The start of the International Year of Languages was launched last week by UNO and UNESCO. Here are a few interesting facts about language:
– Over 3000 languages are in danger of disappearing.
– 96% of the world’s languages are spoken by 4% of the world’s population.
– One language disappears on average every two weeks.
– 80% of the African languages have no orthography.
– Chinese courses have been blooming internationally since 2000 at every level of education.
– By the time 200,000 Americans are able to speak Mandarin, 200,000,000 Chinese will speak fluent English.
– In June 1999, the Swedish Parliament enacted legislation giving Yiddish legal status as one of the country’s official minority languages.
– The Jewish Autonomous Oblast in the Russian Federation is a federal subject of Russia where Yiddish is an official language along with Russian.
– Hebrew is spoken by about 5 million people in Israel. In addition, it is spoken by several hundred thousand speakers in expatriot Jewish communities around the world.