Linguistics Language Revitalization
by
Andrea Wilhelm
  • LAST REVIEWED: 10 May 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 May 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199772810-0091

Introduction

Language revitalization is a fairly recent subfield of linguistics that is concerned with halting and reversing the extinction of languages. Language extinction has increased rapidly in the last one hundred years, and occurs now at a staggering rate. It is estimated that 50 percent to 90 percent of the world’s six thousand to seven thousand languages will no longer be spoken by the end of this century. Linguists encounter more and more speakers and communities who are struggling for the survival their languages. In response to the global crisis and to a grassroots movement, the discipline of linguistics is shifting from treating languages as an object of study to engaging in efforts to save languages. This includes (a) assessing the situation of individual languages, (b) understanding the complex causes of language decline and death, (c) engaging in public and political advocacy, (d) documenting languages, and, most important, (e) working directly with members of communities whose languages are threatened, supporting their efforts to save or revive these languages. Since language revitalization is an emerging field, its theoretical foundations as well as its models of practice are still developing. Many publications are devoted to the fundamental task of increasing the knowledge base by reporting on revitalization projects on specific languages, often in specific communities. Revitalization efforts take a variety of forms; the best known are perhaps the language nests pioneered in New Zealand and Hawaii, various forms of bilingual education (in Europe and elsewhere), and political movements, such as the modern revival of Hebrew or Basque and the language legislation of Quebec, Canada. These examples reveal that language revitalization is not only an applied field, but also a very interdisciplinary one. Mainstream linguistic training is only a partial preparation; knowledge of sociolinguistics, first and second language acquisition, language teaching (and education more generally), and community development are also essential. The theoretical understanding of language endangerment, which is fundamental to successful revitalization, is equally interdisciplinary. The threat to languages often goes hand in hand with threatened communities, cultures, and, particularly in the case of small indigenous languages, natural environments. The theoretical literature of language revitalization draws heavily on sociolinguistics, anthropology, history, sociology, education, and ecology.

General Overviews

A good number of short overviews are now available on the topic of language revitalization, all of them accessible to a nonlinguistic audience. They include Hinton 2011 and Romaine 2007. Romaine 2007 is an overview of current thinking on language revitalization. It discusses the current status of the world’s languages, factors threatening languages, and strategies of language revitalization. Taking an ecological approach, Romaine 2007 argues that the best way to save a language is to protect the community in which the language is spoken. Hinton 2011 is an overview of the practice of language revitalization and includes many examples of diverse revitalization projects. This article will be of most immediate use—and inspiration—to language activists. Also useful is Baker 2011, a chapter in a textbook on bilingualism and aimed primarily at educators and decision makers. It discusses revitalization in terms of intervention, that is, language planning, and surveys sociolinguistic tools and theories used in revitalization efforts. A more technical, comprehensive overview geared primarily at linguists can be found in chapter 11 of Tsunoda 2005. Book-length treatments of language revitalization are the seminal Hinton and Hale 2001 and Grenoble and Whaley 2006. Both give excellent overviews of the field, covering both the theoretical and the practical and containing many examples. To date no textbooks are dedicated to language revitalization. The topic of language revitalization is by now also included in many handbooks and other reference works in linguistics, education/language teaching, bilingualism, ethnicity, and so on. For example, Hinton 2011 is just one of several chapters in Austin and Sallabank 2011 in which responses to language endangerment are discussed.

  • Austin, Peter K., and Julia Sallabank, eds. 2011. The Cambridge handbook of endangered languages. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511975981Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A major section of this edited volume is devoted to the topic of “responses” to language endangerment. The articles in this section deal with language revitalization in general and several highly relevant subtopics, such as speakers and communities, orthography development, and language policy.

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    • Baker, Colin. 2011. Endangered languages: Planning and revitalization. In Foundations of bilingual education and bilingualism. 5th ed. Edited by Colin Baker, 40–63. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.

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      A thorough overview from the perspective of sociolinguistics and language planning.

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      • Grenoble, Lenore A., and Lindsay J. Whaley. 2006. Saving languages: An introduction to language revitalization. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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        A very systematic treatment of language revitalization written for lay and academic readers. It introduces all the major topics (such as revitalization models, assessment, literacy) and contains many examples, including four case studies. A very practical chapter, “Creating a Language Program,” concludes the book.

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        • Hinton, Leanne. 2011. Revitalization of endangered languages. In The Cambridge handbook of endangered languages. Edited by Peter K. Austin, and Julia Sallabank, 291–311. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

          DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511975981Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          Written by one of the best-known practitioners of language revitalization, this article offers a very useful overview of the various models of revitalization and thesituations for which they might be appropriate.

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          • Hinton, Leanne, and Kenneth Hale, eds. 2001. The green book of language revitalization in practice. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

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            Together with Grenoble and Whaley 2006, the best resource on language revitalization. After a general introduction, each section discusses one aspect of language revitalization by presenting an overview article followed by one or more case studies, usually written from a perspective of firsthand experience.

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            • Romaine, Suzanne. 2007. Preserving endangered languages. Language and Linguistics Compass 1.1–2: 115–132.

              DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-818X.2007.00004.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              A good introduction to language endangerment and revitalization from an ecological perspective.

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              • Tsunoda, Tasaku. 2005. Language endangerment and language revitalization. New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                Chapter 11 of this scholarly introduction discusses language revitalization. It is comprehensive and very well referenced. Other parts of the book are also relevant, for example, the chapter on the role and ethics of researchers.

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                Edited Volumes

                The collections listed here deal with language revitalization in a broad way, that is, they are not dedicated to a specific aspect of revitalization. They constitute important contributions in surveying and establishing this emergent field, both empirically and theoretically. They also discuss language endangerment, a topic inextricably linked to revitalization. Classic, frequently cited collections are Grenoble and Whaley 1998 and Bradley and Bradley 2002. Both works are a combination of case studies and important theoretical papers. Grenoble and Whaley 1998 focuses on language endangerment and loss, but it includes four well-known reports on “language-community responses.” Most case studies in this volume involve communities in the Americas. Bradley and Bradley 2002 focuses primarily on language revitalization and maintenance, with the majority of examples from communities in Australia and the Pacific. Many contributors to this volume use an ecological approach, most prominently Mühlhäusler in his programmatic, frequently cited paper. King, et al. 2008; Goodfellow 2009; and Flores, et al. 2010 are more recent socio- and anthropological-linguistic studies of revitalization situations. They are notable for their sensitivity to the role of language ideologies and power dynamics in revitalization efforts as well as in revitalization theory. For example, a paper by Leonard in King, et al. 2008 challenges the academic notion of “extinct language,” several papers in Goodfellow 2009 argue that revitalization goals based on purism and essentialism hinder rather than help revitalization, and the essays in Flores, et al. 2010 pay close attention to the social dynamics in revitalization situations, including those between researchers and community members. The very nature of language revitalization is reconsidered in these collections. Austin and McGill 2011 is a seventeen-hundred-page anthology of key articles in language endangerment (volumes 1–2) and revitalization (volumes 3–4). The collection provides a broad overview as well as a historical perspective on these new fields in linguistics.

                • Austin, Peter, and Stuart McGill, eds. 2011. Endangered languages. London: Routledge.

                  DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511975981Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  A massive collection of seminal articles in the fields of language endangerment and revitalization. The title of volume 3 is Language Planning and Case Studies in Revitalization, and that of volume 4 is Issues in Revitalization and Challenges for Linguists.

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                  • Bradley, David, and Maya Bradley, eds. 2002. Language endangerment and language maintenance. London: RoutledgeCurzon.

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                    A substantial number of case studies, mostly from “Australia and its Pacific and Asian surroundings” (p. xiii), is supplemented by influential theoretical or programmatic papers on language revitalization and practical guides to certain aspects of revitalization or documentation for revitalization.

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                    • Flores Farfán, José Antonio, and Fernando Ramallo, eds. 2010. New perspectives on endangered languages: Bridging gaps between sociolinguistics, documentation and language revitalization. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

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                      Six case studies by leading scholars demonstrate how sociolinguistic analysis in endangered language situations can enhance language revitalization and documentation.

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                      • Goodfellow, Anne Marie, ed. 2009. Speaking of endangered languages. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars.

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                        The papers collected in this volume give sociolinguistic/ecological descriptions of endangered language communities (all but two from the Americas) and report on the models and outcomes of local maintenance or revitalization efforts. They include ethnographic discussions of language ideologies and changing language practices and their impact on revitalization.

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                        • Grenoble, Lenore A., and Lindsay J. Whaley. 1998. Endangered languages: Current issues and future prospects. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                          Language loss is the dominant theme in this collection; well-known scholars write about its causes, processes, and significance. It also contains important discussions of language maintenance issues by Dauenhauer and Dauenhauer and by Grinevald.

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                          • King, Kendall A., Natalie Schilling-Estes, Lyn Fogle, Jia Jackie Lou, and Barbara Soukup, eds. 2008. Sustaining linguistic diversity: Endangered and minority languages and language varieties. Washington, DC: Georgetown Univ. Press.

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                            Sociolinguistic and ethnographic descriptions of revitalization and minority situations, notably including several papers on dialects. The interplay between language ideologies, language practices, and language policy is a pervasive theme. The collection also contains two interesting cautionary papers on the possible social cost of language maintenance or revitalization.

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                            Reference Resources

                            Excellent reference resources are the Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity (RNLD) and Online Resources for Endangered Languages (OREL). They are online portals to a wealth of resources for community members and scholars concerned about endangered languages. Also, Jon Reyhner of Northern Arizona University maintains a comprehensive resource website Teaching Indigenous Languages primarily on indigenous education in the United States, but also on indigenous issues and revitalization in general. A subpage of this website, Selected Resources on Native American Language Renewal, contains many more annotated references on language revitalization.

                            Conferences

                            Two international conferences treat language revitalization or maintenance as a central theme. These are the International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation, held in Hawai’i, and the International Conference on Minority Languages. The latter takes place mostly in Europe. The Stabilizing Indigenous Languages Symposium (SILS) brings together linguists and community members, mostly from North America, every year for mutual learning and networking. Many other conferences and workshops also touch on documentation and revitalization, or on special aspects of them, but they are too numerous to list here.

