Policy for Biocultural Diversity: Where Are We Now?


Article: Policy Matters, Issue 17. Policy for Biocultural Diversity: Where are we now? by Luisa Maffi. A brief history of the work that has been done to implement BCD into policy over the past 15 years. “It is arguably critical for advocates of biocultural diversity to continue to rise to the challenge and strive for concrete steps forward at the international and national levels that can, in turn, support and be influenced by local initiatives for biocultural diversity conservation.”

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How many speakers do various languages have?

The top 20 oral languages by population (i.e., those with the most native speakers), according to the Ethnologue,were, in November 2000, as follows (numbers in millions):

Mandarin Chinese (885) Spanish (332) English (322) Bengali (189) Hindi (182) Portuguese (170) Russian (170) Japanese (125) German (98) Chinese, Wu (77.2) Javanese (75.5) Korean (75) French (72) Vietnamese (67.7) Telugu (66.4) Chinese, Yue (66) Marathi (64.8) Tamil (63.1) Turkish (59) Urdu (58)

The list changes, so check (www.sil.org/ethnologue/top100.html) for a more recent list.

According to Erik Gunnemark (Countries, Peoples and their Languages. The Geolinguistic Handbook,1991), the following 208 languages had more than 1 million native users a decade ago:

Achinese, Afrikaans, Akan, Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Assamese, Aymara, Azerbaijani, Bai, Balinese, Baluchi, Bambara, Bashkir, Batak, Bemba, Bengali, Berber, Bete, Beti, Bhili, Bhojpuri, Bikol, Buginese, Bulgarian, Burmese, Buyi, Byelorussian, Catalan, Cebuano, Chinese, Chokwe, Chuvash, Congo, Czech, Danish, Dinka, Dong, Dutch, Edo-Bini, Efil-Ibibio, English, Estonian, Ewe, Finnish, Fon, French, Ful, Galician, Ganda, Garhwali, Georgian, German, Gisu, Gondi, Greek, GuaranĂ­, Gujarati, Gurma, Hadiyya, Haitian, Hani, Hausa, Haya, Hebrew, Hehe, Hiligaynon, Hindi, Ho, Hungarian, Igbo, Ijo, Iloko, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Javanese, Kamba, Kannada, Kanuri, Karen, Kashmiri, Kazakh, Khmer, Kirghiz, Kisii,

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