Brain Games Facts: Language

Video highlights from Brain Games


•    Roughly one quarter of the world’s population has some knowledge of English.

•    Mandarin is spoken as a first language by 12.44% of the world’s population.

•    Mandarin is the most widely spoken language in the world with over 850 million speakers.

•    The Bible is available in 2,454 languages.

•    Agatha Christie, Jules Verne, and William Shakespeare are the world’s most translated authors.

•    Being a bilingual speaker has many benefits. It’s a workout for your brain…bilinguals have denser gray matter in their language centers, allowing them to focus more easily on two tasks one after the other quickly, think more analytically, and it may even delay the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease.

•    Recent research analyzing the sounds in languages spoken around the world points to southern Africa as the place where modern human language originated. Using phonemes, the consonants, vowels, and tones, Dr. Quentin Atkinson found a pattern in some 500 languages spoken throughout the world. He found the further language areas are from South Africa, the fewer phonemes they have. Some of the click-languages of Africa have more than 100 phonemes, English has about 45 phonemes, and Hawaiian only has 13.

•    Fewer than a thousand people speak a quarter of the world’s languages. If these languages are not passed down through the generations they will disappear. For instance, some three-thousand languages may already disappear by the end of the century.

•    The most widely used system of writing in the world is Latin. The roots for Latin go back to Phoenicia around 1100 BC.

•    Over a thousand people in Alaska speak the Samoan language.

•    New York City is the most linguistically diverse city in the world. There is no precise count, but some experts believe New York residents speak to up to 800 languages.

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