                            Organizations and Support

                            The organizations and websites listed here are good resources for language revitalization. Groups in several countries have established organizations supporting language revitalization beyond their own borders: the Endangered Language Fund in the United States, the Foundation for Endangered Languages (FEL) in Great Britain, Sorosoro in France, and the Gesellschaft für bedrohte Sprachen (GBS) in Germany. These organizations provide information, advocacy, and, in many cases, funding for endangered languages and revitalization. Another important organization, with significant funding, is the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project of the University of London. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO) is also involved in support for endangered languages and so is the organization Linguapax. The private website Endangered Languages is a source of useful background information on the sociopolitical context of a number of endangered languages. More information on funding is given in the Funding section.

                            Funding

                            As Ahlers 2004 shows, language revitalization work can be undertaken without any funding in place; commitment is more important than money. However, many sources of funding are available for revitalization projects, including local indigenous governments and regional and national governments as well as several international organizations. The most important are the Endangered Language Fund, the Foundation for Endangered Languages Grants, and the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project. The websites for Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity (RNLD) and Online Resources for Endangered Languages (OREL) (see Reference Resources) each have a page on funding. Zepeda and Penfield 2008 is an excellent manual on how to apply for funding. Infield 2010—Grant Writing for Language Activists and Linguists makes available handouts that are posted online. The workshop handouts and Zepeda and Penfield 2008 both also contain lists of major funding agencies.

                            Journals and Series

                            No journals are dedicated exclusively to language revitalization. However, about a third of the articles in Language Documentation and Conservation directly address revitalization or collaboration with communities, with the remaining articles—on language documentation, technology, and so on—also being very relevant. A loose series of proceedings is available from the annual Stabilizing Indigenous Languages Symposium. These edited volumes are primarily intended as resources for language activists, who may not necessarily be linguists. They contain accessible overviews of topics in language revitalization, interesting case studies, and great ideas. Many of the authors—scholars and community members—are indigenous. The series is unique in representing an ongoing dialogue between communities and academia. While it focuses on North America, it represents a valuable resource for language revitalization in other parts of the world as well. It is available online at Teaching Indigenous Languages Books. Reports and reflections on endangered-language and revitalization situations are published as an irregular series, Small Languages and Small Language Communities, in the International Journal of the Sociology of Language.

                            In the Media

                            During the last decade, endangered languages have become a topic in the media. This section gives a selection of media productions that focus on revitalization. As accessible examples of revitalization, they can serve to inform the general public and are also a good teaching resource. Makepeace 2010 is a documentary on the revival of the Wampanoag language, which once was spoken and is now heard again in New England. Finding Our Talk consists of three seasons of half-hour documentaries on indigenous languages and their revitalization. Kunuk 2003 and de Heer 2006 are the first internationally screened movies shot in an indigenous language; they are consequences and drivers of increased status for endangered languages. On radio, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation 2008 constitutes a series of programs, namely the Legends Project culturally and linguistically sensitive productions of indigenous legends created in collaboration with a number of indigenous communities that are aired nationwide and which are also available in the original language. Comprehensive listings on all aspects of endangered languages in the media can be found at the website of the Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity (RNLD) (cited under Reference Resources) and the website Endangered Languages on Film, Video & DVD. Finally, Wátina is an example of an artist’s promotion of endangered ethnomusic. This commercially successful CD contains Garifuna songs from Belize.

                            History

                            One historical predecessor of language revitalization is the formation of official bodies to protect and cultivate European languages. The most (in)famous example of this is the Académie Française, founded in 1635. Ironically, such national bodies are often hostile toward other languages, which are perceived as threat to the national language. Nonetheless, they engage in corpus and status work as do many modern revitalization projects. Better early examples are the revivals of Irish and of Hebrew, which began late in the 19th century. They are discussed in interesting comparison in Fishman 1991 (cited under Reversing Language Shift). For Irish, see also Ó Riagáin 1997, and for Hebrew, Harshav 1999. A third phase is the progressive era of the 1960s and 1970s, during which many minority language communities began their language maintenance efforts, often as part of an overall ethnic revival. These movements were partly documented—and aided—by Joshua Fishman. His writings (e.g., Fishman 1991 about, and cited under, Reversing Language Shift, but also earlier publications) are the first salient treatment of language revitalization in linguistics (see also Theoretical Foundations). However, the birth of language revitalization as a new subfield in linguistics is usually traced to Hale, et al. 1992. Published in the discipline’s leading journal Language, it brought attention to the worldwide decline of languages and the urgent need to respond to a wide audience. Hale, et al. 1992 is probably the publication most cited as the turning point of the discipline regarding language revitalization. Grinevald 2006 (cited under the Role of the Linguist) and Himmelmann 2008 each contain excellent short overviews of the developments culminating in that publication, the former from an Americanist’s perspective, the latter from a European and Pacific perspective. An additional early publication of historical significance for language revitalization is Hinton 1994. To date, no comprehensive history of language revitalization exists. The best source for a historical perspective that transcends single projects or areas probably can again be found in the work of Fishman.

                            • Académie Française.

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                              The website of this official French language authority.

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                              • Hale, Ken, Michael Krauss, Lucille J. Watahomigie, et al. 1992. Endangered languages. Language 68.1: 1–42.

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                                A truly seminal publication that challenged the discipline of linguistics to respond to the accelerated global loss of languages. These six short essays written by prominent linguists-fieldworkers discuss what would become some of the main themes in language revitalization.

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                                • Harshav, Benjamin. 1999. Language in time of revolution. Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press.

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                                  Connects the revival of Hebrew to larger historical trends. Includes some important source documents translated into English. First published in 1993 by the University of California Press.

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                                  • Himmelmann, Nikolaus P. 2008. Reproduction and preservation of linguistic knowledge: Linguistics’ response to language endangerment. Annual Review of Anthropology 37:337–350.

                                    DOI: 10.1146/annurev.anthro.37.081407.085226Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                    Traces the “(re)discovery of language endangerment as a topic of concern for linguists” (p. 339) through events in the late 1980s and early 1990s and also argues for a further shift of the discipline from narrowly descriptive to more comprehensive documentary work.

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                                    • Hinton, Leanne. 1994. Flutes of fire: Essays on California Indian languages. Berkeley, CA: Heyday.

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                                      Written by one of the most important figures of the field, this collection of essays champions the indigenous languages of California and touches on many of the topics relevant to language revitalization.

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                                      • Ó Riagáin, Pádraig. 1997. Language policy and social reproduction: Ireland, 1893–1993. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                        A historical account of the revival of Irish with special attention to language policy.

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                                        Language Endangerment

                                        Language revitalization is a response to the problem of language endangerment, and it is important to understand this problem. Abley 2003 is a very readable first introduction. It is a sensitive, intelligent travelogue written by a nonlinguist for the general public. Crystal 2000 and Nettle and Romaine 2000 are both excellent introductions by linguists. Also written for the general public but more scientific than Abley 2003, these books present the global crisis of languages, causes, consequences, and what can be done. A similar treatment, but aimed at linguists, is Hagège 2009. All the references cited under General Overviews also introduce the problem of language endangerment and could be listed here. An excellent source for many more references on endangered languages—surveys, causes, consequences, responses, and so on—is Rogers and Campbell 2011.

                                        • Abley, Mark. 2003. Spoken here: Travels among threatened languages. Toronto: Random House.

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                                          A popular science book and travelogue of the author’s encounters with speakers of endangered languages and, in some cases, their revitalization efforts. This is perhaps the best introduction to language endangerment for the general public. It is engaging and very readable while doing justice to the subject matter.

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                                          • Crystal, David. 2000. Language death. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                            DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139106856Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                            A classic on the problem of language endangerment, directed at the general public. Discusses the gravity of the situation, causes, and what can be done.

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                                            • Hagège, Claude. 2009. On the death and life of languages. Translated by Jody Gladding. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press.

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                                              A translation of Halte à la mort des langues (Paris: O. Jacob, 2000). Reflections on the nature of language(s), analysis of how and why languages die, and examples of language “resurrection.” A broad historical and global sweep from an interesting metaphorical perspective.

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                                              • Nettle, Daniel, and Suzanne Romaine. 2000. Vanishing voices: The extinction of the world’s languages. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                Another classic, also directed at the general public. Taking an ecological perspective, it interprets human history as different waves of language extinction. Ends with a chapter on language maintenance.

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                                                • Rogers, Chris, and Lyle Campbell. Endangered languages. 2011. In Oxford bibliographies: Linguistics. Edited by Mark Aronoff.

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                                                  This annotated bibliography is dedicated entirely to the topic of endangered languages, and it is highly recommended.

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                                                  The State of the World’s Languages

                                                  The publications listed here attempt to give a global picture of the extent of language endangerment. These global surveys cannot, by definition, achieve in-depth coverage of any area or language family, but they are a good first point of access for those who are interested in the extent of the problem. They also serve the valuable function of providing global numbers and facts, which are needed for policy and advocacy. Early surveys of the state of the world’s languages are the Krauss contribution in Hale, et al. 1992 (cited under History) and the book-length Robins and Uhlenbeck 1991. Papers from this collection are still used today, for example, in Moseley 2010. Brenzinger 2008 is a more recent survey by area experts. It includes criteria of endangerment and discussion of topics of interest to linguists. Moseley 2007 attempts to list all endangered or recently extinct languages (alphabetically, and with explanations), and Moseley 2010 tries to represent all such languages by mapping them. The most comprehensive database on the world’s languages, endangered or not, is the Ethnologue website (Lewis, et al. 2013). In consulting these references, the reader should bear in mind that exact data on languages and their vitality (what counts as a language, where it is spoken, number and ages of speakers, rate of intergenerational transmission, etc.) are notoriously difficult to establish. Often the only data available are local experts’ estimates or official censuses (which may include none or only very coarse questions on language). Such data also change quickly (as speakers die, move, or change their language use), and publications cannot but lag behind these changes, often by several years. Bradley 2011 is a good discussion of these and additional problems with global surveys and statistics, with explicit reference to the works cited here.

                                                  • Bradley, David. 2011. A survey of language endangerment. In The Cambridge handbook of endangered languages. Edited by Peter K. Austin and Julia Sallabank, 66–77. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                    Recommended reading on the reliability of global surveys of (endangered) languages. Comments on Brenzinger 2008; Moseley 2007; and Lewis, et al. 2013.

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                                                    • Brenzinger, Matthias, ed. 2008. Language diversity endangered. New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                                      A global survey of the state of the world’s languages by regions, with discussion of the main factors of endangerment in each region and implications for the work of linguists. It appears that substantial parts of this book were written around 2000–2001, so the book is perhaps not as current as its publication date suggests.

