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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Academic Paper

Title: A long way from New York City: Socially stratified contact-induced phonological convergence in Ganluo Ersu (Sichuan, China)
Author: Katia Chirkova
Author: James Stanford
Author: Dehe Wang
Linguistic Field: Phonology; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: Ersu
Abstract: Labov's classic study, The Social Stratification of English in New York City (1966), paved the way for generations of researchers to examine sociolinguistic patterns in many different communities (Bell, Sharma, & Britain, 2016). This research paradigm has traditionally tended to focus on Western industrialized communities and large world languages and dialects, leaving many unanswered questions about lesser-studied indigenous minority communities. In this study, we examine whether Labovian models for age, sex, and social stratification (Labov, 1966, 2001; Trudgill, 1972, 1974) may be effectively applied to a small, endangered Tibeto-Burman language in southwestern China: Ganluo Ersu. Using new field recordings with 97 speakers, we find evidence of phonological change in progress as Ganluo Ersu consonants are converging toward Chinese phonology. The results suggest that when an endangered language undergoes convergence toward a majority language due to intense contact, this convergence is manifested in a socially stratified way that is consistent with many of the predictions of the classic Labovian sociolinguistic principles.


This article appears IN Language Variation and Change Vol. 30, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site .

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