A March 2003 study by the ad Hoc Expert Group on Endangered Languages of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) reveals a huge disproportion in the number of speakers of world languages. It points to a drastic linguistic polarity: about 97% of the world’s population speak about 4% of the world’s languages (mostly English, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Indonesian, Arabic, Swahili, and Hindi), while only about 3% speak the roughly 96% remaining languages.
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