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                                                      • Lewis, Paul, Gary F. Simons, and Charles D. Fennig, eds. 2013. Ethnologue: Languages of the world. 17 ed. Dallas: SIL International.

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                                                        A catalogue of many of the world’s languages, which can be browsed by country, language name, language code, or language family.

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                                                        • Moseley, Christopher. 2007. Encyclopedia of the world’s endangered languages. London: Routledge.

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                                                          Commented alphabetical lists of endangered languages by major geographic areas, plus background information on the situation in each area. Valuable for its comprehensive global list, and some chapters are excellent introductions to the areas discussed.

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                                                          • Moseley, Christopher, ed. 2010. Atlas of the world’s languages in danger. 3d ed. Paris: UNESCO.

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                                                            Nearly twenty-five hundred endangered or recently extinct languages are plotted on maps. The print version includes a book with an introduction and regional overviews; the online version is searchable, and one can submit suggestions and corrections. Taken together, a useful resource that gives a good idea of the extent of the problem.

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                                                            • Robins, Robert H., and Eugenius M. Uhlenbeck, eds. 1991. Endangered languages. Oxford: Berg.

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                                                              Edited by the then president and secretary-general of the Comité International Permanent de Linguistes, this is the first global survey of the state of the world’s languages.

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                                                              Assessment of Language Vitality

                                                              While the assessment of language vitality or endangerment is not unproblematic, as noted in Bradley 2011 (cited under the State of the World’s Languages) and in Himmelmann 2008 (cited under History), it is nonetheless necessary for planning revitalization projects, and several classifications or scales of endangerment have been developed. The oldest, and still important, classification is the Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale (Fishman 1991 and Fishman 2001, both cited under Reversing Language Shift). Criteria include age of speakers, extent of transmission in the home, and domains of use. Michael Krauss, in his contribution to Hale, et al. 1992 (cited under History), classified languages as safe, endangered, or moribund based on number and age of speakers, and he has refined his initial scale in several places, for example, Krauss 2007. UNESCO released nine interdependent vitality criteria in 2003 (see UNESCO—A Methodology for Assessing Language Vitality and Endangerment), with good discussion of each, and Grenoble and Whaley 2006 (cited under General Overviews) contains a comprehensive typology of endangerment. A number of survey tools that can be used to assess certain parameters used in the classifications supplement these general classifications. Indigenous Language Institute 2004–2009 is entirely dedicated to language surveys. Excellent material is also available online from an InField 2010 workshop on survey methods. Surveys and survey questions are also discussed helpfully in Hinton and Hale 2001 (chapter 5) and in Grenoble and Whaley 2006 (chapter 7) (both cited under General Overviews).

                                                              Discourse and Debate

                                                              This article takes the stance that the appropriate response to language endangerment is the revitalization of languages. However, there are other attitudes as well, and all can be supported by arguments. Underlying language revitalization is the belief that the loss of languages is a bad thing. All of the works cited in Language Endangerment take this stance. They contain many good arguments for this position, and they conclude that the appropriate action to take is to protect and revitalize threatened languages. The reader is, first of all, referred to these publications, for example, to chapter 2 of Crystal 2000, and to chapters 1 and 3 of Nettle and Romaine 2000 (both cited under Language Endangerment). Thieberger 1990 is a useful critical review of the main arguments for language revitalization. It concludes that the most convincing argument is one of social justice. Hill 2002 reflects on how some common “expert” arguments for revitalization are perceived by community members and calls for a thoughtful examination of such advocacy. Rivenburgh 2012 is an interesting examination of how the media tend to present the issue of endangered languages. It concludes that the media’s simplified treatment, while sympathetic, furthers the impression that language extinction is a problem of minorities that the public can do nothing about. Johnston 2002 and Littlebear 1996 represent the voice of those affected most intimately by language endangerment—speakers of threatened languages. They are unequivocal in affirming the value of their languages and the need to protect them. Malik 2000 is a good example of arguments against language revitalization. This short article attacks the assumptions behind some of the most common arguments for preserving endangered languages, and it is essential reading. May 2003 reviews such criticisms in the context of minority rights, and develops a theory of minorities that is less prone to attack. A deeper theoretical examination of why the loss of languages is a problem, and why language revitalization is the appropriate response, can be found in the section Theoretical Foundations as well as the Role of the Linguist.

                                                              • Hill, Jane H. 2002. Expert rhetorics in advocacy for endangered languages: Who is listening, and what do they hear? Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 12.2: 119–133.

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                                                                An influential critique of some very common arguments used in advocating for endangered languages. Argues that they reveal Western/dominant-community bias and may alienate members of the affected minority communities. The paper is followed by four commentaries (by Dorian, England, Fishman, and Hinton, pp. 134–156) that are well worth reading for the additional perspectives offered.

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                                                                • Johnston, Basil H. 2002. One generation from extinction. In Pens of many colours. 3d ed. Edited by Eva Karpinsky, 147–154. Scarborough, Canada: Nelson Thomson Learning.

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                                                                  An eloquent argument for the value of indigenous languages and literatures from the perspective of the speaker of such a language. Johnston proposes that it is the role of the state to protect its indigenous languages.

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                                                                  • Littlebear, Richard E. 1996. Preface. In Stabilizing indigenous languages. Papers presented at the Stabilizing Indigenous Languages symposium, November 1994 and May 1995, Northern Arizona Univ. Edited by Gina Cantoni-Harvey, xiii–xv. Flagstaff: Northern Arizona Univ. Center for Excellence in Education.

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                                                                    Written by a speaker of a threatened language for other such speakers, this short address is a call to action for language revitalization.

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                                                                    • Malik, Kenan. 2000. Let them die. Prospect 57:16–17.

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                                                                      A short essay challenging many common arguments for language protection, such as essentialism. Explicitly refers to Crystal 2000 and Nettle and Romaine 2000 (both cited under Language Endangerment).

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                                                                      • May, Stephen. 2003. Rearticulating the case for minority language rights. Current Issues in Language Planning 4.2: 95–125.

                                                                        DOI: 10.1080/14664200308668052Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                        Addresses three criticisms frequently leveled at minority (language) rights: essentialism, utopianism, and mobility. The arguments carry over to language revitalization, and they are worth being aware of.

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                                                                        • Rivenburgh, Nancy K. 2012. Media framing of complex issues: The case of endangered languages. Public Understanding of Science.

                                                                          DOI: 10.1177/0963662511426033Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                          An examination how media tend to present the issue of endangered languages, which is good to be aware of when communicating with the media. A short summary of the paper can be found online.

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                                                                          • Thieberger, Nicholas. 1990. Language maintenance: Why bother? Multilingua 9.4: 333–358.

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                                                                            An early review of the main arguments for language revitalization, with a critical examination of the underlying assumptions. Also useful because of the many citations given.

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                                                                            Theoretical Foundations

                                                                            Since the contraction or expansion of a language—in terms of numbers of speakers as well as domains—is a social phenomenon, the theoretical foundations of language revitalization lie broadly in sociolinguistics. Within sociolinguistics, two theories are particularly relevant to language revitalization: the reversing language shift movement and ecology of language, discussed in separate sections. A third theoretical field that informs language revitalization is language ideology. Language ideology is a concept not only in sociolinguistics, but also in anthropology and, more generally, in postmodern criticism of Western thought and society. Closely connected to language ideology but an important emerging topic in its own right is language change under revitalization, namely the question of what kind of language is (or should be) the outcome of revitalization. See also the section the Role of the Linguist; the reflections therein develop the theory of science for linguistics, changing theoretical foundations in response to questions in language revitalization and documentation.

                                                                            Reversing Language Shift (RLS)

                                                                            RLS is the earliest articulated theory dedicated to language maintenance and revitalization. A key tenet is that language is linked to ethnic or cultural identity, and that the struggle for a language coincides with the struggle for a minority culture or ethnicity. The foundational RLS publication is Fishman 1991, which is followed by Fishman 2001, a volume of case studies evaluating the theory a decade later. Both contain strong theoretical arguments for minority language maintenance and for theory-informed prescriptions for practical language revitalization measures targeted at eight degrees of language vitality. An important component of reversing language shift is “ideological clarification” of the attitudes and goals in a given situation. Dauenhauer and Dauenhauer 1998 is a vivid illustration of this, while Kroskrity 2009 (cited under Language Ideology) is a systematic discussion of ideological clarification within a theory of Language Ideology. The heart of RLS efforts is the intergenerational transmission of a language in families, but the actual dynamics affecting language choice in families are not usually considered in the RLS literature. Spolsky 2009, writing from a sociolinguistic and language policy perspective, fills this important gap. A critical perspective on RLS is provided in Romaine 2006.

                                                                            • Dauenhauer, Nora Marks, and Richard Dauenhauer. 1998. Technical, emotional, and ideological issues in reversing language shift: Examples from southeast Alaska. In Endangered languages: Current issues and future prospects. Edited by Lenore A. Grenoble and Lindsay J. Whaley, 57–98. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                              Compelling discussion of how language ideologies and attitudes affect the revitalization of Tlingit and other southeastern Alaskan languages. A frequently cited article.

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                                                                              • Fishman, Joshua. 1991. Reversing language shift: Theoretical and empirical foundations of assistance to threatened languages. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.

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                                                                                The foundational work on the reversing language shift approach to language revitalization.

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                                                                                • Fishman, Joshua. 2001. Can threatened languages be saved? Reversing language shift, revisited: A 21st century perspective. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.

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                                                                                  An important follow-up to Fishman 1991 in which various authors apply the RLS model to well-known attempts at language revitalization. Includes further theoretical development of the RLS model.

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                                                                                  • Romaine, Suzanne. 2006. Planning for the survival of linguistic diversity. Language Policy 5:441–473.

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                                                                                    A critical discussion of the appropriateness of RLS theory, with its emphasis on mother tongue transmission and diglossia, for the revitalization of small, highly endangered languages.

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                                                                                    • Spolsky, Bernard. 2009. Managing language in the family. In Language management. Edited by Bernard Spolsky, 10–30. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                      DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511626470.002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                      This chapter in a book on language management addresses the important topic of how language choices in families happen and what factors influence these choices.

