Only 600 Languages Spoken in 2115
The culprit of this 'mass extinction' is globalisation. Lesser known #cultures and languages will struggle to survive but ultimately more 'powerful' languages like #English or #Chinese will dominate them through #colonisation, says McWhorter bluntly.
However, a #science fiction scenario where there is only one language being spoken, akin to the Tower of Babel story is impossible. According to McWhorter, "a language isn't just a set of words and rules, it is part of a culture, learned from a very young age; a vehicle of the most intimate feelings. It's difficult to imagine foreign parents start speaking in English with their children, or reading in English to them. The only way for this to happen would be if a critical mass of people had to move away from their homeland; this could only mean that a #catastrophe had happened."
As a #translator who appreciates foreign cultures and languages, I sincerely hope John McWhorter is wrong. The #world would definitely be a poorer place if 90% of today's languages and cultures disappeared...