RE: Languages of the world

From: Peter Constable (
Date: Thu Mar 24 2005 - 16:04:59 CST

  • Next message: Asmus Freytag: "Re: Languages of the world"

    > From: []
    > Behalf Of N.R.Liwal

    > I wonder weather a discussion that I would like to initiate might have
    > been
    > already discussed on this forum...

    Several of your questions would be more appropriately asked on the
    Endangered Languages list. I don't have the details handy at the moment;
    you can try searching.

    I won't duplicate answers Rick has provided.

    > How many languages are written in the world today?

    Depends on how you measure. One measure is that there have been portions
    of the Bible translated and published in over 2000 languages. But that
    doesn't mean that the orthographies devised in all those cases have
    stuck and that the communities have become literate -- that would be a
    different measure. Very often, you have *parts* of the overall community
    becoming literate -- but how many within a community need to become
    literate in the language before you start saying the language is
    written? 1? 100? 1000? And what about how much those people read/write
    and for what purposes?

    In short, there is no definitive answer to this question.

    > How many languages are endangered?

    A very large number. See for
    some answers to your questions.

    Peter Constable

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