On Burst and Burials of Languages: Linguistic Diversity from Ecological Perspective

Elżbieta Łukasiewicz

Abstract


At present, we can observe a rapid decrease in the number of the world’s languages. The vast majority of them are threatened by extinction, and many have become extinct. In the literature on the subject, that loss of linguistic diversity in the world is compared to the loss of biological diversity; various initiatives have emerged with the aim of preserving endangered languages and recovering extinct ones. Having discussed, first, the phenomenon of linguistic diversity and, second, the causes and scale of language endangerment, the paper aims to view the problem of languages death from a biological perspective. Regrettable as it undoubtedly is, the extinction of many minority languages can be viewed biologically as a process revealing many parallels with the evolution of biological organisms.

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