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                                                                                      Ecology of Language

                                                                                      Ecology of language, part of ecolinguistic theory, looks not so much at one language but at the entire “linguistic ecology” of a given region, and asks if the ecology, i.e., the sociolinguistic, economic, physical, and political conditions, are such that the region can maintain linguistic diversity. The theory also critiques the orthodox structuralist conception of language as an autonomous system of rules and elements; instead, it views languages as dynamic, interdependent subsystems in a linguistic ecology. “Ecology of language” as a research program was first proposed in Haugen 1971, which is often cited as the beginning of ecolinguistics. The theory was significantly developed by Alwin Fill (see Fill 1993) and in many publications by Peter Mühlhäusler. Representative examples are Mühlhäusler 1992, Mühlhäusler 1996, and his short but widely cited article in Bradley and Bradley 2002 (cited under Edited Volumes). An online ecolinguistic resource is the website of Terralingua, an organization dedicated to the preservation of biocultural diversity, which includes language. Luisa Maffi, the director of Terralingua, presents an overview of research in biocultural diversity in Maffi 2005. Romaine 2007 (cited under General Overviews) and Nettle and Romaine 2000 (cited under Language Endangerment) can also be considered broadly ecolinguistic approaches. Edwards 2002 is more skeptical, questioning some of the assumptions of ecolinguistics.

                                                                                      • Edwards, John. 2002. “Forlorn hope?” In Opportunities and challenges of bilingualism. Edited by Li Wei, Jean-Marc Dewaele, and Alex Housen, 25–44. New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

                                                                                        DOI: 10.1515/9783110852004Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                        Critiques some assumptions of ecolinguistics, particularly the idea that local bi- or multilingualism is a sustainable solution.

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                                                                                        • Fill, Alwin. 1993. Ökolinguistik: Eine Einführung. Tübingen, Germany: Gunter Narr.

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                                                                                          A very good introduction to the field of ecolinguistics. Language endangerment and revitalization are treated under “Ecology of Languages.”

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                                                                                          • Haugen, Einar. 1971. The ecology of language. Linguistic Reporter 25 (suppl.): 19–26.

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                                                                                            A programmatic paper widely credited as being the beginningof the ecological approach to the study of language. Also published in A. S. Dil, ed., The Ecology of Language: Essays by Einar Haugen (Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press, 1972), pp. 324–339.

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                                                                                            • Maffi, Luisa. 2005. Linguistic, cultural, and biological diversity. Annual Review of Anthropology 29:599–617.

                                                                                              DOI: 10.1146/annurev.anthro.34.081804.120437Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                              A short introduction to the emergent field of biocultural diversity, written by one of its leading researchers.

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                                                                                              • Mühlhäusler, Peter. 1992. Preserving languages or language ecologies? A top-down approach to language survival. Oceanic Linguistics 31.2: 163–180.

                                                                                                DOI: 10.2307/3623012Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                Introduces the concept of “ecology of language” and shows what it would entail for language maintenance in Oceania.

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                                                                                                • Mühlhäusler, Peter. 1996. Linguistic ecology: Language change and linguistic imperialism in the Pacific region. London: Routledge.

                                                                                                  DOI: 10.4324/9780203211281Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                  Develops and applies ecolinguistic theory through the in-depth study of the linguistic ecology of a highly multilingual region.

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                                                                                                  • Terralingua.

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                                                                                                    This organization promotes cultural/linguistic together with biological diversity, through policy, mapping, assessment tools, education, and the documentation of oral literatures. The website includes a list of key publications and the online magazine Langscape.

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                                                                                                    Language Ideology

                                                                                                    Theories of language ideology start from the assumption that “language” itself is not a neutral concept that can be used objectively but that one’s concept of language is shaped by the “ideologies” embedded in one’s society, group, and culture. A foundational formulation of language ideology theory is Woolard 1998, and Irvine 2012 is an excellent guide to language ideology literature. Language ideology plays an important role in language endangerment and revitalization. Different stakeholders in revitalization projects may have different language ideologies, and this may lead to unclear goals or even conflicts in revitalization projects. An exemplary, oft-cited illustration of this, and of the need for “ideological clarification” in revitalization projects, is Dauenhauer and Dauenhauer 1998 (cited under Reversing Language Shift). Kroskrity 2009 gives more examples and connects “ideological clarification” explicitly to language ideology theory. Meek 2010 is a recent in-depth examination of language ideologies in one revitalization situation, using an ethnographic approach. Goodfellow 2009 and King, et al. 2008 (both cited under Edited Volumes) also prominently deal with language ideology in revitalization. Next, language ideology helps in understanding the forces in language endangerment. The influential Dorian 1998 shows concisely how the language ideologies of the powerful negatively affect minority language attitudes and lead to language shift. Related to this, language ideology research helps identify cases in which language policy, language planning, and education are overtly or covertly biased against vernacular, local, and indigenous languages, and provides arguments and strategies for changing such situations. Calvet 1998 is a representative work of an early, influential thinker that examines the ideological-political biases of language policy and planning (and linguistics). Another influential, frequently cited critical work that pays particular attention to education planning is Tollefson 1991. A recent representative example of anthropological analyses of language ideology in policy is McCarty 2011, which also includes an excellent introduction.

                                                                                                    • Calvet, Louis-Jean. 1998. Language wars and linguistic politics. Translated by Michel Petheram. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                      English translation of La guerre des langues et les politiques linguistiques, first published in 1987 (Paris: Payot). A sweeping treatment of the fate of languages as a reflection of political struggles. Examines the role of language ideology and policy in situations of language contact, multilingualism, and language competition and addresses the complicity of language planners in the suppression of languages.

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                                                                                                      • Dorian, Nancy. 1998. Western ideologies and small-language prospects. In Endangered languages: Current issues and future prospects. Edited by Lenore A. Grenoble and Lindsay J. Whaley, 3–21. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                        An influential, concise analysis of Western ideologies about language, such as a bias for monolingualism, and linguistic social Darwinism, as well as the influence of such ideologies on the vitality of small languages.

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                                                                                                        • Irvine, Judith T. 2012. Language Ideology. In Oxford bibliographies: Anthropology. Edited by John L. Jackson Jr.

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                                                                                                          A short introduction to language ideology, followed by an overview of the main topics and publications.

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                                                                                                          • Kroskrity, Paul V. 2009. Language renewal as sites of language ideological struggle: The need for “ideological clarification”. In Indigenous language revitalization: Encouragement, guidance & lessons learned. Edited by Jon Reyhner and Louise Lockard, 71–83. Flagstaff: Northern Arizona Univ. Center for Excellence in Education.

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                                                                                                            Definitions of “language ideology” and “ideological clarification,” with several examples given of ideological struggles in revitalization contexts.

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                                                                                                            • McCarty, Teresa L., ed. 2011. Ethnography and language policy. New York: Routledge.

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                                                                                                              A collection of ethnographic studies of language policies, both overt and covert, many of them in educational settings. The book contains an introduction, which sets the theoretical and historical context for the studies, and two commentaries by major scholars.

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                                                                                                              • Meek, Barbra. 2010. We are our language: An ethnography of language revitalization in a northern Athabascan community. Tucson: Univ. of Arizona Press.

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                                                                                                                An ethnographic examination of one revitalization situation and the language ideologies involved.

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                                                                                                                • Tollefson, James W. 1991. Planning language, planning inequality. London: Longman.

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                                                                                                                  A critical examination of standard language planning, arguing that it is especially education planning that propagates, rather than corrects, existing societal inequalities and does not protect small or powerless languages and communities.

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                                                                                                                  • Woolard, Kathryn. 1998. Language ideology as a field of inquiry. In Language ideologies: Practice and theory. Edited by Bambi Schieffelin, Kathryn Woolard, and Paul Kroskrity, 3–49. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                    A foundational introduction to language ideology.

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                                                                                                                    Language Change under Revitalization

                                                                                                                    An often unquestioned assumption made in language revitalization is that it will be possible to bring back into use the original threatened language. However, some recent studies show that the outcome of revitalization may be a changed language. For example, Leonard 2007 (cited under Sleeping Languages) finds that the phonology of the new speakers is somewhat different from that of the original language, and Comrie 2007 discusses the changes in revitalized Welsh. The discussion of such changes is difficult but important. The possibility of change must be taken into consideration when planning revitalization projects, or disappointment, and even conflict, may ensue. An important part of the reflection is to consider the causes of language change under revitalization, as in Golla 2001 and Holton 2009. Holton 2009, in particular, is a very influential (and somewhat controversial) paper, advocating that realistic revitalization may even involve creolization. The introduction of the book in which Holton 2009 appeared, Goodfellow 2009 (cited also in Edited Volumes) provides excellent connections among language change, language ideology, and other theoretical topics.

                                                                                                                    • Comrie, Bernard. 2007. Documenting and/or preserving endangered languages. In The vanishing languages of the Pacific Rim. Edited by Osahito Miyaoka, Osamu Sakiyama, and Michael E. Krauss, 25–34. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                      Revitalized Welsh “lacks some of the distinctive characteristics of the Welsh language [. . .] as this language was previously passed from generation to generation” (p. 29); therefore, documentation is needed as well as revitalization.

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                                                                                                                      • Golla, Victor. 2001. What does it mean for a language to survive? Some thoughts on the (not-so-simple) future of small languages. Paper presented at the International Conference on Endangered Languages, Kyoto, Japan, 24–25 November 2000. In Lectures on endangered languages 2: From Kyoto Conference 2000. Edited by Osamu Sakiyama, 171–177. Osaka, Japan: Endangered Languages of the Pacific Rim (ELPR).

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                                                                                                                        Argues that the future of threatened small languages lies with secondary speech communities, consisting of adult learners (including linguists) who are possibly removed from the local community and who may know the language only imperfectly or in fragments.

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                                                                                                                        • Holton, Gary. 2009. Relearning Athabascan languages in Alaska: Sustainable language communities through creolization. In Speaking of endangered languages: Issues in revitalization. Edited by Anne Marie Goodfellow, 238–265. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars.

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                                                                                                                          Based on consideration of the structure of Athabaskan languages and the context and outcomes of current language learning, Holton argues that the sustainable revitalization of these languages in Alaska best focus on an “engineered” creolized version. Linguistically informed recommendations for the structure of such a creole are given.

