On counting languages, diversity-wise
The article deals with the problem of counting languages with an eye to assessing the loss of language diversity. It opposes internal and external definitions of language. The article rejects current literature which rests on sociological definitions of language, based upon the conventional wisdom of the speakers and the use of languages in order to flag identities, and pleads for the necessity to embrace an internal definition based upon intelligibility and structual differences. In so doing, it harks back to a time-honored quest for a prely structural definition of language (vs. dialect). In such a view, neither the speakers’ attitudes to their or other languages nor recognition on the part of official bodies backing or play no role, while the task of defining language is therefore handed back squarely from social studies and social-oriented analyses of language to linguistics.
EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Mauro Tosco, "On counting languages, diversity-wise", in: "Cultural and Linguistic Transition explored. Proceedings of the ATrA closing workshop Trieste, May 25-26, 2016", Ilaria Micheli (ed.), Trieste, EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2017, pp. 234-245