Standard German is recognized as the official language of Germany and the working language of Germany’s national government. This West Germanic language, which is also one of the official and working languages of the European Union and the most commonly spoken first language among the member countries, is spoken by over 95% of the German population. The Standard German language is closely related to Low German, English, Dutch, Frisian and Afrikaans, and its vocabulary is mainly based on the vocabulary of the Germanic branch of languages, however minorities of words are also derived from Latin, Greek, English and French. Due to the heavy influence of the Germanic people on Europe’s language development, some European languages, such as French and English, are considered to be Germanic languages.

From Standard German to Exotic Echoes: Unraveling Germany’s Multilingual Landscape

Germany is a multilingual and multicultural society, with a long history of many different dialects and languages being spoken within the country. Besides German, approximately 67% of the country’s residents have the ability to speak at least one foreign language, with 27% of the population being able to speak two foreign languages.

Some of the minority dialects which can be heard in Germany include Low German, Upper Sorbian, Lower Sorbian, Frisian, Romani and Danish. Low German – or Plattdeutsch – was historically spoken in all regions occupied by the Saxons and spread across the entire North German Plain. Today it is spoken mainly in northern Germany, by approximately 5 million native speakers. Low German is quite distinct from Standard German and more closely related to English, Dutch, and Frisian. Upper Sorbian is spoken in Germany’s historical province of Upper Lusatia (part of Saxony), while Lower Sorbian is spoken by Sorbs living in the Lower Lusatia historical province, which is today part of Brandenburg. Lower Sorbian is a Slavic minority language which is currently highly endangered. The Upper and Lower Sorbian languages are spoken by about 0.09% of Germany’s population. Frisian is a minority West Germanic language which is spoken by about 10,000 people living in Germany’s North Frisia region. Romani is spoken by about 0.08% of Germany’s population, while Danish is spoken by about 0.06% of the country’s population.

Language Learning in Germany: Embracing Multilingualism

Germany is home to many immigrants from all over the world who speak their native languages inside the country. Some of the immigrant languages which can be heard in Germany include Turkish, Polish, Balkan languages, Kurdish and Russian. One of the most important foreign languages taught in schools in Germany, apart from French and Latin, is English. Depending on the geographical location, schools in Germany offer classes in languages such as Spanish, Greek, Russian, Polish and Dutch. There are also frequent discussions in Germany regarding the recognition of English as an official language, with nearly 60% of Germans being in favor of recognizing English as an official language in the European Union, according to a 2013 survey.

With over 58 million speakers, English is the de facto national language of the United Kingdom, meaning that it is not recognized as the official language by law, but simply due to the fact that the country overwhelmingly speaks the language. It wasn’t always this way, however: for a few centuries after the Norman Invasion of 1066, French was the primary language spoken by the government and the upper class, whereas English was mainly present among the lower classes. Today, over 98% of UK residents speak English, while only 31% speak at least two languages, making the UK the third least-likely European country to speak a foreign language. Despite the fact that English has a clear linguistic dominance in the UK, it is far from the only language spoken by its residents, with a number of languages and dialects having shaped the country due to its proximity to Europe and long history of colonialism. English is most strongly represented in England, despite being spoken nearly everywhere in the country, including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Beyond the English Isles: A Diverse Tapestry of Indigenous and Immigrant Languages

The areas where minority languages are most likely to be encountered are Wales and northern Scotland, which have their own regional languages. Before the French or the Germanic people came to the British Isles, there were certain languages spoken by the people already, and a few of them still exist in various forms to this day. One of these is the Scots language, which is the most popular language after English, spoken by 1.5 million people in Scotland. People who speak Scots generally learned it as a second language (with the first being English), however Scots is kept as it contributes to the national identity of Scotland. After Scots, the most commonly spoken language, with 560,000 speakers, is Welsh. Welsh is the only language in the UK which has a legal status, and it is treated as equal to English in the country, meaning that it’s used by the government and all public services have signs in both languages. Only 19% of Wales’ population actually speaks Welsh, however, as compared to the 99% of those who speak English, with the number of Welsh speakers actually declining. Due to the law, however, it is unlikely that Welsh is ever going to go completely extinct. Some of the other minor indigenous languages are Angloromani, Scottish Gaelic, Shelta, Irish and Cornish.

