How big is our language island?

«The limits of my language are the limits of my world»
Ludwig Wittgenstein

I like to think of the interplanetary idea that, with Fragensteller, I can contribute to the diffusion of concepts, theories and practices that would otherwise be restricted to a reduced linguistic space and would take more time to spread throughout the planet.
Good ideas are worth spreading!

Caetano Veloso, Brazilian singer, once said: “it is only possible to philosophize in German”. Of course it is possible to philosophize in other languages!

However the Spanish language (or Castilian) is currently the 2nd most spoken language in the world, with 405 million native speakers, that is 5.85% of the world population, being the 4th most spoken language in the world with 515 million speakers, besides having the 4th position as the most used language on the Internet. Portuguese occupies the 6th place as a native language, 3.08% of the world population and the 9th most spoken language in the world, with 236 million speakers. On the Internet it occupies the 7th position.

English – the first most spoken language in the world (about 1,150 million natives and non-natives), responsible for 54% of the contents of the Internet -, German (132 million) and French (285 million) add together a total of approximately 1,567 million people. Adding Portuguese and Spanish, the five languages together reach the not insignificant figure of 17% of the world’s population and 72% of Internet content!

It is difficult to determine the exact number of people, because some of them can speak 2 or more foreign languages, distorting the statistics. This is a small part of the real world, it is true, but it represents a very significant part of the virtual world. Spanish, English and French are three of the six UN official languages.

So, if you are reading this blog, you belong to this small linguistic island of maybe 1.5 billion people!


Now maybe you’re wondering: but what about Catalan? As a mother tongue it is spoken by some 4 million people. Compared to other majoritarian languages on the planet, it may seem despicable. And I claim the argument that not everything is a matter of quantity. My life is inexorably connected to this language and that culture and that land and those people who have welcomed me so well for 18 years of my life.

My answer to the question: “Why Catalan?”

Well, because yes.

Image: John Constable – A Seascape with Two Sail Boats