ELL: An open question about conference topics

endangered-languages-l at carmen.murdoch.edu.au endangered-languages-l at carmen.murdoch.edu.au
Mon Mar 15 14:57:00 UTC 1999

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From: tsc_msea at SIL.ORG
Date: Mon, 15 Mar 1999 09:57:00 -0500
Subject: ELL: An open question about conference topics
To: endangered-languages-l at carmen.murdoch.edu.au
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To: Nicholas Ostler (and other organizers of the FEL conference)
From: Tom Tehan (Payap University, Chiangmai Thailand)

Dear Nick,

A friend and I have been preparing a paper for the FEL confernce
coming up in September. Some of the discussion on the e-discussion
list has prompted some questions in our minds about the suitability of
the paper for the conference.

We were writing about about a group of 150,000 people. By most
standards this language is not endangered, and probably will not
become endangered in the short run. However, the group has undergone a
great deal of social upheaval and has taken specific steps to maintain
its language and culture.

Most of the languages that were talked about at the last FEL
conference were quite a bit smaller than this. (Although there was a
paper on Flemish, which has 5.6 million speakers in Belgium.)

I thought I would submit my question to the whole e-list for
discussion because I think many subscribers would have interesting
thoughts to add. The question has to do with what is a minority
language/group, a vernacular language, a threatened language/group, or
an endangered language.

So finally I come to the question:

Is it appropriate to address the topic of 'how a minority language
community in a situation where language maintenance is not encouraged
(in fact, it is actually discouraged) and facing extreme disruption is
taking active steps to maintain and promote their own language' at the
upcoming FEL conference?

Thank you for your response on this topic.
Tom Tehan

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