Demographic Processes Applied to Languages and Language-Defined Populations

  • Jacob S. Siegel


In an extension of demographic logic, demographic methods and perspectives can be applied to languages as “population” units. In this chapter I make an exploratory examination of this theme. I consider such matters as the relation of demographic elements and events to linguistic elements and events, the count of living languages, the net growth in the number of languages, the birth and death of languages, and the construction of a life table for languages and for the persons who speak a given language. Continuing this general theme, in the following two chapters I discuss the migration of languages (i.e., the spread of languages beyond their principal areas of use), mainly as a result of the geographic movement of peoples who speak the language, and the preparation of estimates and projections of languages and of their speakers. Inasmuch as the data needed to implement some of the analyses suggested are scarce or lacking, it is not possible to carry them out at this time and I limit myself merely to discussing the relevant data and issues.

References and Suggested Readings

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacob S. Siegel
    • 1
  1. 1.North BethesdaUSA

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