Summary: Films on Endangered Languages

Ole Stig Andersen osa at OLESTIG.DK
Mon May 16 07:41:36 UTC 2005

Dear List

May 5  I posted a query to three lists: Endangered-Languages, Linguist and

"I am looking for TV documentaries and films about Endangered Languages, or
where language endangerment or revitalization is part of the story told."
The query yielded some 80 films, ranging from 2 minute TV spots over many
classic half-hour documentaries to a handfull of full-length feature movies
that may not be documentaries proper as much as revitalization projects in
their own right.

Most of them portray the situation of a single lg and/or a variety of
revitalisation efforts. A few tell the history of the destruction of a
particular language.

A third of the films are part of a a single impressive production: the
Canadian Finding Our Talk series of 26 half-hour films, all available in
four lgs. There are som ten further films from the Americas, about a dozen
on Finno-Ugric lgs of Norteastern Europe and similarly for Australia.

Except for the Archives of Babel series of small TV spots the query did not
elicit a single pointer to films about endangered African or South Asian
lgs. In general, the list leaves the unoffshakable impression that (some)
endangered lgs of the Rich are somewhat better off, publicitywise at least,
than the Rest, which is of course no wonder.

About a quarter of the films are (also) available online. Others are on VHS,
DVD and 35 mm film. A few are probably not available.

I have put up a webpage with detailed information ­ as far as I have it now
- on the 80 films: a tiny presentation of each, the lg(s) featured, lg
versions available, format, duration etc. There you'll also find links and
contact information on the film, the producer or distributor.

I believe this overview lists the majority of available
TV/Film-documentaries on endangered lgs. I'm looking forward to corrections,
additional information, further films etc.

I thank those who responded to the query and have credited them on the web

Apologies for cross-posting.

Ole Stig Andersen

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