I have always had a fascination about learning languages. This lead me to become a polyglot and to travel the world. I look to connect with language lovers everywhere!
Someone asked me about two days ago how anyone could have any idea of how many speaker there are who speak constructed languages.
In natural languages governments and non-governmental agencies actually try to keep track of this in most cases, but since speakers of constructed languages don’t belong to any one nation this becomes tricky. For example, how on earth can you have an idea of the number of Esperanto speakers? There is not way to know this that I am aware of.
Though we cannot know the total number of speakers an auxiliary or constructed language might have, I realized though that I can use social media at least to get an idea of how these languages compare to one another in size of their populations. Earlier I went to my LinkedIn profile, the one I use for language projects, and searched to find out how many speakers are in my network for a variety of conlangs and auxlangs. I searched for profiles of people who mentioned the languages in their own profiles. Here are the quite interesting results:
The list is certainly not exhaustive and can be considered in no way scientific. Any results could at best be considered “rule of thumb” and are only good conversation pieces. I would have loved to have had a longer list of languages as well. For instance, I tried searching several other conlangs like Folkspraak and Latino Sine Flexione but couldn’t find anyone who listed themselves as speakers, students, aficionados, etc. Also, the numbers that other people come up with probably won’t match these results either due to the fact that the search results show people who are in your extended network so you might find more or less people who speak constructed languages.
The list above does not tell us how many speakers of these languages that there are in the world. What it does do is to give a gauge of interest out there. It tells me that of the folks on LinkedIn who listed such languages, Esperanto is by far the most popular and seems to be more than ten times the size of Ido, it’s offspring. I was also surprised to see Interlingua’s numbers as being fairly solid. And Klingon beats the hell out of Romulan and Vulcan!
And of course there was some overlap. For instance, this guy Rick Miller, who added his interests in both Esperanto and Toki Pona to his profile.
Anyway, I enjoyed this little task and it certainly gives us a conversation piece in the future when you want to compare these languages in size. I will check these number periodically. And I will most likely try this with other social sites like Facebook, etc.