Thu
5Jan
UTC
6:00pm
Online

Why do languages die?

Dr Diane Nelson

It's thought there are more than 7,000 languages spoken across the world. Although this number seems vast, every month one of the world's languages disappears forever. How and why so many languages are dying?

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It's thought there are more than 7,000 languages spoken across the world. Although this number seems vast, every month one of the world's languages disappears forever. How and why so many languages are dying?

Experts predict that about 50% of the world's languages will become extinct in the next 100 years as speakers switch to global languages like English, French and Spanish. Most endangered languages are spoken by ethnic minorities and Indigenous people. 

Research has shown that language loss doesn't just have an impact on culture but is also linked to a loss of biodiversity, as we learn how nature, culture and language are intertwined.

Today, the top ten languages in the world claim around half of the world’s population. Can language diversity be preserved, or are we on a path to becoming a monolingual species?

In this talk Dr Diane Nelson, leading linguistics researcher, will unlock the secrets behind why some languages die out and what needs to happen to preserve them.

Talk outline

Duration

50 minutes

What to expect

30 minute talk

20 minute Member Q&A

Dr Diane Nelson

Dr Diane Nelson is a linguist at the University of Leeds. Originally from Boston, she studied at Columbia University and then the University of Edinburgh. She discovered linguistics when she read the foreword of her parents’ dictionary at the age of 12.

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