Papua New Guinea highest number of ‘living’ indigenous languages in world

Ethnologue (a directory of languages) lists 7,111 living languages worldwide (languages that are still being used and spoken by people). According to it, Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea (PNG) has the highest number of ‘living’ indigenous languages in the world (840), while India stands 4th with 453. Interestingly, the U.S. (335 languages) and Australia (319), widely English-speaking nations, are among the countries where the highest number of languages are spoken. Among regions, Asia (2303) and Africa (2140) account for the highest number of indigenous languages (over 70% of the total).The United Nations has designated Year 2019 as International Year of Indigenous Languages to promote native tongues in five key areas viz. creation of favourable conditions for knowledge-sharing and dissemination of good practices with regards to indigenous languages.

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