. Only 100 languages are written down.
. Around 80 per cent of what is on the Internet is in English.
. Specialists reckon that no language can survive unless 100,000 people speak it. Half of the 6,000 or so languages are spoken by fewer than 10,000 people and a quarter by fewer than 1,000.
. The 'New World' had 1,000 languages before the colonists arrived but only 400 remain today and many of these are endangered.
. Forbidding people to speak or teach their own language has always been used as a way of trying to stamp out minority cultures: for example, Kurdish, Berber, Basque.
. In some places languages which have almost died out are experiencing a revival. Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian, for example, were until recently considered to be a single language, Serbo-Croat.
. Half the world's population uses a total of eight languages in daily life, while a sixth of the world's languages are spoken in Papua New Guinea alone.