The current issue of Natural History (Jan. 2001) has the article "Homo
Grammaticus" by Martin A. Nowak: his credentials as a scientist may be
inspected here (he is not a linguist): http://www.admin.ias.edu/ptb/martin/nowak.html
The article itself might show up in a few days at the
wwww.naturalhistory.com web site (they only have November up).
He says, on p. 42: "The roughly 6,000 languages on Earth have a total
of about 1,000 phonemes".
Ahem. 1,000 phonemes? What is Nowak really trying to say? Is he using
the word 'phoneme' to include every last possible sound cluster?
This particular issue of Natural History is its centennial issue, and
also marks Steven Jay Gould's valedictory as a regular columnist.