[lg policy] Fwd: Google Alert - language policy

Brookes, Tim brookes at champlain.edu
Fri Jun 30 10:40:04 EDT 2017


The World’s Endangered Alphabets



Dear language friends:


The other day, at a conference, someone asked me, "So which alphabets *are*
endangered? Do you have a list?" Which stopped me in my tracks because I
know which alphabets I've carved, and which I know I'd like to carve, but
as far as I know there's no catalogue of endangered writing systems. So we
should create one.

I say "we" because I'm constantly reminded how little I know, and how this
field is changing and the definitions are flexible. I'd like to offer two
things: a first-draft list of endangered writing systems for you all to add
to, edit, or subtract from; and a first-draft definition of "endangered."
Both are pretty volatile subjects, so let's head into this in a spirit of
collaboration!



I guess we should start with the definition, though this may in fact be the
more difficult of the two. The way I think of an endangered writing system,
it includes at least some of these qualities:



1.     Originally created/developed/adapted for general use, not only for
the purposes of fiction/film/TV

2.     Once in general use by at least a significant minority of the
population

3.     Not extinct—that is, still in use by some percentage of the
population, even if only in a specialized context (such as for
spiritual/sacred purposes)

4.     No longer generally taught in schools

5.     Lacking official status in the eyes of the government

6.     Facing a clear and present danger from some cultural, military,
political or economic threat that has the capacity to marginalize it within
two generations

7.     Having certain distinct qualities that make it different from other
members of the same language family

Please by all means suggest edits!



Now here’s my list of endangered alphabets, derived largely from Omniglot,
though I must stress I know very little about many of these
languages/writing systems, and I’m sure there are others I don’t know.
That’s why I’m reaching out to you!



Ahom

Arakanese

Assyrian/Neo-Aramaic

Bagatha

Balinese

Bamum/Shupamom

Bassa Vah

Batak

Bats

Baybayin

Berber/Tifinagh/Tamazight

Bilang-Bilang

Bugis/Lontara

Buhid

Chakma

Cham (Eastern and Western)

Cherokee

Chu-Nom

Cree

Dene Syllabics (Carrier)

Eskayan

Glagolitic

Grantha

Hanuno’o

Inuktitut

Javanese

Kalmyk

Kawi

Khojki

Kpelle

Kulitan

Lampung

Lanna (Northern Thai)

(Loma)

Makasar

Maldivian/Thaana

Manchu

Mandaic

Manipuri

Marma

(Mende/Kikakui)

Mongolian

Mro

Naxi/Dongba

New Tai Lue

N’Ko

Nushu

Pauauh Hmong

Rejang/Bengkulu/Satera Jontal/Lembak/Lintang/Lebong/Serawai/Kaganga

Samaritan

Sorang Sompeng

Sui

Sundanese

Sylheti/Syloti-Nagri

Syriac

Tai Dam

Vai

Wolof/Garay

Yi



Thanks!

Tim Brookes

www.endangeredalphabets.com

On Thu, Jun 29, 2017 at 10:38 AM, Harold Schiffman <hfsclpp at gmail.com>
wrote:

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