What Languages Tell Us About the Modern World
Language has long held a fascination for many people. The words we use change over time – you have to look at the impact of ‘text speak’ to understand! This infographic shares a fascinating insight into language in the modern world, but what does it really tell us?
The dominance of the English language looks assured
Taking the top spot but only by a small margin is English. Spoken across the globe, the infographic that both the number of native English speakers is strong as too is the number of people choosing or having to learn the language.
Out of 195 countries, 67 are English speaking countries, one reason why English snaffles the top spot.
A large population doesn’t always mean top spot… but why?
China is the most populated country on earth. With a rising population, it faces a crisis that it has yet to find an answer too.
You would think, however, that a population of 1.386 billion (2017 figures) that Mandarin would push English into second place.
The reason why comes down to the high number of people learning English, a figure that is greater than those choosing the learn Mandarin. China may be a global superpower but with relatively few people speaking the language outside of its borders, it will remain in second place.
Language doesn’t always mean it has to be written down
We think of language as being something that is verbalised, signed, written and read. But writing words wasn’t always something that we did.
The paintings and art found in caves across the globe are the first forms of written language. They tell stores, ones that were passed down from one generation to the next.
As humans evolved, so too did our use of language. Gradually, these stories and proverbs were scribed and ever since we have used all forms of language to communicate and makes ourselves understood.
But there are some languages that remain as spoken languages. In other words, they are not used in any other format other than verbally.
Sanaani, a spoken language used in Yemen, is one such language. Interestingly, it is one of the few languages on the infographic that is only spoken by native speakers. What this shows is that it is a language only used by those born into it. Even though it is 100th on the list, there are still millions of people who speak this language.
Language can show the dominance of a country on the world stage in the past and modern times
Language has long been powerful. In history, however, it has often been used as a weapon. Asserting the dominance of one language over another was a means of one race or country asserting their power over another.
India, the second most populated country in the world, is a Hindi-speaking country that ranks third in the infographic. But there are many other languages spoken in India, including Bengali and Western Punjabi to name just two.
The fact that so many languages still exist is a testament to the people who keep a language alive. Where would we be without it?