Language is an important ability for humans, as a well-known pack animal, to communicate. The importance of language skills in our society is felt especially by those who have problems with it.
World languages - why language is important
People who had stuttering, a stroke or who have other reasons for a disturbed speech development. The consequences can be far reaching, ranging from exclusion to work-related problems.
Foreign languages are important.
But not only general language skills are of great importance. In recent years in particular, foreign languages have become more important in society. In addition to kindergarten, many parents send their children to courses to learn a foreign language, mostly English.
Those who grow up bilingually will find it easier later at school and at work. Especially if additional languages like French or Spanish should be added.
The exact number of languages in the world is divided, but most sources report 6500-7000. Of these, however, around 2500 are threatened with extinction. This can have many reasons. But on the contrary, others have made it to the world language. But what does world language actually mean?
What makes a world language?
The language of the world or the language of international communication is a language that attracts attention far beyond its original language area.
There are different criteria by which a world language can be identified. And depending on the criterion, a list of world languages can be different.
One criterion is the number of speakers and native speakers. According to this, Chinese, with the largest population in the world, would be at the top of the ranking.
However, pronunciation, writing and other peculiarities make Chinese a language that is difficult to learn. It is therefore extremely unsuitable as a lingua franca in business and diplomacy on an international level.
The number of speakers alone is therefore not decisive
Another important criterion is the spread beyond the original language area. Although many languages, such as Chinese or German, are very popular, their dissemination has not progressed so far as to be able to call them world language in the narrowest sense.
These are spoken as lingua franca of different nationalities as first or second languages and used in areas such as economics, education, organizations and diplomacy. World languages are also often official languages in several countries and on several continents.
English has been one of the most important languages since the 19th century. In Europe in particular, however, French was the most important international lingua franca until the middle of the 20th century.
After that, English became the most important world language thanks to the supremacy of the USA. In the future, however, it is expected that either French or Spanish could slip back to number one, as the prevalence of English is stagnating at the moment, but that of the others is increasing.
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