Treasure house of languages


Map of world languagesThis map is taken from Mikael Parkvall’s book Limits of Language.  The size of each country depends on the number of languages produced within its borders. 

Papua New Guinea is the champion with over 800.  But Indonesia can’t be far behind, thanks to West Irian Jaya.  Even some of the other Indonesian islands, such as Kalimantan, seem to have produced as many languages as China.

Whenever I’ve started to learn a new language, it’s always felt like I was learning a new way to view the world.  Like a different perspective. So I’ve been saddened whenever I’ve heard news of a language disappearing.  On the other hand, there’s still a vast storehouse of languages waiting for some genius to find a way to apply them in a way which nobody has thought of before.  One day, when the world discovers a commercial use for all these languages and cultures, PNG and Indo will be the OPEC of this new wealth.

Here’s the link if you want more about the map: http://www.gadling.com/2009/12/19/papua-new-guinea-land-of-800-languages/

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