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p. 756. The genotypes of languageslocked

  • Stephen R. Anderson


‘The genotypes of languages ’ considers whether the science of linguistics can provide a better basis for measuring the number of different languages spoken in the world. Instead of counting languages in terms of their external forms, we could instead count the range of distinct grammars. This may or may not turn out to correspond to the ordinary understanding of what we mean when we say we are dealing with different languages, but at least it would have the virtue of describing an objective linguistic reality rather than a subjective matter of social or political opinion. This approach would give a number of languages far greater than Ethnologue's 6,909.

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