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The future of languages

Posted by fracardi on April 6, 2007

Given the current pace of globalisation, emigration, mixed-languages couples and tele-learning, the number of spoken languages is drastically falling, but, on the other hand, the number of people who are fluent in more than one language is steadily increasing.

It is obvious (and sad, I know) than in 1000 years very few of the indigenous Brasilian languages will be lost (today still 200 are surviving, out of the 5000 estimate in the pre-colombian age).

It is also obvious that major languages as English, German, French, Mandarin, Japanese will continue to thrive. But what about the languages currently spoken by few hundred-thousands or even few millions people (as Danish or Catalan)?

3 Responses to “The future of languages”

  1. Jebreel Al Mikhofskee said

    Let them die!
    Why stop the course of nature?
    New ones will arise. Have you ever heard of Spanglish?

  2. Francesco Cardi said

    Jebreel,

    I appreciate your directness and conciseness, but your point of view seems a little bit too simplistic. The point is not just whether the Catalan will die or not, the point is how the Catalan will evolve as a spoken language, how much will mix with Spanish, how many millions people in, let’s say, 2 or 3 generations, will speak Catalan as a first language.

    For sure Spanglish is a reference, but this is something related to immigrants, it doesn’t apply to well established populations as the Catalans.

  3. Mark said

    Francesco is surely right? How do we know what we are losing of intellectual value every time a small language dies?

    This might be treasure we don’t yet understand, slipping away in front of our eyes!

    .

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