Published on 06/09/10 at 22:12:51 GMT by Redaksjonen
Did you know that there are around 6500 different languages in the world? Researchers believe that half of all languages spoken in the world will disappear by the end of this century. Some of the languages are missing vowels or words for numbers and colors, while others have words that are dangerous to pronounce!
Despite the fact that different languages may sound very different, there are lots of similarities between them. Morsmal.org collects interesting facts which show the differences and similarities between languages in the world, if you have more interesting language facts to contribute with, please use the form below to add your facts to this article.
1. Illegal to speak English: According to the law in Illinois, it is forbidden to speak English. The official language there is "American".
2. The longest sentence in French: Victor Hugo's Les Miserables contains one of the longest sentences in the French language with 823 words without a period.
3. Thirteen languages are spoken by more than 100 million people: The languages are: Mandarin Chinese, English, Hindi, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Bengali, Portuguese, Malay-Indonesian, French, Japanese, German and Urdu.
4. The first word spoken on the moon: The first word spoken on the moon was "okay."
5. Same word for many: The word baiixi in Pirahaa means both mother, father, grandmother and grandfather
6. There are about 6500 spoken languages in the world today: For about 2000 of the world's 6,500 languages, they are less than 1000 people who can speak those languages.
7. What is the most widely spoken language in the world? This is without a doubt Chinese Mandarin. There are around 885 million people only in China who speak Mandarin.
8. What does "Vodka" mean? "Vodka" is Russian for "little water".
9. What does "Canada" mean? Canada is an Indian word meaning "Big Village".
10. Where will you find most English speakers? China has more English speakers than the United States.
11. Where does the word "ski" come from? The word ski goes back to the Old Norse (Old Norwegian) meaning "a stick of wood".
12. When did we start using punctuation? There was no punctuation until the 15th century.
13, What does the word "Tips" stand for? The word Tips is actually an acronym standing for "To Insure Prompt Service".
14. Multilingual "Taxi": The word taxi is spelled the same in English, German, French, Swedish, Spanish and Portuguese.
15. What is the most popular first name? The most popular first name in the world is Muhammad.
16. The longest word in English? The longest word in the English language is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconioses!
17. Which language has only 12 letters? The Hawaiian alphabet has 12 letters.
18. Chinese characters (ideogram) for "problems"? The Chinese ideogram for "trouble" depicts two women living under one roof.
19. What is Seoul? Seoul, South Korea capital, means "capital" in the Korean language.
20. How many official languages in South Africa? South Africa used to have two official languages, now it has eleven.
21. Which language do not need punctuation? The Chinese language does not need punctuation.
22. What is the longest word in the Finnish language? The word is: "epaejaerjestelmaellistyttaemaettoemyydellaensaekaeaen. Which means "even with their inability to unorganized".
23. Where are most dialects? Philippines has more than 1,000 regional dialects and two official languages.
24. Which language has the largest vocabulary? English, it has around 800,000 words.
25. What languages have a "click" sound? Many languages in Africa have a "click" sound that is pronounced at the same time as other sounds. You have to learn these languages in childhood to be able to pronounce these "click" sounds well.
26. What language do pilots talk? All pilots in the world must be able to identify themselves in English.
27. What language is most difficult to learn? The language which is considered as the most difficult language to learn in the world is Basque. It has no similarities to any other language in the world.
28. Where everyone talk the same language? Somalia is the only country in Africa where the entire population speak the same language.
29. The oldest alphabet: Cuneiform from Mesopotamia is around 5000 years old.
30. Which language has most sounds? Those who speak Xoo, in the Kalahari Desert in Africa, can pronounce about 150 different sounds.
31. Without touching on the lips: Can you talk without moving your lips? Those who speak Mohawk in Canada can do it. The language consists only of sounds that they can pronounce without moving their lips.
32. Says most thanks: Norwegians are often seen as rude, but they the people who most often says "thank you".
33. Thank you for last (time): It is only the people from the Nordic countries who "thank you for last."
34. Language without vowels: In the Moroccan language Tashlhit it is very common to have words without vowels. Words like "tskrt" means "you did".
35. East and west instead of the right and left? In the Australian language "guugu yimidhirr" one says east and west instead of right and left. In the back seat of a car, you can often hear: have no place, could you please move a little east?
36. The language which lacks most words: The South American language Pirahaa, which is used by the Indians in the Amazon, do not have words for numbers or colors. Pirahaa people live totally isolated from outside world.
37. Country with the most languages: In Papua New Guinea there about 820 languages spoken. On this island you will find 15 percent of all languages in the world. In other words, chances are that you will not understand what the neighbor says.
38. Breathing in: Norwegian and Swedish are the only languages in the world where one talks and breathes at the same time. They often say "yes" and "no" on the incoming breath. Many foreigners find it very strange and wonder if they have a throat illness.
39. The language which is most difficult to write (draw?): Without a doubt: Japanese.
40. Why is it dangerous to pronounce the word "God" (Jehovah) in Hebrew? The word Jehovah is motioned 6518 in the Bible, but according to the Ten Commandments, it is forbidden to pronounce this word. The word contains (almost) all the vowels in the Hebrew language. And if you pronounce the word several times, you are risk that your brain will not get enough oxygen because of hyperventilation.
