Written Form

Benjamin Barrett bjb5 at U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Tue Dec 2 07:07:37 UTC 2003

As we saw with Kusunda, the Ethnologue is not perfect, but they offer such

At http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=GLS, they say

>Literacy rate in first language: 50% (1971 census)

I think this is intended to refer to the Scots Gaelic literacy, but the
wording does not seem clear to me...

Benjamin Barrett

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Endangered Languages List
>Behalf Of Alasdair Macleod

>One claim I occasionally hear tossed at Scottish Gaelic is
>that Gaelic's high level of illiteracy (50$ of the 60,000
>Gaelic speakers are unable to read and write proficiently in
>the language) makes it highly unusual, as well as primitive
>and unsustainable.
>I normally retort by stating that 'actually, over 80% of the
>world's languages do not exist in a written form' - but I must
>hold my hands up and admit that this statistic is completely
>made up (my only defence is that it sounds about right). Does
>anyone have a figure for this based on any sort of
>reliable/empirical evidence?
>Alasdair MacLeod

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