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Talk, talk talk: We have 193 countries but have evolved more than 8,400 languages

| | September 5, 2018

In Italy they speak Italian. In Germany they speak German, and in Denmark, Danish. If this was true for all other countries, there would be 193 languages spoken today.

But in reality, there are many more: 8,475 [languages] according to glottolog.org, where linguists map languages from around the world.

In fact few countries speak just one or two languages natively, such as Iceland and Denmark. Besides their mother tongue, most people there also speak English.

And if that was not confusing enough, new languages are being developed all the time. For example, so-called creole languages, which arise when two or more groups of people all with their own languages come in contact with each other, and need to communicate

Related article:  How languages and genetics explain our origins and evolution

Even though many of us speak just one or perhaps two languages, in ten countries around the world there are more than 200 spoken languages, including Cameroun, Nigeria, USA (including Native American languages), and Indonesia.

Some languages have no numerals or adjectives, others have 30 ways of forming a plural and others have none at all. Some have 15,000 different verb tenses and others have no tenses. And some languages have just 10 different sounds (Pirahã in the Amazon), while others have 112 (Taa and !Xóõ in Southern Africa).

Some researchers estimate that just 10 per cent of the world’s languages will survive this century.

Read full, original post: There are 8,475 languages that we know of

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