Fun Facts and Tips about Languages to celebrate International Mother Language Day20th February 2015
International Mother Language Day
“Inclusion in and through education: Language Counts”
A peaceful protest happened in 1952 in Bangladesh, students were fighting for the preservation of their language but it came to an end and they were shot down by the local police force. This kick started the preservation for people’s rights to languages. Tomorrow celebrates the 15th Anniversary of international Mother Language Day. Like the students, this day is to celebrate the protection and preservation of 7,000 languages that are used around the world. The ceremony takes place this year in Paris, France and will be hosted by the United Nations.
Languages across the world
Language is perhaps the most important function in the human body – it allows us to control everything in our lives. Every language uses a similar grammatical structure, even though they may not be linked in vocabulary or origin, communities might only live apart by a few miles but they could speak their own multiple languages. It is estimated that 7,000 languages are spoken around the world. However most of these languages are dying out with 90% of these languages only being spoken from 100,000 people. Over 1 million people speak 150-200 languages and 46 of these languages have only just one person speaking them. 2,200 languages are found in Asia where Europe only has a mere 260. Only a few hundred of these languages have been given pride in education systems and the public domain, and less than 100 are used in the digital world.
World’s most spoken languages
Founded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) there is only eleven languages that are the most spoken around the world. Some of the top languages are as follows; French is only used by 129 million, often known as the ‘language of love’, French is spoken in many countries including Belgium, Canada, Rwanda and Haiti. Arabic, one of the world’s oldest languages is spoken by 246 million people with many from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and Egypt. 392 million people, apart from this being educated in school, speak Spanish; the language is spoken all across the world including the U.S. The second most spoken language is English; spoken by 508 million of us, even though it is the second it is the official language of most countries than any other language. So the winner of the most spoken language, with over 1 billion speakers is Mandarin. Mandarin is the toughest language to learn but it is spoken in the most populated country on the planet.
Old and Artificial Languages
Some of the oldest languages are still around today the four oldest are Sanskrit, Basque, Hebrew and Aramaic. Sanskrit is slightly similar to Latin but a small population only uses Sanskrit. Basque is a language that has no explanation as to how it was created and how it was evolved. Aramaic is a family related dialect that arose form a common form of Hebrew. Hebrew was preserved through Jewish religious practice. As well as old languages still being around today other languages have been created throughout the centuries these are known as artificial languages. Over 200 artificial languages have been created for many reasons. An example of an artificial language is Esperanto, which is a spoken and written blend of German, English, Latin and Romance and means “one who hopes”. Today 2 million people around the world speak Esperanto.
So would it be good to learn another language?
The simple answer to this is yes, it would benefit you in all aspects to learn another language. A grasp of a different language improves your abilities to use your first language and explore other cultures. There is also a work benefit, which shows people who use languages in their jobs earn around 8% more. Knowledge of another language has shown to boost your brainpower as quoted by Nelson Mandela “if you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart”.
Tips to the best way of learning a language
Sometimes learning a new language can be pretty tricky so if you don’t have one specific one you want to learn just read these tips first to get an idea.
What language you want to learn can depend on your mother tongue, some languages are closer to yours than others. For example a Polish speaker would find it easier to speak Czech and Dutch is said to be the easiest language to learn if you speak English. But the hardest languages for English people would be Arabic, Mandarin, Japanese and Korean.
Once you have an idea of what language you would like to learn then you must decide your learning style. There are three learning styles to choose from; the first is a visual learner. These are people that would benefit from writing down words and phrases over and over again. Another style is an auditory learner. These are people that could gain from reading out loud or recording their own vocabulary lists and listens back to them. The last style is a kinaesthetic learner. These people may enjoy learning in a group or using flash cards that shows the experiences gained. Once you have decided on these factors then you can begin to start learning your new language.
We hope you found these facts interesting, from all of us here at Planet Numbers. We wish you a happy International Mother Language Day and remember to keep your language alive by calling all your friends and family at home and all over the world.