A separate thread about tracking the percentage of a given language that a Lingq learner knows sparked my curiosity about a different statistic: If you learned every language supported here at Lingq, what percentage of the world’s population could you talk with? Maybe Lingq themselves have already looked at this and have the number somewhere where I haven’t seen it. But here is what I came up with.
Fully supported languages: 2.7 billion native speakers and 1.1 billion L2 speakers: 3.8 billion total
Beta languages: 469 million native speakers and 715 L2 speakers: 1.2 billion total
Total: 3.2 billion native speakers and 1.8 billion L2 speakers: 5 billion total = 65% of world population (7.7 billion)
Lies, damn lies, and statistics: I used Wikipedia to get these numbers. The number of L2 level speakers was not given for a number of languages. For others the number of native speakers and total speakers were given, so I took the difference to be L2.
Malay and Indonesian are interesting in that a larger number was given for L2 speakers than native. The numbers for Standard Chinese were a bit hard to glean; I used 910M and 200M for native and L2. For Standard Arabic it appears that Wikipedia wants me to say 0 for native and 270M for L2. A successful argument for including native speakers of all regional variants of Arabic would change that quite a bit, I expect.
I took the higher number wherever an estimated range was given for a number of speakers, so one might claim (if the stats I gathered are correct and I made no transcription errors) that Lingq covers languages spoken at L1 or L2 level by up to 65% of the world’s population.
So, who are the other 35%? What are the largest gaps in Lingq’s coverage of the world’s languages? Hindi comes immediately to mind, and as discussed above I might be missing a significant number of dialectical Arabic speakers.