Language death and diversity: philosophical and linguistic implications

The Science of Mind 52:243-260 (2014)
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This paper presents a simple model to estimate the number of languages that existed throughout history, and considers philosophical and linguistic implications of the findings. The estimated number is 150,000 plus or minus 50,000. Because only few of those remain, and there is no reason to believe that that remainder is a statistically representative sample, we should be very cautious about universalistic claims based on existing linguistic variation.
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Archival date: 2014-10-16
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