Alex sends this:
According to research quoted by the Economist, the number of speakers of a language correlates best with its lack of complecity.
The researchers are Gary Lupyan of the University of Pennsylvania and Rick Dale of the University of Memphis. The research is described in the Public Library of Science.
The number of speakers of each language correlated best with morphological complexity, better than the area the language is spread over or the number of neighbours. This makes sense because a language with a large population of speakers has probably already been learned by many non-natives in the past. A language with many neighbours today would be, by this rationale, more likely to become simpler in the future, if the language spreads. Of course, languages in families share certain features, but Dr Lupyan and Dr Dale found that their results were significant even when language family and region were factored out.
Andrew notes the link between cultural and linguistic diversity reported in resurgence and SEED – which may be reinforced by this research?