Bridging Cultures: The Lively Linguistic Medley of the UK’s Immigrant Communities

Along with these, the UK is home to 4.2 million speakers of various immigrant languages, due to the fact that the country has been a hub of immigration in Europe for as long as it has existed, particularly for people from regions of India and Pakistan. The biggest immigrant language is Polish, however, with over half a million speakers. The reason for this is largely due to the opening of borders to Poland after the country joined the European Union in 2004. In the following years, the UK stayed very open to immigrants, leading to an influx of other languages spoken in the country. The next most-spoken immigrant languages all come from India and Pakistan: Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali and Gujarati. Again, this is mainly due to England’s strong presence in India during the 19th and 20th centuries. The other most-spoken languages in the UK after that include Arabic, French, Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish.

French is recognized by its constitution as the official language in the country. The government primarily communicates in French, as well as the 88% of the population who speaks it as their first language. Over the years, France has worked hard to promote the French language, and it even established the regulating body of the Académie Française in 1635 to protect and promote it. However, its relationship to its own regional languages is more complex as there are many regional languages that have been spoken inside France for at least as long, or even longer than French, and yet they still remain largely unrecognized. France is a signatory of an European Treaty adopted in 1992 whose goal is to protect and promote historical regional and minority languages in Europe, however it has still not ratified it. Therefore, most of those who speak minority languages also speak French, given that the regional and minority languages are given no to very limited legal recognition.

From French Dominance to Lingering Heritage: The Complex World of Regional and Minority Languages

Apart from French, other commonly spoken languages are English, Spanish, German, Italian, Arabic and Portuguese. Several languages spoken in different regions of France had their origin from the Germanic, Celtic and Gallo-Romance dialects, such as Breton, Corsican, Occitan, Gascon, Auvergnat and Norma. Breton is spoken by approximately 200,000 people, most of them residing in Brittany, where the language originated. For 300 years it was used by the French upper classes, after which it lost its prevalence to French and Latin. Today, it can only be heard in some regions in Lower Brittany. Corsican is otherwise known as lingua corsa, and it was an official language of Corsica until the mid-19th century. It was influenced by Tuscan, Italian and French, and has developed into several dialects which vary through Corsica and Northern Sardinia. It is currently spoken by less than 200,000 people, and it is being taught in schools and popularized by local media. Occitan is spoken in southern France, northern Spain and Italy’s Occitan Valley. These different dialects may resemble each other, however the differences between them can be significant. Gascon has about 250,000 speakers and is mostly spoken in the southwest of France. Due to the geographical proximity to Spain, it has some ties to the Basque language. Auvergnat is spoken in the historical province of Auvernhat in the south of France. A recent study revealed that over 80% of the residents understood the local dialect, and its popularity is rising, especially among the younger generation. Norma is mainly spoken in Normandy by about 100,000 people.

Other minority languages in France include Gallo, Basque, Languedocien, as well as Polish, Turkish, Dutch, Romanian, Chinese, Catalan, Croatian and Galician. Many of these languages are native – such as Gallo, Languedocien and Galician – and are actually thought to be nearing extinction.

Portuguese is the most widely spoken language in Brazil and the official language of the country, with around 204 million residents speaking the language. Brazil is the world’s most populated Portuguese-speaking country by far, and the largest country in South America, both by land area as well as by population. Brazil is home to nearly 210 million people, out of which nearly 98% percent use Portuguese as their primary language. Brazil is known for being the only predominantly-speaking country in all of South America. Before the colonization of Brazil in the 1500s, there were dozens of indigenous languages spoken all over Brazil. After the Portuguese arrived in 1500, however, they brought their own language which began to emerge as Brazil’s primary language, a trend which has stuck to this day.

From Portuguese Dominance to Multicultural Tongues: Exploring Brazil’s Language Landscape

Despite the fact that Brazilian Portuguese and the Portuguese spoken in Portugal are mutually intelligible, certain differences between the two do exist. One of the main differences between the two variants of the language is pronunciation. Brazilians speak vowels longer and wider, while the Portuguese don’t pronounce the vowels as much.

Other languages that can be heard in Brazil include German, Spanish, English, Italian and some other previously mentioned indigenous languages which existed before the European colonization started taking place. Some of these include Ticuna, Kaiwa Guarani and Kaingang, which have continued to be in use to this day.

German Immigrants and Italian Roots: The Influence of European Languages in Brazil

German language is spoken by about 1.9% of Brazil’s population, but despite the seemingly low percentage, German is the second most widely used language in Brazil. This is mainly due to the fact that many German immigrants arrived to Brazil in the 1940s, when the number of German speakers became particularly strong. Many German immigrants have continued to use their language within the country over time, which is why German has managed to retain its status of a commonly-spoken language in Brazil to this day. German is also taught in schools in certain municipalities in the country. Italian has found its way into Brazil similarly as German, as it was also brought in by immigrants in the 20th century. The Italian language does have a limited presence in the country, but it has not been conserved as well as the German language.