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                                                                                                                          The Role of the Linguist

                                                                                                                          Linguists, of course, also have to form an attitude to language endangerment and reflect on their role, and the role of the discipline, in the face of rapid language extinction. One widespread response, articulated early on in Himmelmann 1998 and also in Newman 2003, has been to place a new emphasis on Language Documentation across the discipline. Kramer, et al. 2008 is a film that vividly demonstrates this response from a certain angle and lends itself very well to discussion. Further challenges to linguistics as a discipline are articulated in Grinevald 2007 and Gerdts 1998. Beyond agreement on language documentation, discussion has taken place concerning how much linguists’ research agenda and behavior in the field should shift toward community interests, first among them language revitalization. Ladefoged 1992 and Newman 2003 argue that linguists should maintain an objective stance and focus on documentation, their specialty, and leave advocacy or revitalization to others. Dorian 1993 is one of the first arguments against such a stance; many others have followed. By now, the prominent research model is one of collaboration with communities; this is discussed further in Socially Responsible Linguistics. Also, many case studies cited throughout this article can be read as illustrations of the collaborative model. Gerdts 1998 and Grinevald 2007 are important papers that discuss, from firsthand experience, the challenges and rewards of linguists working in, and with, endangered-language communities. These papers are essential preparation for anyone considering getting involved in language revitalization. Rice 2011 is an annotated bibliography on fieldwork and gives excellent, comprehensive references on the role of linguists. Rogers and Campbell 2011 (cited under Language Endangerment) also has very valuable references on this topic. Finally, it is noteworthy that many of the themes discussed in this section were already articulated in the seminal Hale, et al. 1992 (cited under History).

                                                                                                                          • Dorian, Nancy. 1993. A response to Ladefoged’s other view of endangered languages. Language 69.3: 575–579.

                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.2307/416699Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            A response to Ladefoged 1992. Dorian argues, among other things, that a neutral stance is also inherently political, that language shift might not have been chosen under better social conditions, and that the descendants of the last speakers often come to regret that shift.

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                                                                                                                            • Gerdts, Donna. 1998. Beyond expertise: The role of the linguist in language revitalization programs. In Endangered languages: What role for the specialist? Edited by Nicholas Ostler, 13–22. Bath, UK: Foundation for Endangered Languages.

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                                                                                                                              A refreshingly frank discussion of the contributions a linguist can make to a community’s revitalization project, and provides valuable advice to both linguists and communities on how to work together productively. Republished in Lenore A. Grenoble and N. Louanna Furbee, eds., Language Documentation: Practice and Values (Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2010), pp. 173–192.

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                                                                                                                              • Grinevald, Colette. 2007. Linguistic fieldwork among speakers of endangered languages. In The vanishing languages of the Pacific Rim. Edited by Miyaoka Osahito, Osamu Sakiyama, and Michael E. Krauss, 35–76. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                Important discussion of on-the-ground realities of projects on endangered languages. Essential preparation for fieldworkers and a call on linguistics departments and granting agencies to rethink their programs.

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                                                                                                                                • Himmelmann, Nikolaus P. 1998. Documentary and descriptive linguistics. Linguistics 36:161–195.

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                                                                                                                                  A seminal paper challenging the discipline of linguistics to distinguish between language description and documentation and to focus on documentation as a response to language endangerment. It goes on to establish the subdiscipline of documentary linguistics conceptually.

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                                                                                                                                  • Kramer, Seth, Daniel A. Miller, and Jeremy Newberger, dirs. 2008. The linguists, 2007. DVD. Garrison, NY: Ironbound Films.

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                                                                                                                                    A widely screened documentary that follows two linguists on their adventurous travels to endangered-language communities around the world. An excellent discussion starter on the role of linguists and on language documentation.

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                                                                                                                                    • Ladefoged, Peter. 1992. Another view of endangered languages. Language 68.4: 809–811.

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                                                                                                                                      Commenting on Hale, et al. 1992 (cited under History), Ladefoged argues that linguists should not be ruled by emotions or politics; rather, they should take a detached scientific stance, engaging in documentation rather than what might be paternalistic advocacy.

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                                                                                                                                      • Newman, Paul. 2003. “The endangered languages issue as a hopeless cause.” In Language death and maintenance: Theoretical, practical and descriptive approaches. Edited by Mark Janse and Sijmen Tol, 1–13. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

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                                                                                                                                        A provocative criticism of the discipline of linguistics regarding endangered languages, arguing that the way linguists go about their business exacerbates rather than alleviates the problem. Challenges both theoretical linguistics and “linguistic social work” (p. 6), that is, language revitalization.

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                                                                                                                                        • Rice, Keren. 2011. Fieldwork. In Oxford bibliographies: Linguistics. Edited by Mark Aronoff.

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                                                                                                                                          Excellent, important references on the role of linguists can be found in the comprehensive section “Ethics.”

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                                                                                                                                          Socially Responsible Linguistics

                                                                                                                                          One of the main conversations in linguistics that the new emphasis on language documentation and revitalization has triggered is the exploration of what it means to work in, or with, communities in a socially responsible and ethical manner. An early influential paper on this topic (not from a revitalization perspective) is Cameron, et al. 1993, a conceptual discussion of practices in working with human subjects and communities in social science research. Within linguistics proper, the discussion is often couched in terms of “fieldwork.” Grinevald 2006 and Dwyer 2006 are excellent, complementary overviews of all the things to consider in ethical fieldwork. Dwyer 2006 is more of a manual, while Grinevald 2006 is more reflective and includes a detailed example. Dorian 2010 reviews the main issues in responsible fieldwork that emerged over the course of the author’s career. The article provides valuable insight to new and seasoned fieldworkers alike. Yamada 2007, Dobrin 2008, and Czaykowska-Higgins 2009 are important publications in articulating further the collaborative model of fieldwork/research. Czaykowska-Higgins 2009 takes up the discussion in Cameron, et al. 1993, moving from an empowerment model to a collaborative one and illustrating through the author’s experience in projects with First Nations in Canada. Yamada 2007 is a well-known demonstration of the empowerment/collaborative model. Dobrin 2008 adds an important ethnographic perspective, demonstrating that “empowerment” or “collaboration” can mean very different things in different cultures. Further reflection on responsible practices for linguists can be found in Reyhner and Lockard 2009 and in all the Edited Volumes. Grenoble and Furbee 2010 (cited under Language Documentation) is entirely dedicated to best practices in ethical language documentation, and many of the ideas expressed there also apply to language revitalization. England’s contribution to Hale, et al. 1992 (cited under History) articulates challenging questions asked of outside linguists working in endangered Mayan communities; these questions are still relevant today.

                                                                                                                                          • Cameron, Deborah, Elizabeth Frazer, Penelope Harvey, Ben Rampton, and Kay Richardson. 1993. Ethics, advocacy and empowerment: Issues of method in researching language. Language & Communication 13.2: 81–94.

                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1016/0271-5309(93)90001-4Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                            A seminal paper (based on the authors’ 1992 book) on models of researching language and social science research more generally. The philosophical underpinnings of “ethical,” “objective,” “knowledge,” and “research” are examined and critiqued. Essential for understanding what one is doing, and can do, as a social scientist.

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                                                                                                                                            • Czaykowska-Higgins, Ewa. 2009. Research models, community engagement, and linguistic fieldwork: Reflections on working within Canadian indigenous communities. Language Documentation 3.1: 15–50.

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                                                                                                                                              A clear articulation and conceptual development of the collaborative model as “Community-Based Language Research” (p. 24).

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                                                                                                                                              • Dobrin, Lise M. 2008. From linguistic elicitation to eliciting the linguist: Lessons in community empowerment from Melanesia. Language 84.2: 300–324.

                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1353/lan.0.0009Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                Using a Papua New Guinean example, Dobrin argues that ethnographic awareness is essential in language revitalization work. Without it, linguists may overlook local conceptions of empowerment or collaboration, and well-intended efforts may backfire.

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                                                                                                                                                • Dorian, Nancy. 2010. Documentation and responsibility. Language & Communication 30:179–185.

                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1016/j.langcom.2009.11.003Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                  A prominent fieldworker in a moribund language discusses the ethical responsibilities and conflicts of researchers by reviewing her own experiences. Issues discussed are quality and type of record, access, confidentiality, and informed consent.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Dwyer, Arienne M. 2006. Ethics and practicalities of cooperative fieldwork and analysis. In Essentials of language documentation. Edited by Jost Gippert, Nikolaus P. Himmelmann, and Ulrike Mosel, 31–66. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1515/9783110197730Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    A systematic overview of all the dimensions of ethical fieldwork, including discussion of legal questions such as intellectual property. This article is especially useful for someone who has no experience with fieldwork or is about to plan a new language project.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Grinevald, Colette. 2006. Worrying about ethics and wondering about “informed consent”: Fieldwork from an Americanist perspective. In Lesser-known languages of South Asia. Edited by Anju Saxena, and Lars Borin. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1515/9783110197785Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                      The article gives an overview of considerations in ethical fieldwork and questions First World institutions’ legalistic approach to informed consent. It also reviews how a stance of collaboration and activism developed among linguists working in Australia and the Americas.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Reyhner, Jon, and Louise Lockard, eds. 2009. Indigenous language revitalization: Encouragement, guidance & lessons learned. Proceedings of Stabilizing Indigenous Languages symposia held 1–3 June 2007 at Eastern Michigan Univ., Mt. Pleasant, MI, and 2–3 May 2008 at Northern Arizona Univ. Flagstaff: Northern Arizona Univ. Center for Excellence in Education.

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                                                                                                                                                        The proceedings of Stabilizing Indigenous Languages symposia 2007–2008. One topic is the collaboration between linguists and language activists.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Yamada, Racquel-María. 2007. Collaborative linguistic fieldwork: Practical application of the empowerment model. Language Documentation & Conservation 1.2: 257–282.

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                                                                                                                                                          An influential illustration of the collaborative model from Yamada’s fieldwork as a graduate student.

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                                                                                                                                                          Language Documentation

                                                                                                                                                          One important contribution that linguists can make to the conservation of endangered languages is language documentation. This is, after all, their expertise. At times, documentation has failed to consider the needs of speakers, but this is changing. Grenoble and Furbee 2010 is a recent discussion of best practices in language documentation with special attention to the needs and expectations of communities. Flores, et al. 2010 (cited under Edited Volumes) also pays special attention to language documentation in the service of language revitalization. A seminal introduction to all aspects of language documentation, again with consideration of community needs, is Gippert, et al. 2006. This is an essential reference for every linguist wanting to do sustainable work with speakers. Further valuable information on language documentation can be found in several chapters of Austin and Sallabank 2011 (cited under General Overviews). The Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project publishes working papers on Language Documentation and Description (Austin, et al. 2003–2012). These contain cutting-edge articles; so does the journal Language Documentation and Conservation (cited under Journals and Series). The articles in Linguistic Discovery are excellent examples of initial descriptions of undocumented languages, often including sociolinguistic observations about a language’s endangerment status and connections to language revitalization. Valuable practical information on language documentation can also be found online at Co-Lang: Institute for Collaborative Language Research (course materials, cited under Summer Schools and General Programs), Online Resources for Endangered Languages (cited under Reference Resources), and the E-MELD School of Best Practices in Digital Language Documentation (cited under Technology and Media). For more comprehensive references on language documentation, the reader is referred to Rogers and Campbell 2011 (cited under Language Endangerment) and Rice 2011 (cited under the Role of the Linguist), which both have excellent sections on this topic.

