Friday, September 21, 2007

Language tidbits

Every once in a while, I receive a folio from Masterfile, a stock photography agency. This month, a page on language, with the following facts, was included;

  • There are 6,912 living languages.
  • 516 of those are nearly extinct.
  • There are 820 living languages in Papua New Guinea (hate to see the translation guide for that country.)
  • Khmer, the world's largest alphabet has 74 letters.
  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been translated into 321 languages.
  • The English language has 250,000 distinct words.

The last tidbit I thought interesting was a quote from Carl Sandburg:

"Slang is a language that rolls up its sleeves, spits on its hands, and goes to work."

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