is why you will often see bilingual parents speaking to their children in different languages.
Speaking several languages will stand you in great stead for the rest of your life as you will be able to communicate with more people, understand different cultures, and get further ahead in your career. In light of this, we are going to take a look at 6 surprising facts about languages that will blow your mind, so read on to find out more.
English and French are Global
When it comes to the global language there is only one that really stands out, and that is the language that I am writing in – English. It spread throughout the world due to colonization by the British Empire and then became the de facto language if you wanted to conduct business across borders. Today, English is studied in every country in the world and has become the first truly international language. Surprisingly, French has a similar status when it comes to learning as it is also taught in every country, however, outside of North Africa, where France once had its colonies, it is not a business language that is commonly used.
Tamil is the Oldest Language
With respect to languages, people often ask what is the oldest still spoken in the world. As many languages borrow words from each other this can be quite a difficult exercise to consider. But according to experts from UnscrambleWords.net, the consensus is that Tamil is the oldest currently spoken language in the world. It is the official language of Sri Lanka, Singapore, and many other smaller regions in Asia and is estimated to be at least 5,000 years old.
Basque is Unique
The Basque language is spoken by around 800,000 people who inhabit a small area of Northern Spain and Southern France. It is the most unique language in the world spoken by a small number of people. Indeed, academics can find no links to any other surviving language in the world and it is the only surviving language in Europe that has no European or Romantic roots. In the 20th century, the Spanish dictator Franco did his best to kill the language off, but once he lost power the language returned to schools and is once again an official language of Spain and the number of speakers continues to rise, year after year.
There Are Over 6,000 Languages
The world today is becoming smaller and smaller due to globalization, but despite this, there are still over 6,000 spoken languages in the world. This number is dwindling year on year as languages become extinct when their last native speaker dies, but there is a drive to save some of these languages for future generations. Papa New Guinea is the country with the most different languages currently spoken, a staggering 800 in total, so if you are really interested in improving your linguistic abilities, head to South West Asia.
The Bible is The Most Translated Book
Most books have been translated into several different languages, but would it surprise you to know that the bible has been translated into more languages than any other? The rise of Christianity to all corners of the globe was responsible for this and it has currently been translated into over 500 different languages. The next nearest book is Pinnochio, which could not be any different!
The United States Has No Official Language
The USA as a nation was built by immigrants, so perhaps this is behind the fact that that there is no official language in America. English is used in law and is the language all public and legal documents are published in, yet it is not the official language. Currently, it is the most widely spoken but it is predicted to be overtaken by Spanish in the next 50 years due to the huge immigrant population front the South.
As we have discovered, languages are absolutely fascinating. There are over 7,000 currently spoken around the globe, with English and French the most prevalent. Basque is the most unique language with no known roots, and the oldest still in daily usage is Tamil, the official language of Sri Lanka. The bible is the most translated book in the world, and perhaps most surprisingly of all, the USA has no official language.