criteria for endangerment

nancy lutz nlutz at
Thu Dec 5 14:58:22 UTC 1996

Dear All,
     I heartily second Nicholas Ostler's discussion! Having just
     finished a unit on Endangered Languages in my (Anthropology)
     Language and Culture course, I couldn't agree more. And I think this
     really points up how both linguists and anthropologists can and
     should work together on this issue. The social factors alone don't
     predict/explain language use, nor do the structural features of the
     languages at issue, or even knowledge of some of the bilingual/
     multilingual dynamics in an area. You really do have to look at both
     of these sides together. Too bad we can't have more actual collaborative
     projects between linguists and anthropologists tackling some of these
     issues -- it would certainly provide a depth that neither side alone
     can do. Maybe this would also be a good topic for a symposium panel
     somewhere? If there have been good examples that could serve as models,
     etc. Or maybe to encourage such research? I know that AAA (American
     Anthropological Association) would be open to such a panel, maybe other
     conference fora would be as well. Discussion and suggestions welcome!


     Endangered-Languages-L Forum:
     endangered-languages-l at
     Web pages
     Subscribe/unsubscribe and other commands: majordomo at

     Date: Thu, 05 Dec 1996 17:23:28 +0500
     From: Mahendra Verma <mkv1 at>
     Subject: Re: criteria for endangerment
     To: endangered-languages-l at
     In-Reply-To: <Pine.SOL.3.94.961205085252.2688C-100000 at cougar>
     MIME-Version: 1.0
     Sender: owner-endangered-languages-l at
     Precedence: bulk
     Reply-To: endangered-languages-l at
     Content-Type: text/PLAIN; CHARSET="US-ASCII"
     Content-Length: 1282

     Dear All

     Further to what Nicholas has said I would like to add that an
     understanding of
     language endangerment should not be dependent on  linguistic and
     micro-sociolinguistic analysis of the language that one was studying. It
     be a very rewarding exercise for the linguistic to do. But it is very
     important to have a framework that would embrace the perceptions and
     of the members of this speech community about endangerment of their
     Too often linguists reject that or shy away from that because they think
     was political. The whole issue has to be understood in a wider global
     perspective as far as loss of languages is concerned. Transplanted
     generally aspire to become bilingual by adding a new language in their
     home. But in many cases such speech communities' language and heritage
     endangered as a result of the monolingual language policies. Quite often
     are linguistically and culturally disfranchised. The criteria for
     endangerment will have to move away from 'pure' linguistic criteria.

     Endangered-Languages-L Forum:
     endangered-languages-l at
     Web pages
     Subscribe/unsubscribe and other commands: majordomo at

More information about the Endangered-languages-l mailing list