Thursday, May 23, 2013

Languages Spoken by Missionaries

Languages by area

I have added a new variable to my YouTube data, language.  It is an interest part of the mission call and as I have listened to many videos I have come to realize that the Church’s effort to reach minority communities is vast and extends beyond the United States.  I have found that the YouTube data to be fairly reliable but it does have a weakness.  Nearly all posting are by young men and women whose native language is English.   

The graph “Languages by Area” shows the percentage of calls in seven major languages by the areas used by the Church to report demographic statistics with one exception.  I separate data for the United States from the rest of North America.  I have 103 observations, mostly from May and more assignments have been issued to missions in the United States (52%) than in previous three months (34%).  As an aside, the same pattern existed last year. 

Not surprisingly, English is the dominate language of the Church.  Forty-two percent of total calls are to English speaking missions in four of the seven regions, the United States (33%), the remainder of North American (3%), Africa (5%) and Oceania (1%). 

Spanish is the second most common language spoken by missionaries and like English, it is spoken in four regions: The United States (11%), the remainder of North America (6%), South America (18%) and Oceania (1%).  The paucity of calls to the remainder of North American probably is caused by the high number of calls issued to missionaries from those countries and implies that Spanish is a more important language spoken by missionaries than my data suggests. 

Portuguese is the third most common language assigned missionaries.  It is spoken in South America (5%) and Europe (1%). 

Europe represents a hodgepodge of languages, all with one percent of the world’s total: Portuguese, Russian, and in other, Norwegian, Danish and Greek.  Obviously, many more languages will be added to this area and none will dominate the area as Spanish and Portuguese dominate languages spoken in South America. 

Four languages are spoken in Asia and nowhere else: Japanese (5%), Tagalog (3%), and Korean (2%), and Cambodian (1%).  All five calls issued to Africa have been to preach the gospel in English.  In Oceania, two calls have been issued, one in English and the other in Spanish.  A more accurate picture of languages spoken by missionaries and by extension, Church members when the number of observations reach about 300.

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