What protects minority languages from extinction? (Vol. 51, No. 4)

Greetings in some of the world’s 6,000+ languages.
(CC BY-SA 2.0, by Flickr user quinn.anya).

Mathematical modelling of competing languages in a geographical area suggests two scenarios in which one or more minority languages will be more likely to survive.

Over 6,000 languages are currently spoken worldwide, but a substantial minority - well over 5% - are in danger of dying out. It is perhaps surprising that this fraction is no higher, as most models have so far predicted that a minority language will be doomed to extinction once contacts with speakers of the majority language reach a certain level. This work describes, using mathematical modelling, two mechanisms through which this doomsday scenario does not occur, i.e. several languages come to coexist in the same area.

J-M Luck and A Mehta, On the coexistence of competing languages, Eur. Phys. J. B 93, 73 (2020)