Linguistic DiversitySee also: List of languages and List of languages by number of speakers
A "living language" is simply one which is in wide use as a primary form of communication by a specific group of living people. The exact number of known living languages varies from 6,000 to 7,000, depending on the precision of one's definition of "language", and in particular on how one defines the distinction between languages and dialects. As of 2009, SIL Ethnologue catalogued 6909 living human languages. The Ethnologue establishes linguistic groups based on studies of mutual intelligibility, and therefore often include more categories than more conservative classifications. For example the Danish language that most scholars consider a single language with several dialects, is classified as three distinct languages by the Ethnologue.
The Ethnologue is also sometimes criticized for using cumulative data gathered over many decades, meaning that exact speaker numbers are frequently out of date, and some languages classified as living may have already become extinct. According to the Ethnologue 389 (or nearly 6%) languages have more than a million speakers. These languages together account for 94% of the world’s population, whereas 94% of the world's languages account for the remaining 6% of the global population. To the right is a table of the world's 10 most spoken languages with population estimates from the Ethnologue (2009 figures).
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Famous quotes containing the words diversity and/or linguistic:
“What we have to do ... is to find a way to celebrate our diversity and debate our differences without fracturing our communities.”
—Hillary Rodham Clinton (b. 1947)
“It is merely a linguistic peculiarity, not a logical fact, that we say that is red instead of that reddens, either in the sense of growing, becoming, red, or in the sense of making something else red.”
—John Dewey (18591952)