Language Evolution: Past, Present, Future

Language is a form of communication that is unique to each region and culture of the world. As we are in the midst of globalization and expansion, we often encounter various languages in one sphere. However, this was not always the case. This blog will explore languages that have gone extinct and the what the future holds in terms of linguistic evolution.

What Does This Look Like?

According to the Linguist List, there are approximately 573 languages that have gone extinct. These languages are categorized by subgroups and families and originate from various regions (e.g. Indo-European, Australian, Afro-asiatic etc.). Early forms of linguistic speech have evolved, in accordance to multiple factors, into the languages we know today. Bilingua, a language exchange app, explains why languages go extinct. The most common factor is attributed to social and economic shifts. Different languages may exist in the same region and communities shift to using one language over the other. Moreover, Bilingua lists the top six dead languages that are most influential; namely: Latin, Coptic, Biblical Hebrew, Sumerian, Akkadian, and Sanskrit. For example, the Latin language had a monumental impact on geographical areas across Europe and the Mediterranean coast of Africa. The language slowly died out due to the overtake of the Roman Empire; however, Latin has influenced subsequent languages including: French, Spanish, and Italian.

Moreover, as we go through periods of demographical and culture change, it is safe to assume that many languages used today: English, Mandarin, Arabic etc. may go extinct, and or, evolve into new branches of languages. It is difficult to predict when this prominent evolutionary phase will occur, but linguistic evolution is inevitable.

Wrapping it Up  

It is important to study the evolution of linguistics, including extinct languages in order to learn about the influential impact on languages that are practiced today and to better understand and predict the future of languages.

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