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International Languages

The original official languages of the UN were English, Chinese, French, and Russian, the languages of the permanent members of the UN Security Council. The choice was largely political. English was widely used as an international language, as it was the dominant language of the United States, a superpower. Chinese was the language of a major power as well as the language with the greatest number of speakers. ...Full Article

Heritage Languages

The term “heritage language” refers to a language that was acquired first, but was not completely learned because the child switched to another language that was dominant in the ...Full Article

Endangered Languages

The world faces enormous challenges in maintaining language diversity. Of the more than 6,912 languages, half may be in danger of disappearing in the next several decades, although this ...Full Article

Critical Languages

Critical languages are those less commonly taught languages in which the demand for proficient speakers exceeds supply. The Department of Defense wants personnel who speak a second language to ...Full Article

Altaic Language Family

The Altaic language family derives its name from the Altai Mountain region where it is believed that these languages may have originated. It includes 66 languages spoken by about 250 million ...Full Article

Romance Branch

All Romance languages are descendants of Vulgar Latin dialects spoken by the common people in the Roman Empire. Spread of the Romance languages occurred in two main stages: The first stage ...Full Article

Slavic Branch

Slavic languages are spoken by more than 300 million people mostly in Eastern Europe and Asia (Siberia). All Slavic languages are believed to have descended from a common ancestor ...Full Article

Germanic Branch

Germanic languages are spoken by close to 470 million people in many parts of the world, but mainly in Europe and the Western Hemisphere. All modern Germanic languages derive ...Full Article


Polish (język polski) belongs to the west Slavic group of the Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family. Its closest living relatives are Czech, Slovak, and Sorbian. It is spoken by 36.6 million people in Poland. ...Full Article

Arabic (Modern Standard)

Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), also called Al-’Arabiyya, Al-Fusha, and Literary Arabic, is the modern standard language based on Classical Arabic, the language of the Qur’an and early Islamic literature. MSA is quite uniform throughout ...Full Article
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