Book notice: Encyclopedia of the World's Endangered Languages

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Thu Jun 5 15:09:40 UTC 2008

   Encyclopedia of the World's Endangered Languages  Original URL:

-- The concern for the fast-disappearing language stocks of the world has
arisen particularly in the past decade, as a result of the impact of
globalization. This book appears as an answer to a felt need: to catalogue
and describe those languages, making up the vast majority of the world's six
thousand or more distinct tongues, which are in danger of disappearing
within the next few decades. Endangerment is a complex issue, and the
reasons why so many of the world's smaller, less empowered languages are not
being passed on to future generations today are discussed in the book's
introduction. The introduction is followed by regional sections, each
authored by a notable specialist, combining to provide a comprehensive
listing of every language which is likely to disappear within the next few
decades. Each regional section comprises an introduction that deals with
problems of language preservation peculiar to the area, surveys of known
extinct languages, and problems of classification. The introduction is
followed by a list of all known languages within the region, endangered or
not, arranged by genetic affiliation, with endangered and extinct languages
marked. This listing is followed by entries covering each language listed as
endangered. Useful maps are provided to pinpoint the more complex clusters
of smaller languages. The Encyclopedia therefore provides in a single
resource: expert analysis of the current language policy situation in every
multilingual country and on every continent, detailed descriptions of
little-known languages from all over the world, and clear alphabetical
entries, region by region, of all the world's languages currently thought to
be in danger of extinction. The Encyclopedia of the Worlds Endangered
Languages will be a necessary addition to all academic linguistics
collections and will be a useful resource for a range of readers with an
interest in development studies, cultural heritage and international
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