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Foreign Policy Analysis
What Country Has the Most Languages Spoken?

What Country Has the Most Languages Spoken?


Hello everyone. Welcome to the Langfocus channel
and my name is Paul. Today, I want to start this video with a new feature called:
“The Mystery Language”. I’m going to play a language for you
that you may have not heard before and, at the end of the video,
I will let you know what this language is. So check it out. Okay, stay tuned until the end of the video
and I will tell you what language you just heard. Okay, onto our main topic:
What country has the most languages spoken? What country is the most linguistically diverse? Many of us come from countries where
there may just be one or two main languages, and maybe some other regional minority languages too. But there are some countries in the world where
the amount of linguistic variation is just mind-blowing. The country with the most languages spoken is Papua-New Guinea
with at least 820 different languages spoken. Imagine that! Papua-New Guinea is a very rural country
where 88% of the people live in rural areas. Now compare that to 10% of the people
in the United Kingdom living in rural areas, or 19.3 % of the American population
living in rural areas. Papua-New Guinea is very rural indeed. And because of Papua New-Guinea’s rugged terrain
and its deep valleys, there’s a limited amount of communication
between all of those isolated rural community. That’s why the remains such an amazing
amount of linguistic variety today, without any particular languages sort of growing
in influence and dominating the others. Imagine that your village speaks one language
and the neighbouring village just a few kilometers away speaks an entirely different language,
that’s sometimes the case in Papua-New-Guinea. And I’m not even talking about different dialects
of the same language, although that happens too. I’m talking about completely different languages
in certain cases. The languages of Papua New Guinea
fall into three categories : The first one is the Austronesian languages which
arrived in Papua New Guinea about 3,500 years ago. Then, there are the Papuan languages which predate
the Austronesian languages in Papua New Guinea. And then, there are the foreign languages
and Creole languages that serve as a lingua francas. The term pop Papuan language simply refers to
languages that predate the Austronesian languages, languages that are indigenous to Papua New Guinea. It does not mean that they are a single language family. There are actually several dozen different language
families amongst the Papuan languages. Some of those language families
have no connection to each other. And there are some language isolates. That means that there are individual languages
that have no known connection
to any other languages in the world. Most Papuan languages are spoken by
only a few hundred to a few thousand people. Though, there are a few that are spoken
by over a hundred thousand people. There are three official languages in Papua New Guinea :
the first one is English, the second is Tok Pisin
and the third one is Hiri Motu. The most widely spoken is Tok Pisin. It is an English creole language
which arose during the colonial period. Tok Pisin is now used as a lingua franca which is very
important in a country with so many different languages. And it is also now spoken
as a native language by many people. Tok Pisin is less widely spoken in the southern region of Papua, where a different language often functions
as the lingua franca. And that is Hiri Motu. Hiri Motu is a simplified Creole
of another Austronesian language called Motu. Its use has been declining in recent times
in favor of English and Tok Pisin. English is only spoken by 1 to 2 % of the population
but it is widely used in business and it is supposedly the language of education. But if English is the language of education and only
1 to 2% of the people speak it, then that sounds like
a pretty dodgy education system to me. The second most linguistically diverse country in the world
is Indonesia, which lies right next to Papua New Guinea. In fact, half of the island of New Guinea
lies inside indonesia. About 740 languages are spoken in Indonesia. But there is only one official language and lingua franca.
And that is Bahasa Indonesia, or Indonesian. Number three is Nigeria with 516 languages spoken. But English is used as a lingua franca,
especially in the urban areas I guess they need English to communicate
with all those thieving oil companies. Number four is India with 427 languages. The main lingua francas are Hindi as well as English,
which was left behind by the British colonizers, in exchange for a massively huge amount of India’s resources. And number five is the USA which has 311 languages. Now, that may sound surprising because we think
of the USA as an English-speaking country. But remember that there are over 100 indigenous
languages in the USA, even though many of them have
a very limited number of speakers these days. There are also a couple of hundred of different
languages spoken by immigrants to the USA. It may be hard to wrap your head around
that huge degree of linguistic diversity, especially if you are interested in one of those countries and you want to learn a language
to communicate with people there. But luckily those countries all have one or more
lingua francas which can help you communicate with a much larger proportion of the population
from various different linguistic communities. Thank you for watching the Langfocus channel. Be sure to check out my social media links like
Facebook , Twitter , Instagram and Google+ . And also check out the Langfocus.com blog as well. The mystery language from the beginning of the video
was the Malagasy language from Madagascar. For more information on the Malagasy language,
click here and visit the Langfocus website Thanks again for watching have a nice day.

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