ENDANGERED-LANGUAGES-L Digest - 1 Dec 2003 to 2 Dec 2003 (#2003-52)

Michal Brody brody at MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU
Wed Dec 3 13:47:53 UTC 2003

Fishman 1999 (Handbook of lg & ethnic identity) claims 25% of world
lgs now have writing. Don't know how he arrived at that number,

Michal Brody

>-----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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