Guinness Book of ‘Language’ Records

May 19, 2017

Did you know that the Guinness Book of World Records has several language-related world records?
See some of them below: 

  • Most Official Languages: The country with the most languages is Zimbabwe, with 16 official languages.


  • Most Common Language: The most common first language is Chinese, spoken by more than 1.1 billion people.


  • Most Widespread Language: The most widespread language, as well as the second most spoken language, is English, with a conservative estimate of 800 million speakers.


  • Most Languages Taught at University: As of 2010, MGIMO University (Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University)) teaches 53 full time languages during each academic term, the most for any academic institution.


  • Longest Alphabet: The language with the most letters is Khmer (Cambodian), with 74 (including some without any current use).


  • Fastest Time to Spell BSL Alphabet: The record for the fastest time to spell the British Sign Language Alphabet is 4.7 sec and achieved by Thomas McWhinney (UK) in an event organized by Robert Skinner at the Sassoon Gallery in London, UK on 23 August 2008.


  • Longest Word: Lengthy concatenations and some compound, agglutinative and nonce words can be written in the closed-up style of a single word. The longest known example is a compound ‘word’ of 195 Sanskrit characters (transliterating to 428 letters in the Roman alphabet) describing the region near Kanci, Tamil Nadu, India, which appears in a 16th-century work by Tirumalãmbã, Queen of Vijayangara.


  • Longest English Word, One Vowel: Strengths, at nine letters long, is the longest word in the English language with only one vowel.


  • Most Translated Document: The most translated document is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights drafted by the United Nations in 1948. It has been translated into 370 languages and dialects from Abkhaz to Zulu as of 2009.


  • Longest Literary Gestation: The standard German dictionary Deutsches Wörterbuch was begun by the brothers Grimm (Jacob and Wilhelm, 1785-1863 and 1786-1859, respectively) in 1854 and was completed in 1971 and consists of 34,519 pages and 33 volumes.

Search for more world records here.

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