Linguistic Anthropology

How many languages are there?
Answered by Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Channel

    Discovery Channel

  1. There are approximately 6,900 distinct languages in existence today, though there may be languages spoken in remote areas that we have yet to discover. No matter how many new languages we find, though, this number will be much lower in 100 years. Linguists estimate that half of the languages currently spoken in the world will die out in the next century. That's because some languages have very few speakers -- about 96 percent of the world's languages are spoken by just 4 percent of the world population, according to linguist David Crystal. The most widely spoken language in the world is Mandarin, followed by Spanish, English, Arabic and Bengali.

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