Work Papers of the Summer Institute of Linguistics, University of North Dakota Session




There are 6,809 languages spoken in the world today. Conservative estimates are that the world's languages are currently dying at the rate of at least two languages each month, and linguists predict that most of today's languages will die out in the next 100 years. Since 1962, the author has been gathering field data on some of the smallest language groups in the world-the Philippine Negritos. This paper will explain why the thirty-plus Negrito languages in the Philippines are endangered, and what the projected future is for these numerically tiny post-foraging societies in the 21st century. The argument will be supported by a review of the population sizes, interethnic human rights problems, and the environmental destruction of the rainforests of these marginalized peoples.

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