The linguistic landscape of Asia is extremely complex. Hundreds of languages are spoken, and many Asian countries have several dominant tongues. Writing systems vary enormously, with ideograms, a range of phonetic scripts and mixtures of the two (as is the case with Japanese). Local varieties (dialects) of national languages, creoles, minority languages (many on the verge of extinction) and cross-border languages add to the patchwork quilt effect, and also the potential for social conflict on linguistic grounds. The desire to preserve or win language rights has contributed to wars, as has the imposition of external languages, as strong international and regional languages jostle for position in the composition of societies and (in particular) education systems.