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Hum Biol. 2009 Apr;81(2-3):181-210. doi: 10.3378/027.081.0305.

Demography and language competition.

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AHRC Centre for the Evolution of Cultural Diversity, Institute of Archaeology, University College London, London, United Kingdom.


Attempts to describe language competition and extinction in a mathematical way have enjoyed increased popularity recently. In this paper I review recent modeling approaches and, based on these findings, propose a model of reaction-diffusion type. I analyze the dynamics of interactions of a population with two monolingual groups and a group that is bilingual in these two languages. The results show that demographic factors, such as population growth or population dispersal, play an important role in the competition dynamic. Furthermore, I consider the impact of two strategies for language maintenance: adjusting the status of the endangered language and adjusting the availability of monolingual and bilingual educational resources.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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