chapter  3
25 Pages

Disruptions in the linguistic ecology

One of the principal differences between an ecological and an earlier mechanistic approach to languages is that the former subscribes to the interdependency between linguistic and numerous other ecological factors. It sees the well-being of individual languages or communication networks as dependent on a range of language-external factors as well as the presence of other languages and thus not as something which can be meaningfully studied in its own right, though it is possible to focus on certain symptoms of language death and decline, as will be been done in Chapter 11. The arguments put forward here have their analogies in studies concerned with the disappearance of natural species. The change of a single link in a ecological network can precipitate very considerable overall changes, the disappearance of one species typically leading to that of a dozen of others.