A branch of linguistics which links ecology with the study of language. Ecolinguistics studies language from the point of view of diversity and interaction. Its topics are, among others, the interaction between languages in a given area (language endangerment, language death and language maintenance), the interaction between languages in the human mind (multilingualism, code-switching, interference), and the interaction between language and society. The interaction approach to language was pioneered by Einar Haugen, an American linguist (1906 – 1994), who in 1972 compared the interaction between languages to the interaction between the different species in a given environment. Another pioneer of ecolinguistics is Michael Halliday (born 1925), who addressed the role of language in environmental degradation and in the attempts to prevent or redress it. The scope of ecolinguistics has recently been extended to embrace questions concerning the economic side of language diversity in a country (costs and benefits, job creation, economic situation of minorities).
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