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zompist bboard • View topic - Population numbers for languages

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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 9:19 am 
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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 10:47 pm 
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I think I got what you want:
I found that the strictly cantonese portion of the yue dialect is mostly confined to guangzhou, hong kong, and macau (prestige dialect). looking at the demographic sections for those cities on wikipedia, half of guangzhou, 94.6% of hong kong, and 85.7% of macau speak cantonese. the guangzhou statistic is sourced to a chinese newspaper while the rest are census reports.
doing the math, the total number of cantonese speakers amounts to about 14,317,492 people. unfortunately lack of other info prevents me from getting separate L1 and L2 data.
note that this was very haphazard, so do take this with a grain of salt :)


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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 11:09 pm 
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The Cantonese spoken in Hong Kong is not identical to the prestigious standard spoken in Guangzhou. However, the Yuehai dialects including Guangzhou dialect are apparently mutually intelligible. says there are about 80 million speakers of all the Yuehai dialects combined, including Guangzhou dialect.


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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2018 4:18 am 
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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2018 4:22 am 
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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2018 4:34 am 
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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2018 2:56 pm 
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All right, thank you so much. Now I know at least that it probably has nowhere as many speakers as I first thought.

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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2018 4:05 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 3:37 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 10:39 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2018 10:13 am 
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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2018 11:07 am 
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Greek speakers don't understand 'most' of Ancient Greek. There are certain things which are denoted with archaic words, por ejemplo, 'bakery' is αρτοποιείο from άρτον instead of ψωμί, wine labels use λευκός οίνος instead of άσπρο κρασί, similarly ζύθος for beer, shoe shops use υποδήματα instead of παπούτσια to refer to 'shoes', also in speeches some politicians say Ελλάς instead of Ελλάδα.

As for katharevoussa there's a newspaper called Estia which is still published in it and the Greek church also uses it, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople's website is in katharevoussa, also, there are varying degrees of ancientness but I don't really know much about it, katharevoussa is quite an interesting thing. I once bought a history magazine and it was full of quotations from historical figures who wrote their dictionary and stuff like that in katharevoussa, it's very confusing and it's what prompted me to get somewhat acquainted with Ancient Greek too.

Also, the number of Pontic Greek speakers seems highly inflated, but that's just a personal feeling, I don't have sources to quote on its actual usage.


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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2018 2:34 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2018 10:00 am 
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 5:42 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 3:06 pm 
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I ran into a similar issue a few years back when looking at population numbers for (Central) Okinawan. The Ethnologue gave a figure of 980,000 speakers in 2000, which doesn't make sense given that the total population was roughly 1 million around that time and it's well-known that the islanders primarily only speak Japanese today.

What I did was look for documents (linguistic or other) or other media that made age-based claims or gave personal anecdotes. For example, "Nowadays the language is only spoken by those over the age of X". Or, another example: a video showing a 60-year old woman relearning the language because she never had the chance growing up due to language policies that forbade her. Something like that can give you a rough guess of what age bracket the L1 speakers fall in, where the cutoff is, and in what age bracket you can guesstimate the L2 speakers.

The end result was this: https://www.jlect.com/downloads/Number- ... eakers.pdf

The document got picked up by the Endangered Language Project: http://www.endangeredlanguages.com/lang/5354

The numbers aren't perfect (they may still be too high), but it's much more representative of the reality than what Ethnologue reports.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:35 pm 
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That's really interesting. Unfortunately I haven't really been able to find any clues at all. Anyway, I think the Chinese languages all have less than 50 m speakers which was one cut-off point I had decided for this project. Ancient Greek I haven't been able to find any kind of estimates for though.

I had one guest lecture by a guy who has been studying the Ryukyuan languages. I think it sounds incredible that there are even any speakers left, especially of the non-Okinawan languages. :/

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:27 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:48 am 
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