Languages

 

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The way different languages express ideas fascinates me. I love sitting anywhere within hearing range of several languages—most big cities offer this possibility. Of course the only language I have any mastery of is English. I basically fumble around elaborately in Spanish and French, and have a vocabulary of about twelve words in German (thanks primarily to Wenders’ film Wings of Desire) and perhaps six words in Swedish (from watching the Swedish Wallander series with Krister Henriksson). So my curiosity and thirst here are orders of magnitude greater than my knowledge.

Interesting bits about language, with sources:

World Population: 7,106,865,254   Living Languages: 7,102
Institutional: 578, Developing: 1,598, Vigorous: 2,479, In Trouble: 1,531, Dying: 916 
https://www.ethnologue.com/world
Local and indigenous communities have elaborated complex classification systems for the natural world…and can be lost when a community shifts to another language.” http://www.unesco.org/new/en/culture/themes/endangered-languages/biodiversity-and-linguistic-diversity/#

A map of endangered languages

The disappearance of a language makes me think of Rutger Hauer’s last lines in Blade Runner, when he describes the exceptional moments he’s known, which will  all disappear with him when he dies. There is so much information in each of us, in each place, and in each language or dialect that evolves in a specific place. http://www.endangeredlanguages.com/#/4/31.047/78.815/0/100000/0/low/mid/high/unknown

 

Variations on the name for one language: Tachelhit (Shilha, Soussiya, Southern Shilha, Susiya, Tachilhit, Tashelheyt, Tashelhit, Tashilheet, Tashlhiyt, Tasoussit) belongs to the Northern Berber group of the Afro-Asiatic language family.” http://aboutworldlanguages.com/tachelhit

 

If you randomly select two people in Cameroon…there is a 97 percent likelihood that they will have different mother tongues. In the United States, there is only a 33 percent likelihood that this is going to happen.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/04/23/the-worlds-languages-in-7-maps-and-charts/ Apparently this number is derived from Greenberg’s Diveristy Index https://www.ethnologue.com/statistics/country


 

 

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