Languages at Work
Languages at Work

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Languages at Work

1 Languages in the world

This section aims to make you aware of a world beyond your current sphere of knowledge.

Activity 1 English in the world

Timing: You should allow 5 minutes

Where is English spoken as an official language? Look at the map below, and highlight the countries where you think English is the official language. What can you notice? What language do you feel would be important to get by in?

Discussion

This map shows countries that have English as their official language

On this map, you can see the countries using English as their main language shaded in grey.

Countries in which English is the first language of a large fraction of the population are shown in blue. The light blue shading shows countries where a substantial proportion of the population have adopted English as their main language. You will also see a list of which countries are included.

Activity 2 Foreign words in the English language

Timing: You should allow 5 minutes

Think about the words you use in everyday life, and try to make a list of about 3 words, with their origins, for example, pizza, kebabs etc.

Discussion

Pizza – Italian

Kebab – Arabic

Activity 3 Official language

Timing: You should allow 10 minutes

In the table below, you will see a list of ten countries. Note down what you think the official language is in these countries.

CountryLanguage
1Brazil
2India
3South Africa
4Switzerland
5Egypt
6Ukraine
7Philippines
8Andorra
9Chile
10Malaysia

Answer

Answers

CountryLanguage
1BrazilPortuguese
2IndiaHindi
3South AfricaAfrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swati, Tsongo, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu
4SwitzerlandGerman, French, Italian and Romansh (descending from Vulgar Latin)
5EgyptArabic
6UkraineUkrainian
7PhilippinesFilipino, English
8AndorraCatalan
9ChileSpanish
10MalaysiaMalay

Activity 4 Most spoken languages in the world

Timing: You should allow 10 minutes

The image below shows a list of the most spoken languages around the world. Try to put them in order of popularity and estimate the number of native speakers.

Answer

PositionLanguageNo. of speakers (in millions)
1Chinese1,120
2English480
3Spanish332
4Arabic235
5Bengali189
6Hindi182
7Russian180
8Portuguese170
9Japanese125
10German98
(Source: www.ethnologue.com)

Activity 5 English words of international origin

Timing: You should allow 15 minutes

The following list of words comes from what could be called “common languages”, as opposed to obscure ones. Think about the possible origins of each word, and note down what language you think they come from. In total you will there are 5 different languages.

WordOrigin
Alcohol
Bonanza
Cafeteria
Casserole
Hamburger
Jungle
Muesli
Shampoo
Tartare
Tobacco

Answer

Answers

WordOrigin
AlcoholArabic
BonanzaSpanish
CafeteriaSpanish
CasseroleFrench
HamburgerGerman
JungleHindi
MuesliGerman
ShampooHindi
TartareFrench
TobaccoArabic

Activity 6 Reflection

Note down a couple of sentences about what you have learnt about languages and English in the world. You may wish to share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

LANGSTU_1

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