Introduction to the Study of Language



Important Terms

The Top Twelve Languages

These languages have over 100 million each, inc. non-native speakers -- although the actual numbers are difficult to estimate!  If you knew all 12 of these, you could probably communicate with more than 2/3 of the world!



Language Families

There are a number of ways of classifying the thousands of languages of our world.  What follows is based on Greenberg's system, a recent classification which is still controversial.  If you would like to see maps of these families, click here.  Some of the larger examples of each category have an estimated population in brackets; a second number indicates an estimate of non-native speakers.