Spanish is widely understood by many Brazilians due to language similarities and the country’s close geographical proximity to Spanish-speaking countries. Spanish is not very widespread due to the fact that it is often overtaken by English in terms of popularity. English is often taught as a second language in Brazilian schools, with many Brazilians also taking private English classes. English fluency is most common among the major city centers, with approximately 3% of Brazilians who speak English, out of the estimated 5% of those who speak a second language.

Italian is the most commonly spoken language in Italy, as well as its official language. Although not listed by the constitution as the official language, several courts have made legal decisions identifying the language as such. Italy has a multicultural population of over 60 million residents who speak many different languages, ranging from minority languages to regional dialects. Italian, as aforementioned, is the most widely spoken and the official language of the country, spoken by around 85 million people all over the world. Italian also serves as one of the working languages of the Council of Europe.

The Rich Roots of Italian: From Tuscan Dialect to a Romance Language

The Italian language is considered a Romance language and is closely related to Latin, more so than any other Romance language. Italian has its roots in the Tuscan dialect of the Italo-Dalmatian subgroup, which is part of the Indo-European language family. The Tuscan dialect was used by writers and the upper class of the Florentine society during the 1100s, such as the famous author Dante Alighieri, who is often credited for standardizing the language.

Apart from Italian, a number of minority languages are spoken in Italy, such as French, Greek, German, Albanian, Sardinian, Croatian, Occitan, Slovene, Friulian, Catalan, Ladin, and Franco-Provencal. Out of these languages, Sardinian belongs to its own group within the Romance languages, with around 1 million people speaking Sardinian, most of which live on the island of Sardinia. Sardinian has been influenced by Catalan, Spanish, Italian, Byzantine Greek, and pre-Latin languages, and is considered to be an indigenous language and very closely related to Latin. Sardinian is further divided into two varieties: Logudorese and Campidanese. As per UNESCO, both varieties are considered endangered, as Italian gains more prominence.

Other languages are spoken in Italy, 31 of which UNESCO considers to have varying degrees of vulnerability: Griko, Gardiol, Vastese, Toitschu, and Molise Croatian, to name a few.

Minority Languages in Italy: Preserving Griko, Gardiol, Vastese, Toitschu, and Molise Croatian

Griko is the language of the Griko people, who are believed to have descended from the Southern Italy’s Ancient Greek communities. This language belongs to the Hellenic language group and has between 40,000 and 50,000 second language speakers. Gardiol is spoken in the twon of Guardia Piemontese in the Calabria region, and is considered to be a dialect of the Occitan language. Vastese is considered to be a separate language and not a dialect of Italian, and is only spoken by the inhabitants of the town of Vasto, with the majority of the native speakers being between the ages of 80 and 90. Toitschu, also known as Walser German, is spoken throughout Italy’s Piedmont and Aosta Valley regions and is considered to be a dialect of Alemmanic. However, it is not mutually intelligible with Standard German or Swiss. Molise Croatian is a dialect of Serbo-Croatian, spoken by the Italian Croats in the Campobasso province. It has less than 1,000 native speakers.

Among its 10 provinces, there is a fair amount of linguistic diversity in Canada, particularly in large cities such as Toronto and Vancouver, which are swarming with languages from all over the world. English and French, however, are the most spoken languages by far, making Canada an officially bilingual country.

English and French: Canada’s Officially Bilingual Cornerstones

English is spoken by 58.1% of Canada’s total population, which translates to over 20 million native speakers. However, 86.2% of Canadians are able to conduct a conversation in English and 74.5% of them speak English at home. This makes English the overwhelming majority language by far, apart from Quebec – Which is predominantly French – and Nunavut, where Inuit is the native language of 83% of the population.

French is the second most widely spoken language in Canada. In 2016, the percentage of Canadians who could speak both English and French was at 17.9, its highest ever. However, in recent years there has been a slight decline in the prevalence of French as both a mother tongue and a language spoken at home, which is true even for the francocentric region of Quebec.

The Rise of Mandarin Chinese: A Growing Linguistic Influence

The next most spoken language in Canada is Chinese. Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese Chinese speakers make up for about 3.5% of Canada’s total population, or a little over 1.2 million native speakers. The influence of Chinese in Canada is increasing, with the number of people who spoke Chinese at home increased for nearly 17% between 2011 and 2016. The influence of Chinese in Canada is mainly a result of Chinese immigrants, whose first arrival happened prior to 1867, and again as recently as the 1990s.

