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date: 22 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Numerous studies have confirmed that there is a striking congruence between the global distributions of species diversity and language diversity. In both, richness and diversity generally increase at latitudes closer to the Equator. A variety of explanations has been offered; fundamentally, it appears that similar evolutionary processes, working on key biogeographic and environmental factors, are the cause. Advances in statistical analysis promise a deeper understanding of the overlap. The status of and trends in species and language diversity also show remarkable similarities when two leading indicators, the Living Planet Index and the Index of Linguistic Diversity, are compared at a global scale. Likewise, an analysis using IUCN Red List criteria reveals comparable levels of threat. At regional scales, however, differences emerge between trends. An integrated, biocultural approach to conservation is proposed as the most effective response to the parallel extinction crisis of species and languages.

Keywords: species, languages, diversity, indicators, biocultural diversity, Index of Linguistic Diversity

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