Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Popularity of Languages

I was wondering about which languages are spoken most around the world. Which are studied most in learning a second language? I did a little quick research using the trusty Google search engine.

In a 2003 news article, The Minnesota Daily newspaper reports that "More U students opt for less popular languages." Enrollment in classes has increased for Dutch, Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, Korean, and Latin. They looked at enrollment trends outside the most commonly taught languages, which are English, Spanish, French, and German.

Here's a page from the National Virtual Translation Center which shows charts and graphs of the most used languages on the internet. "...English is the most popular language of the Internet with Chinese in second place. The remaining 8 top languages are all below 10%. Of these, the three Asian languages (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean) account for 36% of Internet users. The six European languages (Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Dutch) account for 28.7% of the total Internet population."

A 2004 news article in The Daily Pennsylvanian (the independent newspaper of the University of Pennsylvania) also talked about the different languages the students are interested in studying, including American Sign Language.

This is just a small sampling of some of the information out there about which languages people are interested in learning. The page about languages used on the internet was a bit of information I hadn't expected to find, but enjoyed reading nonetheless.

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