2500 languages may be gone by the next century. That’s what’s driving an effort sponsored by the government to preserve these languages before it’s too late. The man behind this is David W. Lightfoot, from the National Science Foundation.
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Some experts say there are up to 10,000 different languages left in the world; others put the estimate thousands lower depending on how many are characterized as dialects.
Languages aren’t just words, linguists say, but a people’s way of looking at the world.
Lightfoot gives the example of Guguyimadjir, spoken by people in the Australian state of Queensland. They have no words for “left” or “right” but orient themselves and their world by the points of the compass â€” unlike most of us, who see things in relation to ourselves rather than to the world as a whole.
So to give a goodly number of our readers a frame of reference, it’s as if those folks in Queensland have the level map from Doom up on their personal screen constantly.
Image: kickass babelfish image found at Mustard Magazine’s site.