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Dr. Antonia Johnson

What are Facts About the World’s Most Spoken Language?

What are Facts About the World’s Most Spoken Language?  

Another snapshot of our wonderful talking world.

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What is the world’s most spoken language? Here, let’s focus on the most widely spoken languages by number of native speakers.

  1. Mandarin Chinese (1197 million)
  2. Spanish (406 million)
  3. English (335 million)
  4. Hindi-Urdu (260 million)
  5. Arabic (223 million)
  6. Portuguese (202 million)
  7. Bengali (193 million)
  8. Russian (162 million)
  9. Japanese (122 million)
  10. Javanese  (84.3 million)

What is the world’s most spoken language by total speakers? This combines native speakers with non-native speakers.

  1.  English (1,000 million)
  2. Mandarin Chinese (1,000 million)
  3. Hindi/Urdu (900 million)
  4. Spanish (450 million)
  5. Russian/Belarusian (320 million)
  6. Arabic (250 million)

What is most widely spoken by number of countries/dependencies where the language has official or defacto status? Note that Arabic provides the greatest challenge because the spoken languages that fall under the umbrella of “Arabic” are not all mutually intelligible.  However, Standard Arabic is used as the written language in countries where dialects of Arabic are spoken

  1. English (101)
  2. Arabic (59)
  3. French (51)
  4. Spanish (31)
  5. Russian/Portuguese (11)

This list shows the influence of European Colonial histories on the world’s linguistic map.  Languages with a large number of native speakers like Japanese and Mandarin have not traveled far beyond Asia, unlike the West European languages that colonists spread to all corners of the earth.

Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercise.

Rerun from 09/25/2013 and 11/02/2016

Tips for Organizing Your Presentation Like a Pro

Tips for Organizing Your Presentation Like a Pro
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  • The scenario:  You are asked to do a presentation. Perhaps it is at a lunch or you are asked to talk as part of a team. You were asked to speak because you have recognized expertise. To paraphrase Kevin Daley, the temptation for any speaker is to stuff the audience with facts. You need to provide information, but don’t think that’s everything.  No speaker was ever praised because he or she broke a world record for reciting data.
  • We get lauded for being interesting, not for being a fountain of numbers.  Statistics are not interesting by themselves.  We use factual evidence to increase our credibility and to support our viewpoint.   But audiences don’t pay attention enough to track statistics.  An audience is much more moved by a story.  That is what grabs their attention and sways their viewpoint.  That is what impresses them.  If you want the audience to love you, tell a story.

A much loved truism:

Tell me a fact and I’ll learn.

Tell me a truth and I’ll believe.

Tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever. – Indian proverb

Rerun from Sep 9, 2013 and Dec 5, 2016

What are Five Important Numbers for Global Communication and English Speaking?

What are Five Important Numbers for Global Communication and English Speaking? 

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In my previous blogs, we were talking about my favorite advice from pros and experts about preparing and delivering a presentation.  Here in this post and the next couple we are going to look at wonderful numbers which give a snapshot of our wonderful world of talking people.

From Time Magazine, July 29, 2013

  • 6,800  is the estimated number of languages in use around the world.
  • 12.5% is the share of the world’s population that speaks Mandarin Chinese, the most common language.
  • 850 is the approximate number of languages in Papua New Guinea, the world’s most polyglot country.

From New America Media, Commentary, Andres T. Tapia, Posted July 04, 2010

  • Nearly a billion people around the world speak English, which means that more people speak English as a second language than there are native speakers.
  • In Asia, the number of English-users has surpassed 350 million, equal to the number of people who live in countries where English is the dominant language: the United States, Britain, and Canada.  More Chinese children now study English – about 100 million—than there are Britons.

“There’s never before been a language that’s been spoken by more people as a second language than a first, “ says David Crystal, whose numerous books include English as a Global Language.

Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercise.

Rerun 09/11/2013 and 10/26/2016

The Rule of Three!

The Rule of Three! 
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For this week’s clear English speech coaching, we have a speech tip video below. Also, do the Rule of Three. Every great message contains at least one but not more than three key points.
1. Why should you follow the Rule of Three? People are so swamped with information, they quickly forget.
2. Another reason: Recall how we codify information: We remember things in groups of threes and fours. Best example is phone numbers.
3. How do you determine the one, two or three key points you want to make? Focus on these two questions:
         a. What point will best lead to my objective?
         b. What points do I most want the audience to remember?
Rerun from October 26, 2013 and November 28, 2016

Public Speaking: How Long for the First Draft & Best Format for Delivery

Public Speaking: How Long for the First Draft & Best Format for Delivery

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I love learning from other people.  I love going to experts and figuring out their tricks and secrets.  For presentations, I like to be successful.  I like to enjoy the process.  Top pros are successful and enjoy the process.  Here’s what they say about:

  • How long to make the first draft.
  • When to use full text and when to use notecards.

How Many Pages to Write?

How many pages or words it takes to do 20 minutes of presentation depends somewhat on your speaking style.  Time your speech as you practice it to tune it up in length or down to meet your requirements.

  • General rule for the first draft is that a 20-minute speech runs about 2,000 words or about eight double-spaced pages. This is based on an average speaking rate of 100 words per minute.  Clear speech is likely to be perhaps 90 words a minute.  For some people, even 85 words per minute.

Format of Speech Delivery: Text versus Cards

  • There is no standard rule for whether to use a full script text or notes on cards.
  • If you are very familiar with the material or you have made a similar presentation several times before, notes on cards probably work well.
  • If the speech is new ground, you will probably want to begin working with the full text, at least for rehearsals.
  • The greatest benefit of notecards is allowing you more eye contact with the audience.  Some people use their powerpoint slides as their notes, but they have a paper copy also.
  • As described in a previous blog, with the full text written out, a great strategy to maintain eye contact is to look up at the end of each sentence.
  • The drawback to having only notes is you may ramble and lose some of the ear appeal that you wrote into the original speech.
  • Occasion
    • If you are doing an informal farewell, the polish is not as important as sincerity.
    • If delivering a speech to hundreds of listeners, they expect the remarks to run smoothly and finish on time.  So you definitely want to have prepared text, unless you have memorized the remarks.

Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercise.

Rerun from Sep 4, 2013 and Oct 19, 2016