In almost every part of the world, minority languages are threatened with
extinction. At the same time, dedicated efforts are being made to document
endangered languages, to maintain them, and even to revive once-extinct
The present volume examines a wide range of issues that concern language
endangerment and language revitalization. Among other things, it is shown
that languages may be endangered to different degrees, endangerment
situations in selected areas of the world are surveyed and definitions of
language death and types of language death presented. The book also
examines causes of language endangerment, speech behaviour in a language
endangerment situation, structural changes in endangered languages, as well
as types of speakers encountered in a language endangerment situation. In
addition, methods of documentation and of training for linguists are
proposed which will enable scholars to play an active role in the
documentation of endangered languages and in language revitalization.
The book presents a comprehensive overview of the field. It is clearly
written and contains ample references to the relevant literature, thus
providing useful guidance for further research. The author often draws on
his own experience of documenting endangered languages and of language
revival activities in Australia.
The volume is of interest to a wide readership, including linguists,
anthropologists, sociologists, and educators.
Tasaku Tsunoda is Professor at the University of Tokyo, Japan.
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