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Can you name the countries with the most indigenous languages?
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Note: Data published in 2009
Most Spoken Languages
* Number of Indigenous Languages
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Most Indigenous Languages Quiz
Created Mar 8, 2012 in
Featured Mar 18, 2012
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USA Logic quiz
Mar 14th, 2012 at 13:41 GMT
Wow, must be a nightmare being a translator in Papua new Guinea...
Mar 14th, 2012 at 15:25 GMT
I would never have gotten Vanuatu in a million years.
Mar 15th, 2012 at 02:34 GMT
Vanuatu is the country with the highest language density in the world. There are on average only about 2000 speakers per language. 2000!!
Mar 15th, 2012 at 08:17 GMT
Thanks for the EP Flick.
Mar 15th, 2012 at 16:33 GMT
My favorite Sporcle quiz in a long time. I got Vanuatu but missed the Philippines! smh... @Cryptus: lol, but I guess the languages must be quite similar?
Mar 15th, 2012 at 16:35 GMT
I join the gobsmacked gasps at seeing Vanuatu here! Well done them. I'm also a little surprised that Papua New Guinea has more than Indonesia, but there you go. Great quiz.
Mar 15th, 2012 at 17:52 GMT
I considered the size of countries, but apprently that would have mattered. You have The top 4 largest countries on the list, and some of the smallest (Vanuatu, Nepal, etc.). I put Brazil, thinking of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon (Colombia worked, after all) and a few of the -stans (not Kyrgyzstan, for some reason). Best quiz for the Georgraphy quiz in quite some time...
Mar 15th, 2012 at 21:26 GMT
I only missed Vanuatu!
Mar 16th, 2012 at 00:04 GMT
@D_Mac: I am strangely pleased that a statistic called "language density" exists.
Mar 16th, 2012 at 03:25 GMT
Three things that seem to get you more indigenous languages are large size, tropical climate, and relatively undeveloped.
Mar 16th, 2012 at 06:47 GMT
I'm surprised that Solomon Islands has as few native languages as it does. It's right between Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu, and has a larger population than the latter.
Mar 17th, 2012 at 13:25 GMT
Much of PNG's landscape consists of rugged highland valleys, and therefore had many communities develop in complete isolation from one another - you'd have different languages from valley to valley. Without knowing much else, I'd assume the islands of Vanuatu were fairly isolated from one another, while the Solomon Islands were much more integrated.
Mar 17th, 2012 at 16:28 GMT
@Pemster & Tankman182, well according to the data the Solomon Islands have 71 indigenous languages, which for a country of half a million people isn't exactly a small number. But I'm fairly certain it all has to do with geographic isolation, whether that is due to an extremely rugged landscape such as Papua New Guinea's or being an archipelago of quite small islands scattered about a large area, the end result seems to be similar.
Game published: Mar 18th, 2012 at 04:03 GMT
Mar 18th, 2012 at 05:17 GMT
Nice quiz. Vanuatu is a tiny place with lots of languages. That's interesting.
Mar 18th, 2012 at 05:44 GMT
Save your fingers the pain of typing all the -stans...
Mar 18th, 2012 at 06:01 GMT
Thanks for the publish. Hopefully people will enjoy it despite the unexpected answer or two. I was just going off what the data said.
Mar 18th, 2012 at 06:09 GMT
That's what makes it all the better.
Mar 18th, 2012 at 10:09 GMT
Good quiz. I totally wasn't thinking of smaller countries. I figured, bigger area, bigger population, more variety in languages. Well, I was wrong!
Mar 18th, 2012 at 10:18 GMT
Somehow forgot Tanzania. But Vanuatu? Wow.
Mar 18th, 2012 at 11:23 GMT
As nations develop, most of these indigenous languages will be wiped out. This is a sad fact about development. Good quiz though.
Mar 18th, 2012 at 11:46 GMT
It seems the best way to figure out which countries will come up are larger countries with more territory (Russia,US., etc) and smaller countries with the terrian to isolate different tribes (Nepal, Vanautu, etc).
Comment below threshold:
Mar 18th, 2012 at 12:16 GMT
argh! accidentally typed in Russian, american, chinese etc instead of russia america china
Mar 18th, 2012 at 12:27 GMT
How long must it take to make an announcement in an airport in Papua new Guinea?
Mar 18th, 2012 at 13:12 GMT
Somehow I wasn't surprised when Israel didn't work, felt a bit stupid actually.
Mar 18th, 2012 at 13:41 GMT
Sporcle quizzes are best when based on quantifiable data. Nice idea.
Mar 18th, 2012 at 13:58 GMT
Mar 18th, 2012 at 13:59 GMT
I love this game it is exactly what I'm interested in
Mar 18th, 2012 at 14:17 GMT
Good quiz. You don't see many quizzes with Vanuatu as an answer.
Mar 18th, 2012 at 14:40 GMT
wow, Vanuatu had around 200.000 people and 108 languages, thats quite incredible!
Mar 18th, 2012 at 14:44 GMT
I guessed quite a few Oceanian island nations, but sadly vanuatu wasn't one of them...
Mar 18th, 2012 at 14:56 GMT
Can't believe Papua New Guinea is not guessed more. It's very famous for having so many indigenous people and languages!
Mar 18th, 2012 at 15:17 GMT
Great quiz, some surprising answers.
Mar 18th, 2012 at 15:57 GMT
Now, how come I missed Vanuatu?
Mar 18th, 2012 at 16:54 GMT
How is Vanuatu on this list? Does each person speak their own language?
Mar 18th, 2012 at 17:45 GMT
Surprised there aren't more African countries.
Mar 18th, 2012 at 20:56 GMT
Yeah, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu are both pretty legendary in the field of linguistics: PNG for having the most languages, and Vanuatu for having the most per capita.
Mar 18th, 2012 at 21:33 GMT
I’d like to see a follow-up quiz on countries with the most indigenous languages per capita. Actually, maybe I’ll make it if I have time.
Mar 18th, 2012 at 22:14 GMT
Great game! Really revealed how much anthropology class I missed in college. Yikes.
Mar 18th, 2012 at 22:45 GMT
You get Vanuatu, you miss Chad... that's rough.
Mar 19th, 2012 at 02:30 GMT
wow, that's more than one language per island for Vanuatu
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