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There are thousands of languages in the world. They range from Chinese, which is spoken by over 1 billion people in the world, to tribal languages spoken by only a small handful of people.

  • Languages die out every day for many reasons. It may be that people can't participate in business or education if they don't speak a particular language. In Wales in the 19th century school children were banned from speaking Welsh, and the language almost died out as a result
  • When you travel, it is important to try to learn a country's native language. It will help with practicalities when you are away, from ordering food to helping you meet new people
  • The most widely spoken languages in the world are English, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi and Arabic
  • In many countries, English is widely-spoke as a second language, particularly European countries. In America, Spanish is more commonly the second language
  • A quarter of the world's population speak some level of English

The Welsh Language

  • Welsh and English are the national languages of Wales
  • Over a fifth of the population of Wales can speak Welsh and a quarter can understand it
  • There has been an increase in Welsh speakers in Wales since the 1990s, largely due to the language being made compulsory in schools
  • The highest proportion of Welsh speakers is found among 16-19 year olds
  • There are some parts of Wales where Welsh is the first language

Languages and education

  • In the United Kingdom, the most commonly taught foreign languages are French, Spanish, German and Italian
  • In Wales, Welsh is compulsory as a GCSE subject
  • Non-European languages, such as Chinese and Arabic, are not generally taught in British comprehensive schools. However, many different languages can be studied from scratch at university-level

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