In a previous post I wrote about the parallels between the loss of languages and the loss of biodiversity. I was interested in the external forces that drove both biodiversity and languages to the margins, often resulting in extinction. A recent article discusses the findings of a new report which establishes a direct link between the loss of biodiversity and loss of languages. The authors of the report claim that “the steep declines in both languages and nature mirror each other”, and “linguistic diversity is declining as fast as biodiversity – about 30% since 1970.”
What are the parallels between the loss of languages and the loss of biodiversity?
In We Haven’t Spoken For All Languages, Claire Bowern discusses the loss of languages around the world and the efforts to catalogue and ‘save’ these dying languages. The loss of languages is a concern as languages are the repository of so much more than just words, grammar and speech. As Bowern eloquently explains: