Feeds

How languages can live together without killing each other

Why Castilian didn't smother Galician

Boost IT visibility and business value

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.”

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!
Spanish launch goes titsup, we're off to the US of A
BAT-GOBBLING urban SPIDER QUEENS swell to ENORMOUS SIZE
But they'd lose a deathmatch against the coming Humvee-sized, armoured Arctic ones
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
TRANSMUTATION claims US LENR company
Ten points of stuff out of a five pound bag
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?