                                                                                                                                                          • Austin, Peter K., Julia Sallabank, Jan-Olof Svantesson, et al., eds. 2003–2012. Language documentation and description. Vols. 1–10. Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project. London: Univ. of London.

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                                                                                                                                                            Excellent working papers primarily on language documentation, developing the theory and methodology of this subdiscipline of linguistics. Volume 6 contains articles on the “sociolinguistics and pedagogy for endangered languages.” Available for purchase online.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Gippert, Jost, Nikolaus P. Himmelmann, and Ulrike Mosel, eds. 2006. Essentials of language documentation. New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1515/9783110197730Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                              An excellent introduction to language documentation, laying out the scope of a modern documentation project and discussing the most important aspects in very useful detail. Not a book for beginners but very valuable for advanced students and practicing linguists.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Grenoble, Lenore A., and N. Louanna Furbee, eds. 2010. Language documentation: Practice and values. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

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                                                                                                                                                                This edited volume focuses broadly on best practices in ethical language documentation, including not only practices in the field, but also data management and archiving as well as training for documentary linguists. It could also have been listed under Socially Responsible Linguistics.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Linguistic Discovery.

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                                                                                                                                                                  This is the journal to look at for model descriptions of undocumented languages. Many articles are first descriptions of some aspect of such a language. Besides being exemplary, this journal contains a wealth of new and interesting data.

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                                                                                                                                                                  Political Dimensions

                                                                                                                                                                  Language revitalization is an attempt to effect social change and, as such, it is inherently political. An important political instrument in language revitalization is language rights: Many endangered languages are now protected by national or international law, and minorities are appealing to these laws (or lobbying for such laws) in order to legitimize and to obtain support for their revitalization efforts. The creation of language rights can be understood as one type of language policy. In general, revitalization reflects a certain language policy and involves language planning. The theory and practice of language policy and planning are, thus, important to language revitalization.

                                                                                                                                                                  Language Policy and Planning

                                                                                                                                                                  Every language revitalization project involves planning around language. Hinton 2001 and chapter 7 of Grenoble and Whaley 2006 offer practical planning frameworks for communities wanting to create a revitalization project. Hinton 2001 is the first chapter in the section on language planning in Hinton and Hale 2001 (cited under General Overviews); this section also contains three instructive case studies of language planning by indigenous communities in the United States. Thieberger 2002 reflects on revitalization goals, arguing that full fluency might not always be the most appropriate goal in language planning. A concise overview of language policy and planning is given by Sallabank in Austin and Sallabank 2011 (cited under General Overviews). Hornberger 1994 is a standard reference for a theoretical overview of all the dimensions of language planning, discussing status, corpus, acquisition, and literacy planning. A standard book-length introduction to language planning is Kaplan and Baldauf 1997. Most language planning is carried out by governments, and it often benefits dominant or official languages. However, if such a language is itself contracting or threatened, it can be protected by language planning measures. This has, for example, been documented in Bourhis 2001 for French in Quebec. Language planning is informed by the language policy of a certain political body, be that body a local community or a nation-state. Such policy can be overt or covert, and it is, in turn, informed by Language Ideology. Excellent introductions to the field of language policy are Spolsky 2012 and Spolsky 2004. The former contains a number of articles relevant to language revitalization; the latter is comprehensive, yet concise and accessible.

                                                                                                                                                                  • Bourhis, R. Y. 2001. Reversing language shift in Quebec. In Can threatened languages be saved? Reversing language shift, revisited: A 21st century perspective. Edited by Joshua Fishman, 101–141. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Describes the assessment of the vitality of French in Quebec and its successful protection through language legislation. The French language policy is situated in the larger context of Quebec nationalism/separatism and Canadian bilingualism as well as multiculturalism.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Grenoble, Lenore A., and Lindsay J. Whaley. 2006. Saving languages: An introduction to language revitalization. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Chapter 7, “Creating a Language Program,” is a helpful outline of the main steps for a community to take in designing a language revitalization project. It places strong emphasis on assessment, and it also discusses literacy programs.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Hinton, Leanne. 2001. Language planning. In The green book of language revitalization in practice. Edited by Leanne Hinton and Ken Hale, 51–59. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                        A very accessible overview of language planning, addressed primarily at community members. It discusses questions to consider and steps to take when planning a language revitalization project.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Hornberger, Nancy. 1994. Literacy and language planning. Language and Education 8:75–86.

                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1080/09500789409541380Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                          An influential integration of different models of language planning into one comprehensive framework. Versions of this paper also appear in the better-known introductory chapter in Nancy Hornberger, ed., Indigenous Literacies in the Americas: Language Planning from the Bottom Up (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1997), pp. 3–16, and in Thomas Ricento, ed., Introduction to Language Policy: Theory and Method (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006), pp. 24–41.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Kaplan, Robert B., and Richard B. Baldauf Jr. 1997. Language planning: From practice to theory. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.

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                                                                                                                                                                            This thorough introduction covers not only the practice, but also the theory of language planning, considering such questions as multilingualism, hegemony, and ecology. The intended audience of the book includes academics, bureaucrats, and educators more so than small communities dealing with the issues surrounding endangered languages.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Spolsky, Bernard. 2004. Language policy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                              An accessible and basic, yet sophisticated introduction to language policy. The book moves through the major issues in language planning—not forgetting general interest topics such as “bad” language and purism—and gives a clear discussion of each issue.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Spolsky, Bernard, ed. 2012. The Cambridge handbook of language policy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511979026Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                An up-to-date overview of language policy with several articles directly relevant to language revitalization.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Thieberger, Nicholas. 2002. Extinction in whose terms? Which parts of a language constitute a target for language maintenance programmes? In Language endangerment and language maintenance. Edited by David Bradley and Maya Bradley, 310–328. London: RoutledgeCurzon.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  Argues that in the case of near-extinct languages with very small groups of speakers (or learners) re-creating fluency may not be the most appropriate goal. Realistic language planning must involve all stakeholders.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  Language Rights

                                                                                                                                                                                  The most important international documents for language rights are the Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights, the United Nations General Assembly 2007, and the United Nations General Assembly 1992. Earlier language rights documents can be found in Skutnabb-Kangas and Phillipson 1994. Information on individual countries is given in Faingold 2004, an examination of 187 constitutions for the expression of linguistic rights. An early collection, Skutnabb-Kangas and Phillipson 1994, is concerned with the current state of language rights and their implementation with respect to minority situations from all continents. Important theoretical foundations for minority language rights are established in the seminal May 2001 and, from a legal perspective, in de Varennes 1996. Freeland and Patrick 2004 is a collection of critical essays and case studies that looks specifically at the role of language rights in the survival of endangered languages. Human rights in education, with particular attention to language, are examined in the foundational Skutnabb-Kangas 2000 (cited under the Problem and Opportunity of Formal Education). A critical perspective on the language rights movement is provided in Romaine 2002.

                                                                                                                                                                                  • de Varennes, Fernand. 1996. Language, minorities and human rights. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    An important treatment of linguistic rights by a legal expert. Among other things, de Varennes affirms linguistic rights to be inherent in human rights, discusses the right to minority-language medium education, and argues that indigenous minorities are entitled to special legal protection.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Faingold, Eduardo D. 2004. Language rights and language justice in the constitutions of the world. Language Problems and Language Planning 28.1: 11–24.

                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1075/lplp.28.1.03faiSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                      Examines the constitutions of 187 countries for the types of linguistic rights stated and, in the process, explains legal terms and concepts relating to language.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Freeland, Jane, and Donna Patrick, eds. 2004. Language rights and language survival. Manchester, UK: St. Jerome.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        A collection of sociolinguistic studies and two commentaries that critically examine the impact of the concept of “language rights” in actual language revitalization struggles. Conceptions of “language,” the ecological approach, and the stance of field researchers are also addressed.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • May, Stephen. 2001. Language and minority rights: Ethnicity, nationalism, and the politics of language. Harlow, UK: Longman.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          A seminal treatment of minority language rights. Drawing on discourses in a range of disciplines from linguistics to critical theory to law, and including many historical and current examples, May establishes concepts of language and of minority language rights that address common criticisms and are useful in revitalization situations.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Romaine, Suzanne. 2002. The impact of language policy on endangered languages. International Journal on Multicultural Societies 4.2: 194–212.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            A critical evaluation, based on many examples, of the effectiveness of language rights and other language policy in language revitalization. Argues that these have little impact unless they are part of a holistic sociolinguistic and ecological approach to speech communities. Reprinted in Matthias Koenig and Paul de Guchteneire, eds., Democracy and Human Rights in Multicultural Societies (Burlington, VT: Ashgate 2007), pp. 217–236.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Skutnabb-Kangas, Tove, and Robert Phillipson, eds. 1994. Linguistic human rights: Overcoming linguistic discrimination. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              This edited volume reviews the state of linguistic rights at the time of publication. It contains case studies or surveys from all continents, theoretical articles classifying linguistic rights and discussing their application/applicability, a history of linguistic rights, and an appendix of language rights documents dating from 1945 to 1992.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • United Nations General Assembly. 1992. Declaration on the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities. A/Res/47/135. 47th Session, 18 December 1992.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                A similar declaration on the rights of minorities. Minorities include linguistic minorities, and the rights include linguistic and cultural rights.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • United Nations General Assembly. 2007. United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples. A/Res/61/295. 107th Plenary Meeting Session, 13 September 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  This important declaration, which has been adopted by over 140 countries, includes cultural and linguistic rights and self-determination in such crucial areas as education.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights. 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    This declaration is worded such that endangered languages and small languages without official status (indigenous and nonindigenous) are particularly protected. Both individual and group rights are addressed in the political, cultural, and economic realms.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Language Revitalization in Practice

