• Rick White - Director of Client Services

Promoting Linguistic Diversity With Interesting Facts About the World’s Languages

According to Ethnologue, an online publication that provides data on the world's languages, there are 7,151 languages spoken today. This number is constantly in flux, not only because languages are dynamic and are always changing, but because we’re learning more about the world’s languages and language speakers every day.


Language is the force that drives cultures together. At Language Intelligence, we provide translation and localization services to companies doing business all over the globe. As your trusted language service provider, we work with more than 150 languages, so we’re sure to have the resources available to translate and localize the content you need, no matter the target language, region, or locale.


We love to share all that we can about language and culture, and here are some interesting language facts to pique your interest.


  • Half of the world’s population speaks only 23 languages.

  • Babbel reports that Mandarin Chinese is the most spoken language in the world, in terms of native speakers. There are 1.3 billion native speakers, meaning one in six people in the world speaks Mandarin. Comparatively, English is the third on this list, with 370 million native speakers.

  • Babbel also reports that English is the number one most spoken language in the world, in terms of the number of global speakers. English has 1.348 billion total speakers, and Mandarin Chinese comes in second, with 1.120 billion total speakers.

  • Every two weeks, another language or language dialect goes extinct. There are over 231 completely extinct languages, and 2,400 of the world’s languages are in danger of dying out.

  • The longest alphabet in the world is in the Khmer language and is 74 characters long.

  • Language is thought to have originated around 100,000 B.C. While this number is still being debated, linguists believe language started developing when modern homo sapiens evolved in Africa with modern skull shapes and vocal cords.

  • The oldest written languages are Sanskrit, Sumerian, Hebrew, and Basque. Answering the question “what is the oldest language” is hard to answer completely, as there are many spoken languages with oral traditions that are very hard to track.

  • Languages influence each other. In fact, the English language is said to take 28% of its words from French, adapting words through lexical borrowings.


If anything, these statistics show that languages are just as diverse as the world’s people. Diversity is becoming ever-present in our workplaces, and as such, investing in linguistic diversity is paramount to the success of your organization. Promoting linguistic diversity can help a business improve in multiple ways, including:


  • It raises social awareness, as some employees may not have other personal ties to different languages and cultures.

  • It facilitates social change, as the knowledge of another culture and language helps businesses communicate more effectively with others across the world.

  • It builds trust among employees as it promotes both a sense of familiarity and respect for their native culture.


Language Intelligence is a language service provider that helps businesses communicate across the globe by creating customized translation and localization services to meet your needs. For more information on our localization services and process, click here.