Apart from English and French, there are 209 other languages spoken in Canada. Accounting for about 18.8% of Canada’s total population are other immigrant languages which can also be heard within Canada, such as: Punjabi, Tagalog, Spanish, Arabic, Italian, German, Urdu, Catalan, Fijian, Belarusan, Bilen, Kashmiri, Yiddish, Filipino and Korean. Punjabi is the fifth most common language in Canada after English, French, Mandarin and Cantonese, most commonly spoken by immigrants in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary.

There is a total of 67 Aboriginal tongues spoken inside Canada, accounting for about 0.6% of the total population, or 213,230 native speakers, with Cree being the most widely spoken Aboriginal language. Other Aboriginal languages include Inuktitut, Ojibway, Oji-Cree, Dene and Montagnais (Innu) which are spoken by more than 10,000 people, as well as those spoken by fewer than 100 people, such as Sarsi, Oneida, Comox, Southern Tutchone, Squamish, Cayuga, Southern East Cree, Siouan, Algonquian, Athabaskan, Wakashan and Iroquoian.

While Russian is the official language of Russia at the national level, there are also 35 other languages which are considered the official languages in different regions of the country. Being home to diverse cultures, Russia’s multicultural and multilingual landscape is manifested in the high number of different languages used all over the country.

Russian: A Dominant Language with Diverse Regional Flavors

With about 260 million native speakers, Russian is the most popular language in the country. It is legally recognized as the country’s official language at the national level, which is enshrined in the Constitution of Russia. As aforementioned, however, there are 35 other languages which are used as official languages in various other regions of Russia, as well as about 100 other minority languages.

The Russian language is classified as an Indo-European language and one of the four East Slavic Languages, and is one of the most widespread languages in the world, with speakers in Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Tajikistan, Georgia, Lithuania, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan. Russian is also used as an official language in the United Nations. Its written form uses a distinct type of alphabet based on the Cyrillic script.

Other official languages of Russia include: Ossetic, Ukrainian, Buryat, Kalmyk, Chechen, Ingush, Abaza, Adyghe, Cherkess, Kabardian, Altai, Bashkir, Chuvash, Crimean Tatar, Karachay-Balkar, Khakas, Nogai, Tatar, Tuvan, Yakut, Erzya, Komi, Hill Mari, Meadow Mari, Moksha, and Udmurt. With thousands of native speakers, these languages make up a significant portion of the total Russian population.

Some Russian languages are also considered endangered. One such example is the Kalmyk language, which is legally recognized as the official language of Kalmykia with about 80,000 native speakers in the country. However, as per UNESCO, which has labeled the language as “definitely endangered”, the Kalmyk language is in danger of extinction. Other languages which are in danger of extinction include: Northern and Souther Yukaghir, Udege, Enets, Orok, Ter Sami, Ket, Seto, Ingrian, Chulym, Ludian, Veps, Tofalar, and Chukchi.

Preserving Heritage: The Struggle to Save Endangered Languages

Some languages, which have already been declared extinct in Russia, have small populations of native speakers in other countries in the world. Such languages include Kerek, Ainu, and Yugh.

Some of the foreign languages used by thousands of expatriates who might have verbal and written knowledge of the national language, but who also use their native languages while communicating include English, German, Turkish, Ukrainian and French. These languages are mainly used among the major city centers in Russia.

Australia has no official language, English has been established as the de facto national language and is spoken by the majority of the population. Apart from English, Australians speak more than 200 other languages, making Australia one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse countries in the world.

Australian English has a unique vocabulary and accent, diversifying itself from British and American variants of the English language. Australian English is more similar to British English in this sense, however the Australian variant has a more colorful everyday vernacular – the so-called “strine” – which makes it easier to differentiate from the British variant. Strine or Ozspeak is characterized by abbreviations, profanities, hyperboles, vulgar expressions and various word-tweakings; strine is a slang which originated from the early convicts of Cockney in London and Ireland, after which it developed into a rebellious subculture. The uses of strine and slang words vary from state to state, and the Australian English is comprised of many words with an Aboriginal descent.

Australian English: A Colorful Vernacular Shaped by History

The Australian Aboriginal community dates back to around 60,000 years and has the longest cultural history in the world. Out of the 250 indigenous languages of Australia, only 20 have survived to this day, and they are taught in schools and spoken regularly. The most common aboriginal language is Kriol; Kriol contains many English words which have different meanings and are usually spelled in a phonetic style.

