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Abrams, D. M. and Strogatz, S. H. (2003) Modelling the dynamics of language death. Nature, 424:900.

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   URL: http://tam.cornell.edu/Strogatz%20language_death.pdf

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   Authoritative: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/424900a   (Publisher's PDF... likely be available here.)
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Introduction

Thousands of the world's languages are vanishing at an alarming rate, with 90% of them being expected to disappear with the current generation1. Here we develop a simple model of language competition that explains historical data on the decline of Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Quechua (the most common surviving indigenous language in the Americas) and other endangered languages. A linguistic parameter that quantifies the threat of language extinction can be derived from the model and may be useful in the design and evaluation of language-preservation programmes.
BibTex
@article{abrams03languageDeath,
  author={Daniel M. Abrams and Steven H. Strogatz},
  title={Modelling the dynamics of language death},
  journal={Nature},
  year={2003},
  month={August},
  volume={424},
  pages={900},
  doi={10.1038/424900a},
  url={http://groups.lis.illinois.edu/amag/langev/paper/abrams03languageDeath.html}
}