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Title: The index of linguistic diversity: A new quantitative measure of trends in the status of the world's languages
Authors: Harmon, David
Loh, Jonathan
Keywords: language trends
linguistic diversity
cultural diversity
Issue Date: Sep-2010
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
Citation: Harmon, David and Jonathan Loh. 2010. The index of linguistic diversity: A new quantitative measure of trends in the status of the world's languages. Language Documentation & Conservation 4. 97-151.
Abstract: The Index of Linguistic Diversity (ILD) is a new quantitative measure of trends in linguistic diversity. To derive the ILD we created a database of time-series data on language demographics, which we believe to be the world’s largest. So far, the database contains information from nine editions of Ethnologue and five other compendia of speaker numbers. The initial version of the ILD, which draws solely on the Ethnologue subset of these data, is based on a representative random sample of 1,500 of the world’s 7,299 languages (as listed in the 2005 edition). At the global level, the ILD measures how far, on average, the world’s languages deviate from a hypothetical situation of stability in which each language is neither increasing nor decreasing its share of the total population of the grouping. The ILD can also be used to assess trends at various subglobal groupings. Key findings:
• Globally, linguistic diversity declined 20% over the period 1970–2005.
• The diversity of the world’s indigenous languages declined 21%.
• Regionally, indigenous linguistic diversity declined over 60% in the Americas, 30% in the Pacific (including Australia), and almost 20% in Africa.
Sponsor: National Foreign Language Resource Center
Pages/Duration: 55 pages
ISSN: 1934-5275
Rights: Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike License
Appears in Collections:Volume 04 : Language Documentation & Conservation

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