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7 February 2022

10 language facts you never knew you needed to know..

  1. There are over 7,000 languages today
    According to Ethnologue, the most extensive language catalogue in the world, there are 7,111 spoken languages in the world today. However, the number of languages declines every year, with less dominant languages declining compared to more dominant languages.
  2. The oldest written language
    Sumerian is the oldest written language dating back to 3500 BC, followed by Egyptian dating back to 3300BC. Old Chinese dates back to 1250BC. That’s a whopping 5,300 years ago!
  3. There are over 200 fake languages
    You have to hand it to the creators of every believable fake language you’ve ever heard on TV. There are over 200 fake languages that have been invented, especially for films, books and TV series such as Star Trek and Lord of the Rings. Klingon is one of these languages.
  4. There is a language that less than 10 people speak
    It’s hard to imagine, but Busuu, the language of Southern Bantoid of Cameroon, is spoken by less than 10 people in the world. There were 8 speakers of the language in 1986 and only 3 in 2005.
  5. Afrikaans is sexy
    Did you know that Afrikaans was voted the second sexiest accent in the world in the most recent “Top 50 Sexiest Accents in the World” list by travel website Big Seven Travel? According to the website, the Afrikaans language is “a hugely popular accent with many people across the globe, thanks to their unique tones and Saffa slang”. And we have to hand it to them, we agree!
  6. Ooh la la - The language of love
    Bonjour, Oui Oui, Ça va? Even when you don’t know what it means, French is still the dreamiest language to listen to. No wonder it’s considered the language of love. It could be that France is known to have many love destinations, including the Eiffel Tower in Paris, or it could be the très sexy accent that accompanies it. Either way, c’est fantastique!
  7. The oldest living language in the world
    Did you know that Tamil is recognised as the oldest language in the world and is the oldest language of the Dravidian family? The ancient language was present around 5,000 years ago, with researchers discovering inscriptions in Tamil from the 3rd century!
  8. The most multilingual country
    With over 839 living languages, Papua New Guinea is the most multilingual country, according to Ethnologue, a catalogue of the world’s known languages. And we thought South Africa’s 11 official languages were a lot!
  9. Toughest language to learn
    If you were thinking of learning a language as a new hobby, you might want to reconsider taking up Chinese. Mandarin Chinese is considered the toughest language to learn in the world, mainly because Mandarin is a tonal language with thousands of characters and a complex writing system, so you can’t just memorise the words and write them down.
  10. Words can be spooky too
    Ever heard of ghost words? A ghost word is a word that exists by error rather than by normal linguistic transmission. It is usually a mistaken reading, a misprint, or a scribal error that doesn’t get noticed. Dord is a genuinely great ghost word if there ever was one. The English dictionary had the word ‘dord’ in the dictionary for more than 7 years before it was noticed and removed.
From spooky ghost words to sexy accents, that was our list of the 10 Language Facts You Never Knew You Needed to Know!
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