Endangered Languages in the 21st Century  book cover
1st Edition

Endangered Languages in the 21st Century

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after March 6, 2023
ISBN 9781032196749
March 6, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
328 Pages 39 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Endangered Languages in the 21st Century provides research on endangered languages in the contemporary world, the challenges still to be faced, the work still to be done, and the methods and practices that have come to characterize efforts to revive and maintain disadvantaged indigenous languages around the world.

With contributions from scholars across the field, the book brings fresh data and insights to this imperative, but still relatively young, field of linguistics. While the studies acknowledge the threat of losing languages in an unprecedented way, they focus on cases that show resilience and explore paths to sustainable progress. The articles are also intended as a celebration of the twenty-five years’ work of the Foundation for Endangered Languages, and as a parting gift to FEL’s founder and quarter-century chair, Nick Ostler.

This book will be informative for researchers, instructors, and specialists in the field of endangered languages. The book can also be useful for university graduate or undergraduate students, and language activists.

Table of Contents

List of contributors

1. Foreword and Introduction by David Crystal

Section I: General state of endangered languages today in some large regions of the world: some good news

2. Michael Walsh: The rise and rise of Australian languages

3. Sebastian Drude, Joshua Birchall, Ana Vilacy Galúcio Moreira, Denny Moore, Hein van der Voort: Endangered languages in Brazil in 2021

4. Hakim Elnazarov: Endangered languages of Central Asia: Challenges and prospects for development in the new millennium

5. Salem Mezhoud: They kill languages, don’t they? - a short chronicle of planned language death in North Africa

6. Mary Jane Norris & Robert Adcock: First- and second-language speakers in the home: an Indigenous Canadian perspective

Section II: Theoretical approaches - supporting language maintenance

7. M. Paul Lewis: Sustaining language use: Bridging the gap between language communities and linguists

8. David Bradley: Language endangerment: what it is, how to measure it and how to act

9. Tjeerd de Graaf: The use of historical material for the safeguarding of endangered languages

10. Riitta Valijärvi & Lily Kahn: The role of new media in endangered language communities

11. Eda Derhemi: Examining change in endangered languages with some reference to Arbëresh and Arvanitika

12. Christopher Moseley: Transnational languages in the Atlas of Endangered languages

13. Simon Musgrave & Nick Thieberger: Hypothetically speaking: Ethic in linguistic fieldwork, a provocation

Section III: Empirical studies: towards sustainable language maintenance and use

14. Rob Amery: Sustainable pathways for a fledgling language movement: the case of Kaurna of the Adelaide Plains, South Australia

15. Bernard Spolsky: The fate of Jewish languages competing with revitalised Hebrew

16. Peter Austin: Making 2,180 pages more useful: the Diyari dictionary of Rev. J. G. Reuther

17. David Nash: An unusual kind of loanshift: loan homonyms in some Australian endangered languages

18. Maya David: Sindhi Hindhus – a diasporic community: determining reasons for language shift and aligning it with revitalisation strategies

19. Marleen Haboud & Fernando Ortega: The Waotedodo language and the effects of intense contact


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Eda Derhemi is a professor of Italian and linguistics at the University of Illinois at U-C. She has a PhD from this university, defended in 2003, on the topic of endangered Arbëresh in Italy. For over 20 years, she has conducted research and published on linguistic endangerment with primary focus on Arbëresh and Arvanitika.

Christopher Moseley is Teaching Fellow in Estonian Language at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College, London. He is the co-editor of the Routledge Atlas of the World’s Languages (with R.E.Asher, 3rd edition forthcoming) and has been the editor of the UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger of Disappearing.