Languages are most likely almost as old as mankind – or, at least, the same age with any early civilization. Plus, they are as variable as the civilizations across the world which obviously makes us think there must be some linguistic world records hard to believe. A LinkedIn user Omar Almossa collected quite a few from Guinness World Records, and we selected the 10 most interesting records.
The country with the most official languages is Zimbabwe, where there are 16 official languages.
The language with the most letters is Khmer, a.k.a. Cambodian, with 74. However, there are some letters that are not used nowadays.
The most gender-specific language is nüshu (“women’s writing”). For about 1000 years in a region of the Hunan province, China, it has been used exclusively by women to communicate their deeper feelings to other women.
The earliest written language discovered has been dated to 5000—4000 BC (!) It was found in 1962 on a Yangshao pottery, in the Shaanxi province of China. There are proto-characters for the numbers 5, 7 and 8.
As of 2010, MGIMO University (Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University)) teaches 53 full time languages during every academic term, href=”http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/most-languages-taught-in-an-academic-institution”>the most for any academic institution.
The word with the most meanings in English is the verb ‘set’, with 430 senses listed in the Second Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, published in 1989. The word commands the longest entry in the dictionary at 60,000 words, or 326,000 characters.
Strengths, at nine letters long, is the longest word in the English language with only one vowel.
The letter ‘O’ is unchanged in shape since its adoption in the Phoenician alphabet around 1300BC.
The most translated document is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, produced by the United Nations in 1948. It has been translated into 370 languages and dialects from Abkhaz to Zulu as of 2009.
The longest gestation of a dictionary has been for Deutsches Wörterbuch. This German dictionary was begun by the brothers Grimm (Jacob and Wilhelm, 1785-1863 and 1786-1859 respectively) in 1854 and finished in 1971, and consists of 34,519 pages and 33 volumes.5