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hinton and Hale 2001 and Grenoble and Whaley 2006 (both cited under General Overviews) are the two main resources for engaging in language revitalization work. They contain practical, systematic guidance for developing revitalization projects, and they provide in-depth discussion of the main aspects of revitalization. There is also a series of ten handbooks Awakening Our Languages (see Indigenous Language Institute 2004–2009) that condense the main aspects of revitalization into very practical short manuals. Further excellent guidance on many aspects of language revitalization can be found in the Teaching Indigenous Languages Books series (cited under Journals and Series). Many case studies cited throughout this article show various ways of doing language revitalization. The subsections here focus on several major topics in the practice of language revitalization.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Indigenous Language Institute. 2004–2009. Awakening Our Languages. Santa Fe, NM: Indigenous Language Institute.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Short handbooks with the following titles: Vol. 1, Introduction; Vol. 2,Developing Materials and Activities for Language Learning; Vol. 3, Conducting a Language Survey; Vol. 4, Envisioning a Language Program; Vol. 5, Knowing Our Language Learners; Vol. 6, Knowing Our Language Teachers; Vol. 7, Training Our Language Teachers; Vol. 8, Designing Curriculum; Vol. 9, Evaluating Our Language Program; Vol. 10, Understanding First and Second Language Acquisition. Available for purchase online.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Language Pedagogy

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The section on “immersion” in Hinton and Hale 2001 (cited under General Overviews) contains hands-on discussion of pedagogies that are useful in language revitalization. A grassroots perspective on indigenous education is given in Reyhner 1997. Aimed primarily at indigenous educators and language activists, many papers in this collection illustrate creative methods of teaching or/and increasing a language’s prestige. Volumes 2 and 8 of the Awakening Our Languages handbooks (see Indigenous Language Institute 2004–2009, cited under Language Revitalization in Practice) also deal with pedagogy. Jon Reyhner’s website Teaching Indigenous Languages (cited under Reference Resources) is a rich resource for Indigenous and general language teaching, with online articles, books, bibliographies, and many, many links. For example, the subpage Second Language Teaching Methods has very useful information on second language pedagogies. Also posted on that website is Hinton 2003, which presents teaching strategies for languages in which there are no fluent teachers or very few pedagogical materials. Finally, Mellow 2000 gives a short overview of the main Western approaches to language teaching and discusses the purposes for which each might be appropriate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Hinton, Leanne. 2003. How to teach when the teacher isn’t fluent. In Nurturing native languages. Edited by Jon Reyhner, Octaviana V. Trujillo, Roberto Luis Carrasco, and Louise Lockard, 79–92. Flagstaff: Northern Arizona Univ. Center for Excellence in Education.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        A very helpful and practical discussion of strategies nonfluent teachers can use when teaching the language. The teaching strategies presented are valuable for all teachers of languages with few materials, including fluent teachers.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Mellow, Dean. 2000. An examination of western influences on indigenous language teaching. In Learn in beauty: Indigenous education for a new century. Edited by Jon Reyhner, Joseph Martin, Louise Lockard, and W. Sakiestewa Gilbert, 102–113. Flagstaff: Northern Arizona Univ. Center for Excellence in Education.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          A useful categorization of the main Western approaches to language teaching that enables language teachers to make informed choices about their teaching methods.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Reyhner, Jon, ed. 1997. Teaching indigenous languages. Papers presented at the fourth annual Stabilizing Indigenous Languages symposium held 1–3 May 1997 at Northern Arizona Univ. Flagstaff: Northern Arizona Univ. Center for Excellence in Education.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            The proceedings of the fourth Stabilizing Indigenous Languages symposium 1997 focuses on education. Practical articles by scholars and community members address teaching methods, teacher training, materials, and increasing language status.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Second Language Teaching Methods.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              Links to summaries, articles, and books about second language teaching methods: immersion, TPR, master-apprentice, and others.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              Language Nests and Immersion Schools

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Language nests are a form of child care entirely in the threatened language. The hope is that this immersion environment leads to natural acquisition of the language. Often language nests are followed by immersion schooling in the same language. Hill and May 2011 and King 2001 describe the Māori-medium education of New Zealand, where the language nests originated. A description of a similar system in Hawaii can be found in Wilson and Kamanā 2001. An interesting inside perspective on the Hawaii situation is provided by the bilingual website E Ola Ka ‘Olēlo Hawai‘i: The Hawaiian Language Shall Live. Kipp 2000 gives opinionated, inspiring advice, mainly on community immersion programs. Articles on all aspects of indigenous education can be found in the Journal of American Indian Education. Finally, the Alaska Standards for Culturally Responsive Schools are a good evaluation or planning guide for culturally (and linguistically) sensitive formal education.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Master-Apprentice Language Learning

                                                                                                                                                                                                              In the master-apprentice model, a younger language learner is paired with a fluent, “master” speaker of a critically endangered language. The two spend substantial amounts of time together, using only the master’s language. A comprehensive and practical guide to this model of language revitalization can be found in Hinton, et al. 2002.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Hinton, Leanne, Matt Vera, and Nancy Steele. 2002. How to keep your language alive: A commonsense approach to one-on-one language learning. Berkeley, CA: Heyday.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                The seminal manual on the master-apprentice program.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sleeping Languages

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The term sleeping languages describes situations in which a language has no more speakers but in which a desire exists to bring the language back into use. The section on sleeping languages in Hinton and Hale 2001 (cited under General Overviews) gives examples of ways in which sleeping languages have been, and can be, awakened. There is an entire chapter on Cornish. The articles are also a source of information on the Breath of Life Language Workshop held every even-numbered year in California. The documentary film Makepeace 2010 (cited under In the Media) tells the story of the revitalization of Wampanoag. Leonard 2007 documents and analyzes the revitalization of Miami in one family, and Warner, et al. 2009 describes efforts to create a “distance” speech community for the revival of Mutsun. In Australia, an important example is the revival of Kaurna, described in Amery 2000. For Kaurna, the approach has been not so much on creating fluency and eventually new first-language speakers, but on teaching formulaic language for important private and public functions. The revival of sleeping languages is also the focus of Current Issues in Language Planning (Kaplan 2001). The articles, among them one by Amery, discuss the types of language planning involved in such efforts, contrast these with more conventional language planning, and reflect on the concepts of endangered/extinct languages and language revitalization.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Amery, Rob. 2000. Warrabarna kaurna! Reclaiming an Australian language. Lisse, The Netherlands: Swets & Zeitlinger.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Describes in detail the revival of the sleeping Australian language Kaurna from an ecolinguistic perspective and explains the “formulaic method” of language revival.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Kaplan, Bob, and Dick Baldauf. 2001. Current Issues in Language Planning 2.2–3.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This issue is dedicated to language revitalization, particularly to the revival of sleeping languages. It contains an important article by Amery on the reawakening of Kaurna, two more case studies, plus conceptual articles by Fishman and others. Articles available online for purchase.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Leonard, Wesley. 2007. Miami language reclamation in the home: A case study. PhD., diss., Univ. of California, Berkeley.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      An interesting sociolinguistic study on the revitalization of Miami in one family, with special attention to the children’s acquisition of the language.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Warner, Natasha, Quirina Luna, Lynnika Butler, and Heather van Volkenburg. 2009. Revitalization in a scattered language community: Problems and methods from the perspective of Mutsun language revitalization. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 198:135–148.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A report on the reclamation of the sleeping Californian language Mutsun, which has no geographical base. Contains many useful methods and is also exemplary as a collaborative effort.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Literacy, Orthography, and Standardization

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Developing written materials is a component of many revitalization efforts. For languages with a primarily oral tradition, this may mean developing a writing system and a conventional way of spelling. The development of written materials also often brings up the delicate question of which variety (or varieties) of a language to represent in writing—the issue of standardization. Grenoble and Whaley 2006 (cited under General Overviews) deals with these topics extensively in two chapters, “Literacy” and “Orthography.” The “literacy” section in Hinton and Hale 2001 (also cited under General Overviews) contains a practical introduction and an interesting case study. These chapters are essential reading in preparation for literacy work. Another excellent introduction is Lüpke 2011. It treats modern technology trends, discussing, for example, the compatibility of written symbols with Unicode and the significance of the rise of texting in many parts of the world. The chapter also contains a clear discussion of di-, multi-, and exography—where a community uses different languages for oral and written communication. Besides the various technical and practical aspects of (developing) writing systems, an important theme in all these treatments is that successful revitalization projects must pay close attention to the social aspects of literacy (such as attitudes, religion, and history) and that careful community consultation is imperative in developing or standardizing orthographies. The articles in Hornberger 1997 provide an important “insider” perspective on literacy, reporting on a diversity of literacy development efforts in indigenous communities in the Americas. What emerges from this volume is the empowering effect of community-based (“bottom up”) literacy development. The collection also contains two papers on “traditional” or “indigenous” literacy, i.e., literacies that do not involve writing in the Western sense. An introduction, a conclusion, and a commentary chapter provide a theoretical framework and a wider perspective. Coulmas 2003 is a widely respected introduction to writing systems from a mainly technical linguistic perspective. It provides essential background knowledge for orthography development. Further technical considerations in orthography design or reform are provided in Venezky 2004 and Bird 1999. Venezky 2004 surveys linguistic and psycholinguistic reasons for deviating from the “one phoneme, one grapheme” principle. Bird 1999 addresses specifically the problem of marking tone, illustrating the challenges of the widely used practice of using diacritics for phonological information. These articles come from the journal Written Language & Literacy, which publishes linguistic and psycholinguistic articles on writing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Bird, Steven. 1999. Strategies for representing tone in African writing systems. Written Language & Literacy 2.1: 1–44.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1075/wll.2.1.02birSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Illustrates with African examples that tone marking can increase the difficulty of the orthography, reducing reading fluency and increasing writing mistakes. Strategies for representing tone are proposed.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Coulmas, Florian. 2003. Writing systems: An introduction to their linguistic analysis. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A linguistic introduction to writing systems. After explaining the nature of writing (as opposed to speaking), Coulmas discusses writing systems in terms of which linguistic units—phonemes, syllables, or words—are represented. The history of writing, the psycholinguistics, and the sociolinguistics of writing are also each treated in one chapter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Hornberger, Nancy. 1997. Indigenous literacies in the Americas: Language planning from the bottom up. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1515/9783110814798Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              An influential, frequently cited collection of reports and reflections on indigenous literacy development in the Americas. The sociolinguistic and ethnographic papers shed light on the political significance of literacy, the importance of community involvement/initiative, and the connections of literacy efforts to education and to language revitalization.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Lüpke, Friederike. 2011. Orthography development. In The Cambridge handbook of endangered languages. Edited by Peter K. Austin and Julia Sallabank, 312–336. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511975981Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Up-to-date consideration of modern technology and an interesting argument that situations may exist in which there is no “ecological niche” for literacy in a local language.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Venezky, Richard L. 2004. In search of the perfect orthography. Written Language & Literacy 7.2: 139–163.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1075/wll.7.2.02venSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A review of the linguistic and processing aspects of different types of (alphabetic, Roman) orthographies, critically reflecting on the principle of one-on-one correspondence between phoneme and grapheme.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Written Language & Literacy. 1998–.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Interesting articles on the linguistic, psycholinguistic, and acquisition dimensions of writing and reading. While most articles deal with major European languages, discussions of orthography development for endangered languages can also be found here.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Technology and Media

