There are a lot of studies, charts and infographics relating to languages around the world. But up until this point, not that many have focused on actual native languages, but rather more on second languages, what other languages are being spoken in other countries and so forth. Nevertheless, National Geographic senior graphics editor Alberto Lucas López has come up with a circular infogrpahic addressing this issue, and namely native languages.
His main focus here was on just how common are these native languages around the world. To date, there are 7,102 languages spoken all across the world and that we currently know of. And all of these thousands of languages make up for all the spoken words in the world. But out of all of them, only 23 have over 50 million speakers – which together make up for 4.1 billion people.
“There are at least 7,102 known languages alive in the world today. Twenty-three of these languages are a mother tongue for more than 50 million people,” López writes. “The 23 languages make up the native tongue of 4.1 billion people. We represent each language within black borders and then provide the numbers of native speakers (in millions) by country.”
So as to better differentiate between the native languages as part of the graph, they are also distinguished between them through a colour scheme found on the upper right corner of the infographic and with each individual colour representing a different region of the planet. This way, it’s easier for the viewer to see how many of the more influential native languages come from a particular region or another, and how much do specific regions make up the chart.
When looking at this infographic from a colour – region – perspective, we can easily see how Chinese and its many dialects, though taking up much of the chart, is only centred in the region called here as Asia Minor. Spanish and English, on the other hand, though smaller in size than Chinese, and somewhat the same size in relation to each other, are spread out over several regions of the globe as native languages. In other words, what this infographic does, besides the obvious, is to paint a historical picture of our own past and how languages have travelled across the globe.
We can also see Russian on this infographic, being spoken by roughly 166 million people. But by looking at its colour, and the only one that made it on the chart with the colour orange – representative of Asia Major – we can see that it is a relatively landlocked language as compared to Spanish or English.
What this infographic also shows is the relatively unknown native languages that have made it as among the top most spoken but which many people may have never heard of.
Here are some other related stories:
- How Colors and Language Influence Each Other
- Languages of the World Explained in 7 Maps and Charts
- A Beautifully Told, Short History About Languages
- Different Dialects Behave Like Bubbles In A Bath