Often referred to as the most romantic language in the world, a bit of French can be heard anywhere in the world, whether it is Europe, North or sub-Saharan Africa, America and even Oceania. Being spoken by 129 million people in over 90 countries, French represents the official language of more than half of them, including Canada, Belgium and Switzerland, Rwanda, Cameroon, and Haiti, and the most important of them all, France itself.
Did you know?
- French, along with English, is the only language taught universally in every countr of the world.
- At the time of the French Revolution, almost 3 quarters of the French citizens did not speak the language. Until the 19th century, more French was spoken by the German and Dutch than by Frenchmen.
- French has a vocabulary consisting of over 1 million words, with 20.000 new ones added each passing year.
- French was the official diplomatic language up until the First World War. Even if it lost some importance nowadays, speaking French remains a sign of prestige among diplomatic circles.
- French was the official language in England for over 3 centuries. In the present, it is estimated that 30% of English words have French origins.
There can`t be any doubt as to where this category of language is spoken in the world. Having united the 159 million speakers, the Malay-Indonesian language brings under the same roof the numerous dialects of the Malay language. While it`s mostly spoken in Malaysia and Indonesia, you can also come across it in Brunei and Singapore.
Did you know?
- The Malay does not have an universal written form. It uses two slightly different versions of the Latin alphabet, one version for Indonesia and the other for Malaysia, as well as the Jawi, a form of Arabic alphabet.
- Both the Malay and the Indonesian language sprung from the same origins, the Old Malay which is considered one of the oldest versions of both languages.
- Indonesian is a standardized dialect of the Malay language and it took shape in 1945 during the declaration of Indonesian independence.
Portugal had won its independence from Spain, it started focusing on territorial expansion, and as a result of those times, the Portuguese language is now established itself all over the world. Estimated to 191 million speakers, Portuguese is the national language of Portugal and no less than 8 more countries, the list including Brazil, hosting nearly 150 million speakers, Angola, Mozambique and Venezuela.
Did you know?
- Portuguese language originates in Europe, however, most of the world`s Portuguese speaking people live elsewhere.
- Brazilian and European Portuguese differ in many aspects, vocabulary and grammar, but despite the differences they remain mutually intelligible.
- Because of the similarities between languages, Portuguese is often mistook for a Spanish dialect. However, this belief couldn`t be further away from the truth. Portuguese people can understand Spanish, but the opposite doesn`t apply.
Estimated to 211 million speakers, Bengali is spoken by people all around the world, from the Middle East to the United States. The majority of speakers are located in Bangladesh, where it is the official language, and also in India, where it is the second most spoken language. In addition, there are substantial communities of immigrants in the United Kingdom, the U.S. and Canada, Nepal, Pakistan and even European countries.
Did you know?
- There isn`t an universal version of the Bengali language, the language having been greatly influenced by its neighbors, which resulted in slight differences in vocabulary depending on the region you are in.
- Bengali is often referred to as the world`s second most beautiful language after French and has been voted the World`s Sweetest language.
- You can listen to Bengali radio stations even in China, Japan, Germany and the US.
- International Mother Language Day was decided on 21st February based on Bengali language.
Arabic is one of the oldest languages in the world, mostly spoken in the Middle East, North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, but also living through the languages it has influenced along the time, for example English, French, Portuguese, and probably the most affected of them all, Spanish, which assimilated nearly 4.000 Arabic words as its own. Furthermore, as it is the language that the Koran is preached into, millions of Muslims from all over the globe are also familiar with it. Summing almost 246 million speakers, it is the official language of 26 countries, out of which Egypt, Algeria, Sudan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia are the most populated.
Did you know?
- Before Arabic became the sacred language of Muslim, it was largely an oral language.
- There are two “Arabics”: one is Modern Arabic and its dialects, used in daily spoken contexts, and the other one is the Classical Arabic, used in formal situations, books and newspapers.
- Classical Arabic is considered sacred and unchangeable, and thus it is taught only in an academic way and used mostly by Islamic scholars and religious leaders. It is considered a written language, rather than spoken.
- You might be speaking Arabic without your knowledge! The English language is one of the leading thieves when it comes to imported Arabic words, for example, words such as cotton, alcohol, sugar, and many others.