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Proportional Map of the World's Largest Languages

There are 7 billion people on earth and about 7000 languages, but more than half of the world's population speaks one of just 23 languages. This infographic, created by Alberto Lucas Lopéz for the South China Morning Post, shows the relative size of speaker population for all the languages that have over 50 million speakers (based on data from Ethnologue). It shows, quite strikingly, how giant the population of Chinese speakers is, compared to any of the other languages. 

On closer inspection of the full resolution map, you can see that even when broken down by dialect, Chinese is massive. At 848 million speakers, Mandarin outstrips English by half a billion. "Smaller" dialects like Wu and Cantonese outstrip the entire population of Persian and Malay speakers.

The image is further broken down by country. The smaller areas within each language show the number of speakers in different countries. Although the countries for each language are not comprehensive—countries with small numbers of speakers of that language are grouped together under a single area marked with "+"—the number of smaller areas gives a good picture of nationality and language at a glance. Arabic is spoken in a large number of countries, while Japanese is only spoken in Japan. Nearly half of Bengali speakers live in India.

The colors show which regions the countries are in using the following coding:

The coloring shows that languages like Spanish and English have wider geographic distribution than other large languages. With the exception of French, colonial languages like Spanish, English, and Portuguese have many more speakers in the new world than they have in their countries of origin.

Take a closer look at the map and view additional information at the full size version.

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© 2017 USPS
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Pop Culture
Speedy Delivery: Mister Rogers Will Get His Own Stamp in 2018
© 2017 USPS
© 2017 USPS

USPS 2018 Mister Rogers stamp
© 2017 USPS

After weeks of mailing out this year’s holiday cards, postage might be the last thing you want to think about. But the U.S. Postal Service has just given us a sneak peek at the many iconic people, places, and things that will be commemorated with their own stamps in 2018, and one in particular has us excited to send out a few birthday cards: Mister Rogers.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Fred Rogers’s groundbreaking PBS series that the USPS says “inspired and educated young viewers with warmth, sensitivity, and honesty,” the mail service shared a mockup of what the final stamp may look like. On it, Rogers—decked out in one of his trademark colorful cardigans (all of which were hand-knitted by his mom, by the way)—smiles for the camera alongside King Friday XIII, ruler of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

Though no official release date for Fred’s forever stamp has been given, Mister Rogers is just one of many legendary figures whose visages will grace a piece of postage in 2018. Singer/activist Lena Horne will be the 41st figure to appear as part of the USPS’s Black Heritage series, while former Beatle John Lennon will be the face of the newest Music Icons collection. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, will also be honored.

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Can You Spot the Christmas Pudding?

Whether it’s a sheep hanging out with Santa Claus or a panda bear hiding among some snowmen, regular Mental Floss readers know that hidden picture brainteasers are one of our favorite things. And the optical experts at Lenstore.co.uk have released a delicious one, just in time for Christmas. Somewhere in the midst of all these holiday-themed goodies above, there’s a holiday pudding just waiting to be discovered. Can you spot it? Your time starts … now.

If you give up, or are the kind of person who reads the last page of a book before the first one and just wants to know the answer, scroll down to see where it’s hiding.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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