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Many revitalization projects use some form of technology or media, whether it is radio broadcasts in the language, videorecording, a facebook page, or a dictionary app. As technology changes so quickly, the best information can be found online. Several good websites discuss, and give advice, on everything from microphones to website programming to archiving: Both Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity(RNLD) and Online Resources for Endangered Languages(OREL) (cited under Reference Resources) have technology sections. Indigenous Languages and Technology is an online discussion forum that misses very little, and the E-MELD School of Best Practices in Digital Language Documentation has its own portal for community members. Holton 2011 is probably the best recent overview article on the uses of information technology for revitalization. The online journal Language Documentation and Conservation (cited under Journals and Series) contains useful tech reviews in every issue. Ward and van Genabith 2003 presents some principled solutions to technology challenges of endangered-language communities. Complete computer novices (and others) will find the introduction to a range of technologies for language revitalization in Penfield, et al. 2006 useful. General background and interesting case studies on IT in relation to indigenous communities can be found in Dyson, et al. 2007. Excellent additional references on technology for endangered languages can be found in the section “Technology, Media, Film” of Rogers and Campbell 2011 (cited under Language Endangerment), and in the section “Data Management” of Rice 2011 (cited under Language Documentation), the latter with a focus on fieldwork/documentation. The role of media—print, radio, television, Internet—for endangered languages is discussed in Cormack 2007 and also in the technology section of Hinton and Hale 2001 (cited under General Overviews). Godwin-Jones 2012 gives a current overview of the possibilities of video for language learning. Holton 2011, Cormack 2007, and Hinton and Hale 2001 (cited under General Overviews) are also valuable because they discuss the limitations and even possible dangers of technology and media.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Cormack, Mike, ed. 2007. Minority language media: Concepts, critiques, and case studies. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Theoretical reflections and case studies on the relation between minority languages and the media. The focus is exclusively on Europe, the region with perhaps the best-funded broadcasting in minority languages.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Dyson, Laurel Evelyn, Max Hendriks, and Stephen Grant, eds. 2007. Information technology and indigenous people. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A wide variety of theoretical papers and short case studies from all over the world about the interaction between indigenous people and information technology. Not focused on language per se, the book provides a wider context. It also contains sections on education and culture revitalization.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • E-MELD School of Best Practices in Digital Language Documentation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mostly concerned with digital capture and storage of language (hardware and software), but very useful for these topics, and you can “Ask an Expert.” The case studies explain how to access and convert older records into modern formats.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Godwin-Jones, Robert. 2012. Digital video revisited: Storytelling, conferencing, remixing. Language Learning & Technology 16.1: 1–9.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Discusses how recent trends in digital video, such as the increasing popularity of short lay videos, can be utilized in language teaching. Many of the ideas presented could be adapted to minority language situations in which some technology (mobile phones, computers) is available. Contains extensive links to resources and examples.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Holton, Gary. 2011. The role of information technology in supporting minority and endangered languages. In The Cambridge handbook of endangered languages. Edited by Peter K. Austin and Julia Sallabank, 371–399. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511975981Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              An excellent up-to-date review of technological tools for language revitalization that will help communities make good choices about technology.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Indigenous Languages and Technology (ILAT).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A very active online discussion forum. Membership is required to participate in the discussions, but the archives are accessible to the public and searchable.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Penfield, Susan, Phillip Cash Cash, Candace K. Galla, Tracy Williams, and Depree ShadowWalker. 2006. Technology-enhanced language revitalization. 2d ed. Phoenix: Arizona Board of Regents.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  An introduction to computer and software basics useful for language revitalization: word processing, graphics, audio editing, desktop publishing, CD-ROM creation. Many applications discussed are proprietary but widespread (e.g., Powerpoint, Photoshop). No previous computer knowledge is assumed.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Ward, Monica, and Josef van Genabith. 2003. CALL for endangered languages: Challenges and rewards. Computer Assisted Language Learning 16.2–3: 233–258.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1076/call.16.2.233.15885Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A clear overview of the special challenges endangered language situations represent for CALL (computer assisted language learning), with proposed solutions and one example. This paper is relevant for other computer technologies as well.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The Problem and Opportunity of Formal Education

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Formal education (i.e., education in primary and secondary schools) is an essential factor in the maintenance or decline of a language. Unfortunately, this is mostly obvious from the role education has played in suppressing or assimilating minorities. A seminal work in examining the global influence of education on minority children and their languages is Skutnabb-Kangas 2000. This wide-ranging, programmatic work argues from a human rights perspective that schooling must be partly or completely in the minority language. There are many models of minority-language education. A study cited frequently as empirical support for the effectiveness of long-term additive bilingual education is Thomas and Collier 2002. The effectiveness of different models of bilingual education in supporting minority languages is also discussed in Skutnabb-Kangas 2000. An excellent introduction to bilingual education in general is Baker 2011. A textbook but also a comprehensive reference, it develops an understanding of bilingualism and, from that grounding, moves on to a thorough discussion of bilingual education. A thinker of continuing importance to bilingual education, particularly regarding language proficiency and the desirability of additive bilingualism, is Jim Cummins. Cummins 2000 synthesizes much of his thinking. Closely related to bilingual education is biliteracy, “the use of two or more languages in or around writing” (Hornberger 2003, p. xii). Hornberger 2003 contains reprints of two foundational biliteracy papers and a number of studies of literacy in education in minority situations. While the book focuses on biliteracy, it is relevant and useful for bilingual education in general. A fundamental debate is ongoing on the role of formal education in language revitalization. Fishman 1991 and Fishman 2001 (both cited under Reversing Language Shift) argue that language teaching in schools is helpful only to the extent that it feeds into the key factor of language transmission in the home, and that the latter should be the priority in revitalization efforts. Others have argued that education can precede language transmission in the home or that it can become the main vehicle for generating new speakers. This seems to be the overall conclusion in Hornberger 2008, a collection dedicated precisely to this question, and also in Romaine 2006 (cited under Reversing Language Shift). Coronel-Molina and McCarty 2011 argues that formal (and nonformal) education can be very effective if it is well integrated in an enlightened language policy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Baker, Colin. 2011. Foundations of bilingual education and bilingualism. 5th ed. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      An up-to-date introductory textbook. Many accessible chapters address bilingualism in a comprehensive manner, which makes this book an excellent resource for anyone interested in bilingualism, from scholars to the educated public.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Coronel-Molina, Serafin, and Teresa L. McCarty. 2011. Language curriculum design and evaluation for endangered languages. In The Cambridge handbook of endangered languages. Edited by Peter K. Austin and Julia Sallabank, 354–370. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511975981Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Presents and evaluates immersion and bilingual education for Māori, Hawaiian, and Sámi. Also discusses the master-apprentice method for Californian languages and Quechua revitalization support through modern technology. Emphasis is placed on the importance of a holistic language policy.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Cummins, Jim. 2000. Language, power and pedagogy: Bilingual children in the crossfire. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Addresses topics such as language proficiency and assessment, pedagogy, language policy, and language ideology in bilingual education.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Hornberger, Nancy, ed. 2003. Continua of biliteracy: An ecological framework for educational policy, research and practice in multilingual settings. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The papers in this collection apply Hornberger’s “Continua of Biliteracy” framework to the analysis of bilingual education—policy, school and classroom practices, student and teacher experiences—and in doing so demonstrate how to understand, and change, bilingual educational settings in which one may find oneself.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Hornberger, Nancy, ed. 2008. Can schools save indigenous languages? Policy and practice on four continents. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave MacMillan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1057/9780230582491Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A combination of four case studies from around the globe and four commentary essays, this slim volume provides a critical evaluation of the role of schools in language revitalization.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Skutnabb-Kangas, Tove. 2000. Linguistic genocide in education, or worldwide diversity and human rights? Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Written by a scholar activist, this massive volume argues that assimilatory education policies are genocide and are based on a hegemonic politics that is guided by mistaken language ideologies. The worldwide decline of linguistic diversity is linked to these factors. Thought-provoking and full of useful information.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Thomas, Wayne P., and Virginia Collier. 2002. A national study of school effectiveness for language minority students’ long-term academic achievement: Final report. Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  An important longitudinal study showing that the best predictor of the academic achievement of minority-language children is the length of instruction (number of years) in their first language.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Training

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Training in all aspects of language revitalization is in increasing demand among community members, students of linguistics and other disciplines, researchers, and educators. Online overviews of training opportunities can be found on RNLD’s page Regional and International Capacity Development Programs and on the website of the CTLDC (Consortium for Training in Language Documentation and Conservation). The former website offers an extensive list of links to training opportunities all over the world. The page is slightly out of date (c. 2010) but still very useful. The latter website is not yet as comprehensive, but more up-to-date.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Summer Schools and General Programs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In Europe, Dynamique du Langage 3L Summer School is a summer school in language documentation and revitalization, primarily for linguists. It is conducted in English, Spanish, and French. Two summer schools that offer training in all aspects of language revitalization for language teachers and community members are American Indian Language Development Institute (AILDI) in the United States and Canadian Indigenous Languages and Literacy Development Institute (CILLDI) in Canada. Also targeted at community members is the University of Victoria’s Aboriginal Language Revitalization Program. Documenting and Revitalizing Indigenous Languages (DRIL) offers free customized local training for Australian Aboriginal community members. Another excellent summer program is Co-Lang (formerly InField). It targets both community members and linguists who want to increase their skills in language revitalization and documentation. Training in the reawakening of sleeping languages is provided in the Breath of Life Workshop at the University of California, Berkeley.

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