So many Languages!


Akku: Mommy, how many languages are spoken in the world?

The scientists who study languages, called linguists, say that around 7000 languages are spoken worldwide today.

Akku: No way…but why are there so many languages?

Human migration, the process of moving from one place to another, played a big role in evolving and creating so many languages. 

Akku: How did that happen?


Years ago, humans split off into groups. As that happened, one language turned into many. People had to learn to live in very different places like hot deserts, freezing mountains and rainforests. Each place had different kinds of weather, plants, and animals. Having new words to talk about these new things helped people adapt to their new home and survive. After a while, new words and ways of life helped lead to totally new languages.

Akku: Wow! But why are languages so important?


Mom: Language helps express our emotions, desires, and questions to the world around us.

Akku: That makes sense. Mommy, so when was the first language created?


Mom: Language first evolved with modern Homo sapiens, who are our forefathers, around 150,000 years ago.

Akku: Is that language still spoken? Is it English?

No. Languages change as they are handed down from generation to generation, due to change in culture, living conditions and influence of other languages. This led us to speak different languages at different places.

Akku: So what did the first humans speak at that time ?

It started off with sign languages, then they started grunting, hooting and crying out, then more specific sounds and this gradually developed into the language we use today.

Akku: Then why couldn’t we speak the same language. Why speak different languages?

As I said earlier, they migrate to different places. Once a group of people settled in a place, they were often isolated from other groups. People usually don’t mix much, their words don’t either. But they do sometimes learn and borrow some words from other groups. For example, people speaking different languages might meet to trade, or were forced to leave home and move closer to another group. Isolation and mixing over a long period of time helped create so many languages. 



Akku: Now I get it. And I think English is the most spoken language in the world, right mom?

No, Mandarin Chinese is spoken by 1.3 Billion people, Spanish by 460 million and then English by 379 million people.


3 thoughts on “Mommy, Why do humans speak different languages?

  1. Madalena Hastings Cheston says:

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