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LINGUIST List 16.1858

Mon Jun 13 2005

Confs: General Ling/Viterbo, Lazio, Italy

Editor for this issue: Amy Wronkowicz <amylinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Amedeo De Dominicis, Conference on Undescribed & Endangered Languages

Message 1: Conference on Undescribed & Endangered Languages
Date: 11-Jun-2005
From: Amedeo De Dominicis <dedominiunitus.it>
Subject: Conference on Undescribed & Endangered Languages

Conference on Undescribed & Endangered Languages

Date: 29-Sep-2005 - 29-Sep-2005
Location: Viterbo, Lazio, Italy
Contact: Amedeo De Dominicis
Contact Email: dedominiunitus.it
Meeting URL: http://www.obiettivouomoambiente.com/

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics

Meeting Description:

At present, most human languages are spoken by exceedingly few people. And that
majority, the majority of languages, is about to vanish.

Ethnologue, the most authoritative source on the languages of the world, lists
just over 6,500 living languages. Population figures are available for just over
6,000 of them (or 92%). Of these 6,000, 52% are spoken by fewer than 10,000
people; 28% by fewer than 1,000; and 83% are restricted to single countries, and
so are particularly exposed to the policies of a single government. On the other
hand, 10 major languages, each spoken by more than 109 million people, are the
mother tongues of almost half (49%) of the world's population.

This loss of linguistic diversity is weakening the unique ethnoscientific
knowledge hidden in such languages.

From the scientific point of view, the loss of a knowledge system also implies
another kind of loss. Linguistics, anthropology, prehistory and psychology lose
another precious source of data, another diverse and unique way the human mind
can use to express itself through a language structure and vocabulary.
Particularly, linguistic theories miss a crucial part of their objects because
the value of endangered or undescribed languages often lies in the complexity
that characterises them and and through which they challenge linguistic theories.

That is the reason why in the title of this conference we put together
'undescribed and endangered languages': both cases induce a loss in linguistic
knowledge and in the complexity of linguistic theories.

10:00-10:30 Welcoming Remarks

10:30-11:15 Suzanne Romaine (Merton College, University of Oxford): Planning
for survival- some responses to language endangerment.

11:15-12:00 Ian Maddieson (University of California, Berkeley): Endangered
Languages, Endangered Sounds.

12:00-12:45 Peter Ladefoged (University of California, Los Angeles): Archiving
the sounds of an endangered language.

12:45-13:30 Maurizio Gnerre (Istituto Universitario Orientale, Napoli): Fading
out voices, prosodies and rhythms: a neglected aspect of language endangerment.

13:30-15:30 Lunch Break

15:30-16:15 Roberto Ajello (Universita' di Pisa): The importance of having a
description of the endangered languages: the case of Gizey (Cameroon).

16:15-17:00 Antonino Melis (Universite' de N'Djamena, Tchad): Ham: une langue
et une culture en danger de disparition au Tchad.

17:00-17:45 Amedeo De Dominicis (Universita' della Tuscia, Viterbo): Tonal
patterns of Gizey (Cameroon): first description and language preservation.

Languages of the conference: English and French.

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