The Evolution of World Languages

Six Discovered Facts From the Word Map by Louise Donkor

469873351The Easy Way Language Center in Brazil has created an interactive map which allows the user to type in a word and see it in different languages across the globe.

The interactive guide, called Word Map, shows the relationship between different languages. It provides an way to show where the words have spread and a little information on the languages spoken in a country. The map also reads out your chosen word in the different languages around the world.

Did you know there are currently about 6,500 languages spoken in our world today? Surprisingly, just under a third of those languages are used by fewer than a thousand speakers!

I spent some time using Word Map and here are just some of the interesting language and word facts I discovered:

MANDARIN. Mandarin, although the most spoken language in the world, is only the official language in three countries: China, Taiwan and Singapore. China being the most populous country in the world ensures Mandarin taking its place at the top spot with 1.2 billion speakers.

LAO. The official language in Laos is Lao, however just over 50% of the country can speak the language. The other half of the country speaks the ethnic minority languages, especially in the rural areas.

RUSSIAN. Russian is the official language of three other countries apart from Russia but is used in various other countries such as Tajikistan for higher education and business

ENGLISH. According to the map, English the official language of the United Kingdom and 19 other countries. The map shows the UK as the hub and has spores illustrating the other countries which speak English.
Spanish is also the same; Spain is the hub with 19 spores, most locations in South and Central America.

EUROPE. The map demonstrates the relationship between the languages of Europe and how they differ. For example the word ‘love’. It starts off as ‘amar’ in Portuguese and remains quite similar to Spain, France and Italy until it reaches the UK and Germany where it changes completely.

ARABIC. Arabic is spoken by 21 countries on the map, but has no hub, showing how countries in North Africa and the Middle East have different variations of Arabic and that their language was not spread through colonization.

This tool shows us just how diverse language is around the globe. With so many people speaking different languages and dialects, localization and translation is here to stay.


Louise Donkor is a member of Welocalize’s global marketing team.