Monday, 20 November, 2023 - 14:00

The rise and fall of ethnolinguistic diversity: Why there are so many languages in the world and why they are disappearing where they are most numerous

There are about 7,000 languages spoken around the world today that are geographically are unevenly distributed. Ethnolinguistic diversity peaks in the tropics and declines with increasing latitude. Language diversity distribution, while not corresponding to human genetic diversity, are curiously similar to those of various groups of animal and plant species. At the same time, many languages are under unprecedented threat of extinction today, particularly small languages in the tropics. A sizeable proportion of global language diversity could go extinct until the end of this century. This talk will describe the environmental and socio-cultural processes beyond the origins of present-day ethnolinguistic diversity during the Holocene, as well as those responsible for the steep decline of language skills and language extinctions today, particularly in the two largest linguistic hotspots the world – New Guinean and Central African.


*** The talk will be delivered in person (MFF UK, Malostranské nám. 25, 4th floor, room S1) and will be streamed via Zoom. For details how to join the Zoom meeting, please write to sevcikova et ***