Language plays one of the most important parts in creating culture. It is the tool used for people to communicate, build relationships, and establish communities. Khaled Hosseini, an Afghan-born novelist and physician once said, “If culture was a house, then language was the key to the front door, to all the rooms inside.” With language being so crucial to the human experience, it’s fair to wonder how these languages were established throughout history and ask questions like “How many languages are there in the world?”. In today’s blog, Akorbi will discuss how many languages there are in the world and how this number continually changes over time.
How Many Languages Are in the World?
According to Ethnologue, a leading research center for language studies, there are 7,151 languages spoken in the world today. As languages are further researched, this number will continue to fluctuate with each passing year. Studies from Ethnologue also show that 40% of languages are endangered, with less than 1,000 speakers remaining in the world.
Some languages become endangered, typically related to cultural, political, or economic issues. Leaders of a country or community who speak a language that falls in the minority category may decide that it’s in the best interest of their community to teach children a different language that could positively impact their economic or political success. It is typical for second-generation immigrants within the United States not to be fluent in their parent’s native language, as it benefits them to become fluent in English.
What are the Top Languages Spoken in the World?
Twenty-three different languages account for more than half of the world’s population. According to Statista, of these languages, only 5 different languages are spoken by 3.9 billion people in the world.
These languages include:
- English: 1.35 billion speakers
- Mandarin: 1.12 billion speakers
- Hindi: 600 million speakers
- Spanish: 543 million speakers
- Arabic: 274 million speakers
Akorbi’s Translation and Language Services
Meeting people in their language creates the opportunity to build relationships and aid communities. At Akorbi, we specialize in language services for companies across the globe. We help our clients achieve their language goals through interpretation, translation, localization, and multilingual content moderation. These services benefit any company looking to serve customers in international markets, whether through telehealth or compliant language solutions. Contact us today to receive a free quote and learn more about the services we provide and the industries we support.