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Subject: Future of writing systems
Question: There can be found some graphs and tables estimating the numbers
of speakers of the main languages in the following decades. However,
I did not manage to find any such estimate for the numbers of users
of the main writing systems. Are you aware of any source concerning
this?

Thank you very much in advance.

Reply: Hi, D.,

You will find a good base of information at the following URL:

<a href='http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_writing_systems_by_adoption' target='_blank'>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_writing_systems_by_adoption</a>;

Using the associated maps at this site, you can get a pretty good
idea of the coverage, and maybe make some estimates for scripts
not covered there. Likewise, for the Latin scripts, which seem to
be the most extensively used worldwide, you can make some pretty
good estimates by taking the (unlisted, but available as a 'drop-
down' at the site) languages listed as examples of the Latin
scripts, and supplementing that figure with other languages that
use such scripts shown in the maps. (Also, for, e. g., Latin
America, you can just use the population figures for South
America and Central America [alternative: combine Spanish,
Portuguese and English as a rough estimate for the Americas;
etc.].) Due to very widespread bilingualism (often involving more
than one writing system type), the totals for the different
system types may be more than the world population. Note also
that the famous example of Japanese combines alphabetic (Latin),
syllabic (2 types), logographic (kanji) and numeric (neutral or
none of the above) in a society of over 100 million speakers who
are about 100% literate.

I hope this helps you come up with, maybe, even better figures
than this quite good article has.

Jim

James L. Fidelholtz
Graduate Program in Language Sciences
Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades
Benem'erita Universidad Aut'onoma de Puebla, M'EXICO

Reply From: James L Fidelholtz      click here to access email
 
Date: 29-Nov-2012
 
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Future of writing systems    Elizabeth J Pyatt     (03-Dec-2012)
  2. Re: Future of writing systems    Anthea Fraser Gupta     (02-Dec-2012)

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