Films and website on endangered languages

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Tue May 17 13:37:05 UTC 2005

Forwarded from  LINGUIST List 16.1562

Mon May 16 2005

Sum: Films and Documentaries on Endangered Languages

Message 1: Films and Documentaries on Endangered Languages
Date: 16-May-2005
From: Ole Stig Andersen <>
Subject: Films and Documentaries on Endangered Languages

Regarding query:

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

Ole Stig Andersen

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