Wednesday, July 20, 2005

How do you count oatmeal?

Originally compiled as a resource for missionaries, Ethnologue currently counts 6912 languages in the world.

New York Times:
"We tend to see languages as basically marbles, and we're trying to get all the marbles in our bag and count how many marbles we have," said M. Paul Lewis, a linguist who manages the Ethnologue database ( and will edit the 16th edition. "Language is a lot more like oatmeal, where there are some clearly defined units but it's very fuzzy around the edges."

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