Feeds

How languages can live together without killing each other

Why Castilian didn't smother Galician

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Those of you who are concerned that linguistic globalisation will eventually steamroller local tongues into extinction should take heart from a study by a team from the Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, which has mathematically proved that two languages can live together in peace and harmony.

Jorge Mira Pérez and colleagues considered the co-existence of Castilian and Galician in Spain's northwestern province of Galicia. The former, commonly referred to as "Spanish", is of course a language of international importance, while the latter is spoken by around three million people, mainly in its native territory.

Traditional analysis of "competing" languages points to the eventual extinction of one, as was pretty much the case with Scottish Gaelic and English, Welsh and English, and Quechua and Spanish, as the researchers note.

This hasn't happened with Castilian and Galician, but there's a specific set of reasons for this. According to the researchers, the continued survival of both can happen "only where there is a stable bilingual group, and this is possible only if the competing languages are sufficiently similar".

The team has applied some hefty maths to prove their point. The full-fat workings of The importance of interlinguistic similarity and stable bilingualism when two languages compete can be found down at the New Journal of Physics, but the upshot of the matter is that since Castilian and Galician share a similar "status" among the population and both are closely related, or "similar", Romance tongues, there's every reason to believe they will continue to live side-by-side.*

Pérez explained: “If the statuses of both languages were well balanced, a similarity of around 40 per cent might be enough for the two languages to coexist.

"If they were not balanced, a higher degree of similarity (above 75 per cent, depending on the values of status) would be necessary for the weaker tongue to persist.”

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.