Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

E-mail this page

Conference Information

Full Title: 5th Endangered and Lesser-known Languages Conference

Short Title: ELKL-5
Location: Ranchi, Jharkhand, India
Start Date: 24-Feb-2017 - 26-Feb-2017
Contact: Sudhanshu Shekhar
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting URL:
Meeting Description: Human Language is one of the most dynamic systems. It comprises the ecological interaction from swathe of players. This interaction is under the threat of endangerment and thus pushing the globe towards homogeneity. Every language is a repository for the culture and worldview of its speakers. Its grammar and lexicon store the shared experiences of past generations, and through this channel, knowledge and beliefs of one generation are transmitted to the next. It confers a sense of identity upon its native speakers. At present there are at least 6000 living languages across the world. Of them, 330 languages have more than one million speakers each and there are about 51 languages with only one speaker each. David Crystal believes that only 4 % languages in the world are spoken by 96 % of the total world human population and incidentally, only 4% of people speak the remaining 96% of the world languages. Gradually these 96 % of the world languages spoken by only 4% people are shifting, decaying or dying out.

It is an admitted fact that a large number of the world's languages have diminishing number of speakers and they are on the brink of falling silent. It is a terrifying situation considering the fact that loss of languages will not only make the world a more homogeneous and boring place but also a more vulnerable place with our survival itself at stake. This may sound like an overstatement to the whole lot of uninitiated beings on our planet but it is not.

While the knowledge contained in the language is one of the most compelling and oft-quoted reasons to ''save'' the diversity, it is not the only reason to do it. Since long it has been argued that languages are one of the most explicit and easier ways of understanding human brain and human beings itself. Each language is capable of giving unique and exciting insights into the complex and amazing ways human brain functions. Losing a language would entail losing those brilliant insights into one of the most complex creations of Nature.

In addition to this, language also gives a dignity, an identity to the human life itself. Without one's own language to claim and fall back on, a major part of anybody's identity is lost.

The policies, planning and language ideologies are instilled with a powerful symbolism that is often linked to questions of identity, with the suppression or failure to recognise and support a given endangered variety and the voices and communities from the margins.

This conference hopes to ignite discussions and debates as to how and whether the interfaces among policy, planning, scripts and language documentation can affect the fortunes of endangered varieties.
Linguistic Subfield: Anthropological Linguistics; Language Documentation
LL Issue: 27.4705

Calls and Conferences main page