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News Picks : Booming economy threatens language diversity

By: Physics Today
03 September 2014

BBC: Many of the world’s languages are disappearing, particularly in regions with high economic growth, according to a recent paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Environmental factors have long played a role in shaping language diversity. However, now it seems that because of accelerating economic development in certain parts of the world, minority languages are giving way and a single, national language is taking over. Tatsuya Amano of the University of Cambridge and colleagues say most at risk are minority languages in North America, Europe, and Australia. The tropics and the Himalayas, home to many small-population languages, may also face similar problems as rapid economic growth commences in those areas. The researchers hope to call attention to the phenomenon in order to better promote and direct efforts to prevent this cultural loss.


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