Causes of Language Endangerment 2019 Conference (FEL XXIII 2019)

Country: Australia

City: Sydney

Abstr. due: 01.07.2019

Dates: 14.12.19 — 16.12.19

Area Of Sciences: Humanities;

Organizing comittee e-mail:

Organizers: The Sydney Centre for Language Research at The University of Sydney


The Sydney Centre for Language Research at The University of Sydney and the Foundation for Endangered Languages, in this United Nations Year of Indigenous Languages, cordially invite scholars, community organizations and community members working on issues and challenges facing endangered languages, including documentation and archiving, to join the International conference on causes of language endangerment, to take place in Sydney, Australia on 14-16th December 2019.

This event is FEL XXIII, the 23rd of a series of annual conferences of the Foundation of Endangered Languages, and takes place during the UN’s International Year of Indigenous Languages.

The conference language is English. Printed proceedings will be published.

Main theme: Causes of language endangerment

In the UN’s International Year of Indigenous Languages we face ongoing and rapid decline not only of Indigenous languages but of the world’s linguistic diversity. Why do languages become endangered? And what solutions might help arrest this decline? These are questions we seek to answer in this year’s conference. Many causes of language endangerment have been identified – ranging from speaker choices, to colonial interventions and invasions – that have forced communities to abandon or radically modify their languages. However, studies of language endangerment have not been brought together in a global discussion to look for commonalities and differences in the experiences and circumstances of endangerment.

While Indigenous languages in particular are in rapid decline, there are also many contact languages, pidgins and creoles, and varieties of dominant world languages that are also endangered. Sources such as Ethnologue aim to provide an index of the ‘vitality’ of each of the world’s languages, noting that while not all languages are endangered and that many have ‘oral and literary traditions and are being used for a wide variety of functions ... other communities, which have not achieved that status for their languages, are nevertheless taking steps to preserve the vitality of their languages by finding new ways of using them.’ We ask at this conference not only what is causing language endangerment but also what are successful solutions to the global decline in linguistic diversity.

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