This series of graphs, maps, and charts from the The Washington Post illustrates some fascinating information about the world’s languages. It’s not surprising that English is the most studied language in the world:
But I did find this chart illustrating how many countries a given language is spoken in to be worth thinking more deeply about:
The reach of English is due, of course, first to British colonialism and imperialism and, second, to the dominance of the United States, but it’s interesting to set English’s reach in comparison to these other languages next to the numbers of people who speak each language:
Just putting these numbers up against each other, of course, doesn’t tell us very much, but it does provide an interesting starting point for thinking about how the politics of language shape the world we live in.