Terralingua’s Index of Linguistic Diversity on National Geographic News Watch


David Braun of National Geographic News Watch interviewed Luisa Maffi,David Harmon, and Jonathan Loh about the new Index of Linguistic Diversity.

“For the past several years, we had been hearing anecdotal reports about endangered languages–how we’re losing languages by the day, how we may lose 50-90 percent of languages before the end of the century. But nobody had any reliable quantitative data to corroborate these claims,” says Luisa Maffi, co-founder and director of Terralingua. “But now a new Index of Linguistic Diversity (ILD), the first of its kind, shows quantitatively, for the first time, what’s really happening with the world’s languages.”

Harmon, of the George Wright Society/Terralingua, and Loh, of the Zoological Society of London/Terralingua, are the co-authors of a paper, Index of Linguistic Diversity, published in the journal Language Documentation & Conservation, Volume 4 of 2010. Their work was underwritten by The Christensen Fund, a nonprofit which supports National Geographic News coverage of biocultural diversity issues.

Braun: What is language diversity, and why are we potentially on the brink of a mass extinction of languages?

To read the article visit: http://blogs.nationalgeographic.com/blogs/news/chiefeditor/2011/03/language-diversity-index-tracks-global-loss-of-mother-tongues.html

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