General Question

moondog's avatar

How many of the world's languages have been linguistically documented?

Asked by moondog (38points) November 13th, 2006
Current estimates put the number of living or recently extinct languages at around 7,000. My question is, how many of these languages have had some linguistic analysis or documentation made of them.
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3 Answers

occ's avatar
a great question. I have read that over 1,000 of those languages are from New Guinea alone (the hotspot for linguistic diversity). I don't know how many have been linguistically analyzed, though. I recall a NYTimes article from earlier this year about trying to document dying languages before they go extinct.
occ's avatar
the Ethnologue is the compendium of all the world's languages, originally compiled by Christian missionaries, documenting about 6,900 distinct languages (400 of which on the verge of extinction)...there's an aritcle about it here
moondog's avatar
The question is in fact, not how many langauges exist in the world. There are plenty of resources to find that answer. The question is how many of those languages have been described linguistically, at least partially. Not just counted, but someone has written something about them e.g. described their sytax, sketched their sound system, or recorded a few traditional stories...merci.

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