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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0-9

A Future of Fewer Words? - Five Trends Shaping the Future of Language

Author: Lawrence Baines
Organisation: University of Oklahoma
Publish Date: 2012
Country: Global
Sector: Globalisation
Method: Foresight
Theme: Futures
Type: Article
Language: English
Tags: World languages, Language speakers, Internet languages, Images, Subverting words, Translating machines

Estimates that, of the 6,900 or so languages spoken on the planet, more than half are likely to become extinct over the next century. Today, 95% of people speak one of just 400 languages. The other 6,509 languages are unevenly distributed among the remaining 5%. Hundreds of languages, most with only a few speakers still living, are teetering on oblivion at this very moment. Why are the world’s languages disappearing? Like living organisms, languages morph over time in response to continuous evolutionary pressures. Any language is in serious trouble if it is spoken by few people or is confined to a remote geographic area. Many of the languages in north-eastern Asia, for example, are in isolated, inhospitable regions where low birth rates and high morbidity rates have been facts of life for hundreds of years.
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