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How many cultures are there in the world?

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Quick Answer

Because it is not easy to measure cultural identities directly, it is impossible to tell exactly how many cultures there are in the world. However, some people use languages as a slight indicator, and there are 5,000 to 6,000. Some cultures are beginning to dwindle due to globalization spreading different systems and beliefs.

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As there is a lot of overlap between cultures, measuring them is particularly difficult. In addition, the media and travel are creating rapid cultural changes. As the English language becomes more important worldwide, the cultural practices associated with it have an influence. Western culture is found in many areas of the world, and by the same token American culture has become more diverse thanks to immigration. Although it is difficult to measure cultures, there are some clear differences worldwide. For example, Western culture differs significantly to the cultures found in post-Cold War era countries. Further differences are seen in North Africa, Southeast Asia and other areas. Such differences are apparent in terms of religion, cuisine and social etiquette.

How fast languages spread and disappear can act as a slight indicator of culture. As of 2000 there were 5,000 to 6,000 languages spoken worldwide, but only half were spoken by children, which suggests they are dying out. As many find it easier to communicate using other languages, lesser known ones disappear.

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