Unesco estimates that half of the world’s 6,000 languages will have disappeared by the end of the century – but new research shows that social media and text messaging in particular are promoting and supporting language diversity.
Texting is now conducted by speakers of around 5,000 languages.
“Text messaging is the most linguistically diverse form of written communication that has ever existed,” says Munroe.
“It’s also become the first form of written communication of many of the world’s languages,” he says.
“Most have only ever been spoken. But the technology and economics of text messages and the proliferation of cells phones means it’s the most economic option of communication.”
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