Languages are dying at an alarming rate all over the world. Estimates range from 50% to as much as 90% by the end of the century. This collection of original papers tries to strike a balance between theoretical, practical and descriptive approaches to language death and language maintenance. It provides overviews of language endangerment in Africa, Eurasia, and the Greater Pacific Area. It also presents case studies of endangered languages from various language families. These descriptive case studies not only provide data on the degree of endangerment and the causes of language death, but also provide a general sociolinguistic and typological characterization the language(s) under discussion and the prospects of language maintenance (if any). The volume will be of interest to all those concerned with the ongoing extinction of the world’s linguistic diversity.
Contributions: Mark Janse: Introduction: Language death and language maintenance: problems and prospects; Paul Newman: The endangered languages issue as a hopeless cause; Stephen A. Wurm: The language situation and language endangerment in the Greater Pacific area; Aone van Engelhoven: Language endangerment in Indonesia: Teun, Nila and Serua; Giovanni Stary: Sibe: an endangered language; Stefan Georg: The gradual disappearance of a Eurasian language family: the case of Yeniseyan; Rogier Blokland & Cornelius Hasselblatt: The endangered Uralic languages; Astrid Menz: Endangered Turkic languages: the case of Gagauz; Maarten Mous: Loss of linguistic diversity in Africa; Graziano Savà: Ongota (Birale), a moribund language of Southwest Ethiopia; Andrew Haruna: The Gùrdùη language of the Southern Bauchi area, Nigeria; Han Steenwijk: Resian as a minority language.