Wordpress Themes

The language e-learning industry- part 1: Languages

marina-tognetti-portratt Dear Mynglers,

we did an internal study on the world of languages and would like to share this with you. I hope you will find it interesting or fun to read. We will publish it in parts, so that it does not become a too long text.

This is the first part:


Languages have been in existence since 100,000 BC and today there are 6.909 active languages in the world, which belong to 116 different language families (groups of languages that share the similar origins).  Of the current language families, the largest family of speakers is the Indo-European family which consists of approximately 2.7 billion people and 426 unique languages including, Bengali, English, German, Hindi, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

Currently Mandarin is the largest native language spoken worldwide, with approximately 873 million speakers, most of which reside in China, whose total population of 1.3 billion represents a significant piece of the world’s population.  The next largest group of native speakers can be found in India, where an estimated 370 million people, from a population of 1.1 billion, are speaking Hindi.  As for the next remaining large groups of individuals speaking native languages include; Spanish, English, and Arabic at 350, 340, and 206 million respectively.

Intuitively, English may seem as though it comprises the largest group of native and second language speakers in the world; however, Mandarin has the largest number of native and second language speakers in the world with approximately 1 billion speakers.  English comes in second with approximately 510 million speakers.  Additionally, Hindi has approximately 490 million speakers.  After the United States, it is estimated that India and China account for the next largest populations of English speakers and current projections estimate half of the world’s population will be speaking English by the year 2015 (Sources: Ethnologue; Vistawide )

Other languages are also experiencing growth within the U.S.  Recent enrolment figures indicate that the number of Americans learning a second language is increasing.  In 2006, overall enrollments in languages other than English rose by 12.9%.  Prior to this, the most dramatic increases between 2002 and 2006 were in Arabic (126.5%), and Chinese (51.0%). Spanish remains the most taught language in the United States, with a 10.3% increase since 2002.  In actual numbers, Spanish gained 89,677 students between 1998 and 2002 and 76,718 students between 2002 and 2006.  In addition, The Northeast, Midwest, and South Atlantic regions report the largest numbers of enrollments followed by the Pacific Coast, South Central, and Rocky Mountain regions (Source: Mla.org )

We will post more in the coming days, so keep on coming back! 🙂


Explore posts in the same categories: Language Facts