Ever wonder who would win a heavy weight championship between world languages?
Well here you have it. Alberto Lucas López designed a language map proportioned by number of native speakers. Turns out, of the world’s 7,102 known languages, more than half of us speak only 23 of them.
But there’s even more to the map than meets the eye. Each color also represents a region of the world.
Interestingly, had López colored the map by languages’ region of origin, we’d be left with a much less colorful map: Every language listed comes from Europe, Asia, or the Middle East. On a map of language origin, the entire continents of North America, South America, Africa, and Australia wouldn’t even appear.
It’s also important to note that this is a map of languages by native speakers – those speaking these languages as their first. In a map ranking languages by total number of speakers (even if it’s their second, third, etc.), English would be massively more prominent, which is noted in a sneaky little graphic at the bottom of the page.
As a bonus, the graphic also includes the number of countries in which each language is spoken.
While it’s unclear what “is spoken” means (do 5 countries really use Korean?), there is a clear winner here – and the no-they’re-not-Spanish runners up were a bit surprising as well.
With so much delightful information in one place, this graphic clearly demonstrates the many ways one can “rank” languages: number of native speakers, number of learners, number of countries, and even number of languages within a country (but you’ll have to check out the full graphic for that one). Data representation at its finest. Well done!
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