Papua New Guinea has 820 different languages in use, the most languages of any country. Although the country is about 178,703 square miles (462,840 square km), about the size of California, it has more than 10% of the world's total number of languages, which is estimated to be about 6,900. This is thought to be because Papua New Guinea is heavily segmented into small tribes isolated by mountains, swamps and forests, which might have led each tribe to develop its own languages and dialects. Papua New Guinea does, however, have only three official languages: Tok Pisin, Hiri Motu and English.
More about languages:
- The most widely spoken language in the world is Mandarin, with about 12% of the people in the world using it.
- An estimated 2,400 languages are considered to be at risk of dying off, and it is estimated that languages become extinct at a rate of one every two weeks.
- The Bible is the book that is available in the most languages — more than 2,400 — followed by the children’s book Pinocchio, which has been translated into more than 260 languages.