Approximately half of the population in the world speak a language that was originally derived from Indo-European, which is a language that was spoken about 4000 years ago. It is assumed that Indo-European originated from a temperate climate due to the fact that languages descending from it have near identical words for snow, winter and cold. Linguists approximate that there are between 6,000 to 7,000 languages in the world today. The reason why it is hard to arrive at an exact figure is because even linguists do not agree whether certain languages are independent languages or they are dialects of each other. The oldest written language is Sumerian. It originated from Mesopotamia 3,000 BC. All the world’s alphabets were derived from a single alphabet that was invented in the Middle East 3, 600 years ago. This was known as the North Semitic Alphabet.
Over 96 percent of the world’s languages are spoken by 4 percent of the world’s population. About 175 languages are spoken by less than 10 people and 500 languages are spoken by less than 100 people. In most languages 100 words consists half of the vocabularies that are used in day to day conversations. In most languages around the world, the word for mother starts with letter ‘m’, except for languages in the Uralic group. The most widely spoken language in the world is Mandarin Chinese, as 885,000,000 people speak it. The Chinese language requires no punctuation. The Philippines has more than 1,000 dialects and only 2 official languages. Due to Globalization, people tend to prefer to speak more widely used languages such as Chinese, English Hindu, French, Russian and Spanish rather than local languages that are only known by a limited number of people.
Most people in the world are either bilingual or multilingual. Recent studies have shown that the brains of individuals who are bilingual tend to process things faster than those who are monolingual. Thus, it has been suggested that bilingual people tend to be smarter than those who are monolingual. Various socio-economic factors drive communities to shift from speaking one language to another.