There were more than 20,000 languages in existence around the year 10,000 BC – of which about 6,500 have survived to the present day. Exact figures are not available because, on the one hand, many languages are spoken in statistically less documented areas and, on the other hand, languages die out every year because people who speak these languages have no descendants, or the latter grow up using a different language.
7 languages are spoken in Germany: High German, Low German, Danish, North Frisian, Sater Frisian, Sorbian and Romani.
176 languages are spoken in the USA, 398 in India and even 729 in Indonesia.
The database of the SIL International Institute, which maintains the world's most comprehensive database on all of the world's languages, contains the overview below for the year 2020. All of the figures must be regarded as estimates. The number of native speakers is specified, followed by the number of second language speakers in millions.
But why does TTS not offer languages such as Limburgish or Aromunian?
For the majority of the world’s languages, it is often difficult to find qualified translators, and there is also little demand. The latter applies because the market is too small for our customers, or the target group also understands other languages such as the official language of the country. Here, different standards apply to literature as to specialist and technical translations. Operating instructions and maintenance manuals are not usually translated into 67 languages like the Harry Potter novels. What a pity…
Find out more about languages!
Ask for our flyer "The limits of language diversity"