Language Challenge Series

Language-Challenge-8-Russian

Русский (Russiky) Quick Facts Russian is the official language of four countries - Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan - but is widely spoken and understood in more than a dozen others. It is a Slavic language and shares roots with many of the other languages in Eastern Europe, including the languages of the Baltic. The Imperial Russian Academy (now the Russian Academy of Sciences) was founded...

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Language-Challenge-7-Chinese

中文 (Zhōngwén) Quick Facts Chinese and variants are the most widely spoken languages in the world with more than 1 billion native speakers. It is a member of the Sino-Tibetan language family and has influenced many other major languages such as Japanese and Korean. Mandarin, also known as standard Chinese, is the most commonly spoken variety and is the official language of both the Republic of...

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Language-Challenge-6-Arabic

العربية (al-ʻarabiyyah) Quick Facts Official language for 27 states in Africa and the Middle East, the third most states after English and French. It is a member of the Semitic language family, which also includes Hebrew. Arabic has multiple variants, the most common of which is Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), which is used in books, newspapers and official documents, but it is rarely spoken in day-to-day...

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Language-Challenge-5-Portuguese

Português Quick Facts Portuguese is the 6th most spoken language in the world with official status in 10 countries across 4 continents (though the majority are in Brazil). It is a member of the Romance family of languages, and is also descended from Vulgar Latin. Portuguese is not one of the 6 official languages of the United Nations despites numerous petitions to have it added. There...

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Language-Challenge-4-Spanish

Español / Castellano Quick Facts Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world, official to more than 20 countries in Europe and the Americas. In Spanish, the language can be referred to as either español ("Spanish") or castellano ("Castilian"). Preference for one term or the other depends on the region. The Real Academia Española (Royal Spanish Academy) was founded in 1713 to govern and...

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Language-Challenge-3-Japanese

日本語 (Nihongo) Quick Facts Official language only to Japan, it is the most spoken language in the world that is spoken in just a single country. It is a member of the Japonic family, which includes languages of islands surrounding Japan, though its origin is still unresolved from a scholarly perspective. 12% of the residents of Hawaii are Japanese speakers. The Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) is...

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Language-Challenge-2-German

Quick Facts Official language status in 7 European countries - Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, and Italy (South Tyrol). German is the most widely spoken native language in the EU. Obviously enough, it's a member of the Germanic family of languages, with origins in Northern Europe. The Goethe-Institut, a body of the German government named after famous writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, promotes the...

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Language-Challenge-1-French

Quick Facts Official language of 29 countries across Europe, Africa, North American, the Caribbean, and Australasia. Kinshasa, capital city of DR Congo, is the second largest French speaking city in the world, after Paris. It's a Romance Language, descended from Vulgar Latin (the language of Ancient Rome). The language is governed by the Académie française (French Academy) which was founded in 1685. Famous quote originating...

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