Language Learning: A Spotlight on Languages

Welcome to our first installment of Language Learning. This is the first of what will be an ongoing series that spotlights one or more of the thousands of languages worldwide. We hope you enjoy.

This month we feature two distinct languages:

Language Spotlight: Ewe

Ewe is a language spoken by approximately 20 million people in West Africa, mainly in Ghana, Togo and Benin, and also in some other countries like Liberia and southwestern Nigeria. Ewe is part of a cluster of related languages commonly called the Gbe languages.

Language Spotlight: Punjabi

Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken mainly in Punjab Province in Pakistan, and in the Punjab state in India. There are also Punjabi speakers in Kenya, Singapore, United Kingdom, Canada, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Saudi Arabia, and Australia.

The names Punjabi and Punjab come from the Persian words for five (panj – پنج) and water (ab آب,) and refers to the five major eastern tributaries of the Indus River that flow through Punjab: the Chenab, Jhelum, Ravi, Sutlej and Beas.

There are two main varieties of Punjabi: Eastern Punjabi and Western Punjabi. Eastern Punjabi is spoken by about 32.6 million people, mainly in India. Western Punjabi is spoken by about 92.7 million people, mainly in the Punjab province in Pakistan. Punjabi is written with the Gurmukhi (ਗੁਰਮੁਖੀ) alphabet in India and the Urdu alphabet, known as Shahmukhi (شاہ مکھی), in Pakistan.

Thanks to Jiri Stejskal and Simon Nazir for providing this month’s featured languages. Please let us know at if you have a suggested language to spotlight next time!