Although a quarter of the world have some knowledge of English, there are 7,000 recognised languages spoken across the globe. With 2,200 of these being found in Asia, it isn’t surprising that 12.44% of the world’s population speak Mandarin as their first language. The world’s most translated document is the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which has been published in 300 languages. Surprisingly it is the story of Pinocchio which is available in the most languages after the Bible. The world’s most translated author is Agatha Christie, with 7,231 different combinations of books and languages.
Unfortunately it is estimated that a language dies every two weeks, and there are now 2,400 which are classified in the danger zone. There are, however, several artificial languages which have been made up, the most well known being Esperanto.The writer’s goal was to create an easy-to-learn, politically neutral language that would transcend nationality and the first book detailing Esperanto, the Unua Libro, was published on July 26, 1887. Other languages have been the creation of fans of the television series Star Trek and the Lord of the Rings books.
One young American boy went one further and created his own country to accompany his made-up language! On the 26th of December 1979, 14 year-old Robert Ben Madison of Wisconsin, Milwaukee declared his second-floor bedroom to be an independent, sovereign country. Ben named his creation ‘The Kingdom of Talossa,’ from the Finnish word talossa, which means ‘inside the house.’ At 1900 hours, Madison gave his first Speech to the Nation and at that moment, the founder was transformed into His Royal Majesty, King Robert the First of the Kingdom of Talossa. There are now around 35,000 words in the Talossan language, which are enjoyed and ‘spoken’ by 217 citizens of this micronation that began in a teenager’s bedroom!