Preserving Indigenous Heritage: Aboriginal Languages in Australia

Other indigenous languages of Australia include the Tasmania or Palawa languages, which were the indigenous languages of Tasmania Island, and the Torres Strait Island languages.

The most widely spoken foreign languages in Australia include: Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Italian, Greek, Tagalog, Hindi, Spanish and Punjabi. Mandarin is the most influential non-English dialect spoken in Australia. It is spoken by around 2.5% of the Australian population, which translates to around 600,000 people. Arabic is the second most popular foreign language spoken in Australia, with around 320,000 residents speaking Arabic at home. Cantonese is spoken by around 280,000, Vietnamese by around 277,000, and Italian by around 271,000 Australians. Italian Australians are the sixth-largest ethnic group in Australia, with almost every Australian region having a considerable portion of Italian-Australians, especially in Victoria and South Australia.

There are also the Auslan Yolnu Sign Language as well as other Aboriginal sign languages in the country used by around 10,000 people with impaired hearing.

Spain’s official language is Spanish, also known as Castilian Spanish (or just Castilian, or Castellano). It is spoken by over 45 million people in Spain. The Spanish spoken in Spain is largely the same as the one spoken in Latin America, however some key differences do exist. The main distinction is the different accent, but there are some differences in the usage of grammar and vocabulary as well. Spanish is the 4th most spoken language in the world.

Co-Official and Unofficial Languages of Spain

According to the cultural diversity of the different Spanish regions, there are other co-official or unofficial languages that are spoken across the country. Other significant languages spoken in Spain include Catalan, Galician, Valencian and Basque. Catalan is a Romance language named for its Catalonian origins and is the most widely spoken of all minority languages in Spain. Catalan is spoken by 4.6 million people and is the co-official language of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands. Next is Galician, which is the official language of the region of Galicia, next to Portugal. Galician, or Callego, is spoken by 2.6 million people. Next is Valencian, which is the official language in the region around Valencia and is spoken by 2 million people. Next, Basque is spoken by around 900,000 people in Navarra and the Basque Country, and is often referred to as the most unique language in Europe due to its complex nature.

Others include Balearic, Extremaduran, Cantabrian, Asturian, Aragonese, Leonese, Altoaragonese, Fala Galaico-Etremeña, Aranese, Murcian and Silbo gomero.

Foreign languages most widely represented in Spain include English, French, Romanian, Italian, Portuguese and German.

Spanish is the most widely spoken language in Mexico, however the government also recognizes 68 Mexican indigenous languages. Over 130 indigenous languages have actually gone extinct over the years, along with their customs and culture. This is why the Mexican government has made great efforts in order to preserve and promote the native languages and culture in the recent years.

Indigenous Languages of Mexico: Nahuatl, Maya, Mixtec, and More

Today, there are over 7 million speakers of indigenous languages in Mexico. Mexico is home to over 45 groups of indigenous languages, which are further divided into 364 dialects. Some of the most widely spoken languages, apart from Spanish, include Nahuatl, Maya, and Mixtec. Nahuatl is spoken by around 1.7 million people, Maya is spoken by around 850,000 people, and Mixtec is spoken by more than half a million people.

Spanish is the dominant and the de facto language in Mexico with about 95% of the population speaking the language, however it is not recognized as the official language in Mexican legislation, which allows for more rights to be given to Mexico’s other languages, including the right to use indigenous languages in official documents and governmental communication.

Mexican Spanish is different from European Spanish, although daily and written communication has many similarities. The vernacular language and dialects of each region are different, however, and the Mexican vocabulary is more old-fashioned than the European variant of the language. One of the most distinct differences between the two is the accent, which is significantly different in Mexican Spanish than European Spanish.

Most Mexicans also learn English as a second language. At regional levels, Mexicans speak Spanish and English. In eastern Mexico, Otomi and Totonac are the official languages, and in central Mexico, Nahuatl is the official language. In the south-east of the country, residents usually speak Mayan languages.

Challenges in Language Preservation: Endangered Indigenous Languages

As per the National Institute of Indigenous Languages, 259 languages are in grave danger of extinction due to the languages having fewer than 100 speakers. One example of an endangered language is the Ayapaneco language, also known as Nnumte Oote.

Other minority dialects and languages include Catalan, Plautdietsch, and Chipilo Venetian, as well as the Yucatan Sign Language, Mexican Sign Language, and American Sign Language.