Ten things you never knew about… languages

1. About 225 native languages are spoken by communities in Europe.

2. The most commonly spoken first language in Europe is Russian, followed by German. English is the most common language for people to learn. 3. According to an EU survey, 44 per cent of people in EU countries cannot speak any language other than their own.

4. A recent Languages Of The World publication lists 7,097 languages spoken on Earth.

5. The most recent language to become extinct is Nuchatlaht of which the last speaker, Alban Michael, died in British Columbia in March 2016.

6. Dorothy Pentreath, who died in 1777, was the last native speaker of Cornish but more recently attempts have been made to revive the language.

7. In 2010 Unesco announced as “no longer accurate” its description of Cornish as “extinct”.

8. Mandarin Chinese is spoken by more than 13 per cent of the world’s population.

9. According to a recent survey, more than 300 languages are spoken in London.

10. “Language, n. The music with which we charm the serpents guarding another’s treasure.” (Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary).