25 Unbelievable Things…

You Didn’t Know About Language

Language and culture go hand in hand.  Here are fun facts courtesy of List25.

25. Contrary to popular belief, children can learn as many languages as they’re exposed to. Theoretically, all of them.

24. This means the primary constraint for a child to learn a language isn’t brain power but the amount of exposure to any given language.

23. Exposing a child to multiple languages can difficult, so linguists determined that learning four languages at once is a most realistic limit. 

22. Once again, children understand multiple languages. Although they mix them in the beginning, they sort it out as time goes by.

21. Babies can discern every potential sound of any language.

20. This “ability”, or window of opportunity, fades around 5 years of age, known as the critical period.

19. If you learn a language before the critical period, that language exists in a different part of your brain than a language you learn later in life.

The numbers

18. 75% of the world’s population speaks more than one language.

17. To emphasize, about 7,000 languages exist on Earth.

16. Over 2,000 are spoken in Asia.

15. Nearly half of those languages are spoken in one country – Papau New Guinea.

14. A language in Botswana consists almost entirely of 5 distinct click sounds.

13. South Africa has the most official languages of any country at 11.

12. The United States has no official language.

11. The European Union, 24 official languages.

10. The United Nations has six – Arabic, Mandarin, Russian, English, French, Spanish.

9. The Bible is the most translated book and available in 2,454 languages.

8. 50% of a child’s education in Luxembourg is devoted to learning a foreign language.

7. 25% of the world speaks English to some extent.

6. The “o” sound in French appears in 13 different spellings.

Unusual languages

5. There are 12 imaginary languages in The Lord of the Rings.

4. In order to successfully read a newspaper in China you’ll need to know about 2,000 characters.

3. The Chinese “alphabet” has about 50,000 characters in total.

2. Basque, a language spoken in the mountainous regions of Spain and France, shares no relation with any other language.

1. In Mexico, the language Ayapaneco may die out, because the last two speakers refuse to talk to one another (update: they now speak to each other and even opened a school to teach the language to others).

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