Seven thousand languages to reach everyone

I love numbers. So here are some:

It would take 83 languages to reach 80 percent of all the people in the world, and over 7,000 languages to reach everyone. — Evolution and Revolution in Translation Management (source)

Current world population is ~6,830,586,985 (source), or 6.8 billion. Worldwide internet users are ~1,733,993,741 (source), or 1.7 billion. This means that ~25.4% of the world population use or have access to the internet.

So do we need > 7,000 languages to reach these 25.4%? Here is the Top 10 list (source):

  • English
  • Chinese
  • Spanish
  • Japanese
  • French
  • Portuguese
  • German
  • Arabic
  • Russian
  • Korean

No big surprise? Sure, but Arabic had the highest internet usage growth rate of them all – 1,900% growth from 2000 to 2009 (yes, that’s one thousand and nine hundred percent; more than 200% per year), followed by Russian (1,400%) and Chinese (1,000%).

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