small vital languages

Nicholas Evans nicholas.evans at ANU.EDU.AU
Fri Dec 24 01:12:51 UTC 2010

Nen (Morehead District, PNG) is spoken in just one village by a little under 300 people. It is being transmitted completely to young people. People from 12-45, especially men, speak excellent English as well (not Tok Pisin), and most people speak at least one language from a neighbouring village (typically Nambu or Idi), usually because their mother comes from there. People marrying in to the village generally learn Nen. So my impression is that this is a stable situation of small language vitality, embedded in a culture of traditional multilingualism.
Nick Evans

----- Original Message -----
From: Bill Poser <billposer2 at>
Date: Friday, December 24, 2010 11:53 am
Subject: Re: small vital languages
To: Steven Bird <sb at>
Cc: rnlist <r-n-l-d at>

> Steven,
> Dogrib in the Northwest Territories (Canada)  is reportedly still being learned and by young children and spoken by all age groups. There are estimated to be about 2,600 speakers.
> Bill

Prof. Nicholas Evans
Head, Linguistics, 
School of Culture, History and Language
ANU College of Asia-Pacific, ANU
ACT 0200 Australia
Tel. 61  0 2 6125 0028
Fax. 61  0 2 6125 1463

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