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All World Languages in One Visualization

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This infographic was originally published in scmp.com

Infographic: A World of Languages

All World Languages, By Native Speakers

View a high resolution version of today’s graphic by clicking here.

Languages provide a window into culture and history. They’re also a unique way to map the world – not through landmasses or geopolitical borders, but through mother tongues.

The Tower of Babel

Today’s infographic from Alberto Lucas Lopez condenses the 7,102 known living languages today into a stunning visualization, with individual colors representing each world region.

Only 23 languages are spoken by at least 50 million native speakers. What’s more, over half the planet speaks at least one of these 23 languages.

Chinese dominates as a macrolanguage, but it’s important to note that it consists of numerous languages. Mandarin, Yue (including Cantonese), Min, Wu, and Hakka cover over 200 individual dialects, which vary further by geographic location.

CountryNative Chinese speakers (millions)
🇨🇳 China1,152.0
🇹🇼 Taiwan21.8
🇭🇰 Hong Kong SAR6.5
🇲🇾 Malaysia5.1
🇸🇬 Singapore1.8
🇹🇭 Thailand1.2
🇻🇳 Vietnam0.9
🇵🇭 Philippines0.7
🇲🇲 Myanmar0.5
🇲🇴 Macau SAR0.5
Other6.0
Total1,197 million

Chinese is one of the most challenging languages for English speakers to pick up, in part due its completely unfamiliar scripts. You’d have to know at least 3,000 characters to be able to read a newspaper, a far cry from memorizing the A-Z alphabet.

Spanglish Takes Over

After Chinese, the languages of Spanish and English sit in second and third place in terms of global popularity. The rapid proliferation of these languages can be traced back to the history of Spanish conquistadors in the Americas, and British colonies around the world.

Animation: Map of Colonization (1492 – 2008):
Colonization Map

Today, Spanish has 399 million native speakers, but these are mostly concentrated in Latin America. English has 335 million native speakers under its belt, with a widespread reach all over the globe.

Two Worlds, One Family

While the visualization makes all the world languages seem disparate, this linguistic family tree shows how they grew from a common root. It also explains how languages can evolve and branch out over time.

Language Tree

Created by Minna Sundberg. Full version.

This linguistic tree also includes many languages that are not on the large visualization of 23 mother tongues. Some of them might be considered endangered or at risk today, such as Catalan or Welsh. However, with globalization, a few interesting linguistic trends are arising.

1. Language revival
Certain enclaves of marginalized languages are being preserved out of pride for the traditional and cultural histories attached.

While Catalan was once banned, its rebirth is a key marker of identity in Barcelona. More than 150 universities teach Catalan worldwide. In the case of Welsh, a mammoth university project plans to make sure it does not die out. Researchers are compiling ten million Welsh words to preserve the past, present, and future of the language.

2. Language forecast
At this point in time, English is the lingua franca – adopted as a common language among speakers with different mother tongues. However, this status might soon be fuzzier as demographic trends continue.

The rise of China is an obvious one to consider. As China continues to increase its economic might and influence, its languages will proliferate as well.

At the same time, 26 African countries are projected to double their current size, many of which speak French as a first language. One study by investment bank Natixis suggests that Africa’s growth may well bring French to the forefront – making it the most-spoken language by 2050.

Could French provide a certain je ne sais quoi that no other world language can quite replace?

This post was first published in 2018. We have since updated it, adding in new content for 2021.

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Misc

Ranked: The Top 10 U.S. Pizza Chains by Market Share

Domino’s is the biggest pizza chain in the U.S. by sales.

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Graphic showing America’s biggest pizza chains by 2022 revenue.

Ranked: Top 10 U.S. Pizza Chains by Market Share

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

About 3 billion pizzas are sold annually in the United States. In 2022, pizza restaurant sales in the U.S. reached an all-time high of $46.9 billion, an increase of roughly $10 billion compared to just a decade prior.

This graphic lists the top 10 U.S. pizza chains based on 2022 sales figures. This data was accessed via Statista (published June 2023).

Domino’s Domination

Domino’s is the biggest pizza chain in the U.S. by sales, reaching $8.6 billion in revenue in 2022. The brand is also found in 90 other countries around the globe, including stores on every continent except Antarctica.

According to Domino’s main website, there are over 20,500 locations worldwide, which collectively serve over 1 million customers per day.

Domino’s is followed by Pizza Hut with $5.3 billion in revenue. Little Caesars, with $4.7 billion, completes the top three.

Company2022 Revenue (USD)
Domino's Pizza8,572,000,000
Pizza Hut5,270,000,000
Little Caesars4,724,000,000
Papa Johns3,712,000,000
Marco's Pizza1,063,000,000
Papa Murphy's753,000,000
MOD Pizza662,000,000
Hungry Howie's534,000,000
Round Table463,000,000
Jet's Pizza441,000,000

The top end of this ranking contains household names, but regional pizza chains also make the cut. Jet’s Pizza is popular in the Great Lakes region, and most Hungry Howie’s locations can be found in Michigan and Florida.

The overall number of pizza restaurants in the U.S. has been on the rise, reaching more than 80,000 units in 2022.

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out this graphic, which visualizes the change in market share of U.S. carbonated soft drinks between 1995 and 2023.

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