Language Catalogue Workshop
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
June 28, 2007, Leipzig, Germany
Some general problems of
language geography
Ljuba Veselinova
Dept of Linguistics, Stockholm University
[email protected]
Outline of the presentation
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
Language composition of modern cities
Mapping the distribution of non-sedentary
peoples and their languages
Outline of the problem

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The language distribution in urban areas tends
to be absent in traditional language atlases
Yet

46% of the world population lives in urban areas

Urban areas tend to be multi-lingual
(Demographia, www.demographia.com/db-worldua.pdf)
 1203 urban areas with more than 500,000 inhabitants in 164
countries and territories
Ignoring the linguistic composition of urban
areas gives us a skewed picture of the language
distribution around the world
Mapping languages in cities is
contingent on

various kinds of census where the quality
would differ depending on


The questions asked by the census volonteers
The kind of information that is made public
Main Groups of Questions asked by
the Canadian census

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First language learned in childhood
Language(s) understood and spoken at home
Language(s) used with friends
Language(s) used until age of 15

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With parents
With siblings
Knowledge of official and non-official languages of
Canada
Language(s) used at work (added 2001)

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Language most often used at work
Any other language(s) used on a regular basis at the workplace
General info on non-sedentary
languages

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Based on the Ethnologue 15
Nomadic languages

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70 languages from 24 stocks
Total population: 24 590 376 people
Semi-nomadic languages

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42 languages from 23 stocks
Total population: ca 12 775 685 people
Some general facts about
Oromo

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Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic
Ca 10 mln speakers in Ethiopia and Kenya

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70, 869 in Kenya according to the 1969 census
ca 100,000 to 150,000 in Kenya (Stroomer 1995)
Status
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Unclear in Ethiopia
Actively used in Kenya, radio station(s) in Oromo,
other ethnic groups switch to Oromo (Dahl 1979,
Stroomer 1995)
Boraana
Wajir
Garissa
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