40+ Surprising Language Facts to Blow Your Mind
If you’re learning a new language and fancy knowing a little more about the world of languages, or perhaps you simply have an interest in surprising facts! You’ve come to the right place!
Here at Global Language Services we have scoured the internet to find some of the most surprising language facts and have found you over 40!
With over 7,000 languages it’s an exciting linguistic world out there! From South Africa to the vast size of Russia, there are plenty of surprising facts to uncover – 41 to be precise! So without further ado, let’s explore some of the most fascinating language facts…
There is a Language Spoken by Only 3 People in the World
Busuu, the language of a Southern Bantoid in Cameroon was last reported in 2005 as having only 3 native speakers, making it endangered.
Over 300 Languages are Spoken in the US
Considered to be one of the most diverse countries in the world, it is of no surprise that the US population collectively speaks over 300 languages.
There is No Official Language in the US
With so many languages spoken in the US, it may be surprising to learn that there is in fact no official language assigned to the US. Not even English! This is due to the number of settlers who live in the US, making it difficult for congress to assign one official language.
The Most Official Languages
America could take a leaf from South Africa’s book. They can’t even pick one official language, but the South Africans have 11 official languages to choose from!
Languages can become Extinct
Half of the World’s Population Speaks More than One Language
Half of the World’s population is bilingual, with many speaking more than one language.
Bible is the World’s Most Translated Document
This one may not be surprising, but the Bible is the world’s most translated document, with Pinnochio being the second!
The Romance Languages are some of the Most Spoken Languages Globally
The Romance languages are a group of languages that include French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian, some of the most spoken languages globally!
The World’s Smallest Alphabet
The Rotokas use the Papuan language which uses the World’s shortest alphabet, which consists of only 11 letters.
The World’s Biggest Alphabet
The biggest alphabet in use is the Khmer alphabet which is used in Cambodia.
All Languages are Influenced by Each Other
It is fair to say that almost all languages in use have been influenced by each other, whether it’s in spelling, pronunciation or meaning!
There is One Mystery Language in the World
Contrary to the above, Basque is the one mystery language in the world, as it has not been influenced by any other language in existence.
English is the Most Dominant Language in the World
Although it is not the most spoken language, English is the most dominant language in the world! It is taught in almost every country, and is dominant in various industry spaces.
English is Digitally Dominant
Over 80% of the World’s digital documents and information are stored in English!
English is the Official Language of Air & Water
As the most dominant language, it is of no surprise that English is the official language of both the Navy and Airline industry.
English is the Most Evolving Language
Every single year the English dictionary sees an additional 4000 words added, making it the most evolving language.
English has the Shortest Grammatically Correct Sentence
“GO!” is a command that is simply understood and used as a single, complete sentence.
There is No Hardest Language to Learn
The difficulty of learning a language depends entirely on your native language, meaning there is no singular hardest language to learn. That’s why we have explored the hardest languages to learn for both non-English speakers and native English speakers.
There is No Easiest Language to Learn
Much like the above, there is no globally recognised easiest language to learn. However, there must be something said about the fact that English is one of the most dominant languages.
German was the First Ever Language Printed
It wasn’t the first language to be written, but German was the first language to be printed in a book.
German has Three Genders
Most languages only have the “standard” two genders of feminine and masculine. But German has three, including feminine, masculine and neuter.
German is the Most Spoken Language in Europe
Europe may have the least languages continent wise, but the most spoken language here is German!
Japanese is the Fastest Spoken Language
On average Japanese speakers talk faster than any other language.
Europe has the Least Languages
With only 286 languages, Europe has the least amount of languages per continent globally. Whereas Asia has the largest roster of languages, with 2300.
Russian was the First Language Spoken in Outer Space
Contrary to popular belief, the first language spoken in Outer Space was Russian, not English.
Sign Language Varies Country to Country
Not a huge shock, but Sign Language varies from country to country, with the UK primarily using British Sign Language (BSL).
French is the Main Foreign Language Taught in the UK
If you went to a British school, this will not surprise you. But here in the UK, French is the main foreign language that is taught in our schools.
Most Spanish Speakers in the World
Mexico sits atop the list for most Spanish speakers in the world, but surprisingly the US has the second biggest population of Spanish speakers!
Argentina has a Surprising Number of Welsh Speakers
Argentina has a hugely surprising number of Welsh speakers within its population! This is due to settlers inhabiting the scenic Patagonian mountains.
It’s raining! It’s pouring!
Much like the classic nursery rhyme, Hawaiians have over 200 different words for rain!
Cryptophasia is the official term for the languages twins use that only they can understand.
A polyglot is a person who masters languages.
Longest word without Vowels
Rythyms! This is the longest word in the English language that doesn’t have any vowels.
Longest Word with Only Four Letters
Senseless! This is the longest word in the English language that uses only 4 letters.
There are some words in the English language that actually only exist as plurals including Scissors, Glasses and Jeans!
Most Commonly Used Letter
In the English language, the most commonly used letter is “E” as it appears in 11% of words.
Over 200 Languages are Made-up
One Country has 840 Languages!
Papua New Guinea uses the most languages in the world, using 840!
Only 100 words per day!
On average, the typical person uses only 100 words per day when speaking!
Synonym is the only word that doesn’t have synonyms.
Shakespeare Invented 1700 words!
One of literature’s greatest, invented 1700 words including critic, bandit and elbow as a verb!
So there you have it! Over 40 interesting language facts to get you started and enter you into the fascinating world of languages.
We hope that it has encouraged you to potentially learn a second, or even third language! For which we at Global Languages have all the tools to get you started such as explaining the best languages to learn, the best language learning apps and how to create a language study plan (and stick to it!).