Please feel free to contribute below with more facts:
5. Still wrong Written on 07/09/10 at 16:28:14 GMT by Olivia Macker
Lots of languages have ingression (38), Jehovah is no more of a risk of hyperventilation than any other word repeated without breathing (40), Tashlhit has 4 vowels, so this fact is very misleading (34), there is no reason an older language learner couldn't pronounce clicks well (25), Thai does not use overt punctuation (21), WHO considers Basque the most difficult to learn??? (27), WHY is Japanese the most difficult to draw??? - as opposed to Chinese, which has thousands of characters or any language with a Braille system, which must be recreated exactly so the readers don't misinterpret a letter from a slightly misproportioned dot? (39)
8. re: Why wrong? Written on 08/09/10 at 19:39:45 GMT by William Gifford
27. Perhaps Japanese *could* be considered more difficult because there are three writing systems. The Kanji are often identical to the Chinese equivalents; the Hirigana is a phonetic "alphabet" used for words and sounds in Japanese with no direct Chinese equivalent and for adding suffixes unnecessary in Chinese, for example; and Katakana, used in a similar fashion to Italics in Roman-based alphabets. this whole issue of difficulty, either in spoken or written forms of language, is so subjective that it borders on insignificance. Personally, Finnish is for me the most difficult of languages, grammatically - however one of the easiest for pronouncing or spelling; while Korean (some say remotely related to Finnish) comes in a close second, especially in regards to its writing system. Again, that's for me. for a native born child. Both are equal in "difficulty". What consideration was given to Native American languages (Navajo, for example)in this comparison? Just my two cents worth.
9. re: Still wrong Written on 07/09/10 at 17:08:36 GMT by Moshe
I can confirm Jehovah to be true:
1. There is no one word in the biblical Hebrew language with so many vowels: Yud Vav, Hei,, Vav-again and Hei again. Thus this word is only made of vowels. <br>2. There are several known sects whom are known to misuse the Jehovah word to hyperventilate by repeating it many times. They admit reaching some sort of "high sensation" which is actually caused by limiting the amount of Oxygen reaching the brain. 3. Are you in a doubt? Try it your self.. (at your own risk!).
10. re: re: Still wrong Written on 09/09/10 at 10:04:50 GMT by Kevin
re:jehova, the "fact" states that it is this word itself which causes hyperventilation. It is not. The way certain people pronounce it (because they are believers, etc.) is what causes hyperventilation. I could easily cause hyperventilation in myself by saying "Flying Spaghetti Monster" in a certain way.
11. Language difficult to learn Written on 08/09/10 at 19:22:46 GMT by josu sierra
I am a Basque speaker and I have two considerations for your comment about the most difficult language. One, there is not ONE language difficult to learn because it depends of the position of the learner. And two, to be related or not with one language is not the most important thing and I return to my first consideration. If Chinese and Korean are related, and they are, Chinese is easier for koreans but not for me. Basque language resulted strongly influenced by Latin an Romanesque languages, so now it is not so difficult for Romanesque learners and may be very tough for chinese or thai people.
13. re: re: Language difficult to learn Written on 08/09/10 at 19:45:59 GMT by Josu Sierra
Although the Korean and Chinese languages are not related in terms of grammatical structure, more than 50 percent of all Korean vocabulary is derived from Chinese loanwords, a reflection of the cultural dominance of China over 2 millennia.
14. misunderstood, exagerrated or plain BS Written on 09/09/10 at 10:17:28 GMT by Kevin
Many of these "facts" need quite a lot of modification before they would be accepted by real linguists… eg. regarding ingression ("ja p? innpust"), Robert Eklund writes: "A common notion is that this is typically Scandinavian, but after spent eight years perusing approximately 500 works that mention ingressive speech, and span from 1657 to the present day, another picture emerges. Ingressive phonation has been used as a deliberate means of speech or sound production for hundreds of years in order to achieve specific effects, and it is still used for the same purposes, by e.g. shamans and ventriloquists. In normal spoken and spontaneous conversation ? contrary to what is often claimed ? present-day ingressive speech is not limited to Scandinavia or Nordic languages, but is instead found on all continents, in genetically unrelated languages. Where ingressive speech occurs, it serves more or less the same paralinguistic functions, such as a feedback marker in a dialog." http://www.ida.liu.se/~g-robek/LinguisticsIngressive.htm
And Basque is not the only linguistic isolate in the world. Also, why is that given as the main reason for a language being difficult to learn? I would think the main reason a language was difficult to learn was that there wasn't any motivation nor total immersion… in that sense, I guess most of us don't have any special reason to learn Basque or live there so of course it'll be hard ;-)
18. re: misunderstood, exagerrated or plain BS Written on 09/09/10 at 10:29:36 GMT by Kevin
(Especially worthwhile are the posts by Geoffrey Pullum, who in his own words "simply does not understand the tendency for people to talk about language as if they can just make stuff up and nothing needs to be fact-checked")
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