Endangered Languages (Summer 2015)

Welcome to my class on Endangered Languages!
Time and place: Monday, 1:30-3:00 pm, room 323 in Collegium Novum, Building B

Review questions!!!

Fifteenth lecture (08/06/2015)

Teacher’s presentation

Fourteenth lecture (01/06/2015)

(no presentations, handouts paper only)

Links to material and websites discussed in class:

Thirteenth lecture (25/05/2015)

If you missed the class, please read the presentation and the handout, watch some of the clips and do some of the tasks on the handout!

Twelfth lecture (18/05/2015)

Teacher’s presentation: EndLgs-1805xv

Texts mentioned in the lecture (recommended reading)

Lewis, Paul & Simon, Gary. 2010. Assessing endangerment: Expanding Fishman’s GIDS. Revue Roumaine de Linguistique 55(2):103–120

Tehan, Thomas M. & Nahhas, Ramzi W. 2008. Mpi present and future: Reversing Language Shift. Mon Khmer Studies 38, 87-104.

Additional reading: Nettle & Romaine, Chapter 8 (in the reading section)

Eleventh lecture (11/05/2015)

Students’ presentations

Tenth lecture (04/05/2015)

Teachers’ presentation: Introduction to language documentation

Please find the homework on pages 15, 16 and 18 of the presentation (and do it)!

Ninth lecture (27/04/2015)

Teacher’s presentation: see tenth lecture

Includes homework.
The text by Ulrike Mosel can be found in the reading section.

Students’ presentations

Eigth lecture (20/04/2015)
The text where David Crystal formulates 5 reasons why we should care (about language endangerment) is in the reading section.

Students’ presentations:

  • Laura Gómez Saldarriaga: Wayuunaiki
  • The video where the text on the handout is spoken can be found here on YouTube. And here is a clip where language relationship is experienced by „normal” people 🙂
  • Paulina Kazmucha: Jejuo
  • The video clip Paulina selected can be found here. It is funny!

Homework to substitute the lecture on Monday, April 13:

Sixth lecture (30/03/2015)
Students’ presentations:

  • Bernard Baker: Mohawk
  • Amaia Oliden Manterola: Basque

Fifth lecture (23/03/2015)
Students’ presentations:

  • Jaime Gomez: Kalmyk
  • Zuzanna Posiła: Livonian
  • Karol Tobolski: Thao (waiting for references!)

Fourth lecture (16/03/2015)
Students’ presentations:

Third lecture (09/03/2015)

Second lecture (02/03/2015)

First lecture (23/02/2015): Teacher’s presentation

Reading: There are several good books on endangered languages availabe in our libraries, some of them as e-books (you need an account of the university library for access). This is my favorite:

Nicholas Evans: Dying words. Endangered Languages and what they have to tell us. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

Read the Prologue to this book here.

Course description and learning outcomes
Endangered languages have become a key issue in contemporary linguistics and neighboring fields. The aim of this course is to raise students’ awareness of the importance of the topic and to introduce them to results and methods of current research. Through case studies they will learn about different types of endangerment, reasons for language death, and practices that further language maintenance and revitalization. In addition they will learn basic principles and techniques of modern language documentation.
Students will practice their skills in gathering and critically evaluating information, using online resources and accessing digital language archives. They develop further their skills in reading academic English and giving presentations in English.
Interested students will have the opportunity to develop their own research plan (for example, for a BA or MA thesis).

Content and teaching methods

  • Introduction: basic facts about the world’s linguistic diversity; basic concepts, questions, and resources in the study of endangered languages; organizational matters (1 lecture)
  • Language endangerment: What does it mean for a language to be endangered? Why do languages die? What are different types and degrees of endangerment? What do we lose when a language dies? (2 lectures with discussion and exercises)
  • Case studies of individual endangered languages (3 lectures with students’ presentations)
  • Language documentation: current standards, basic techniques and tools (3 lectures with exercises)
  • Language maintenance and revitalization: What can be done to save a language? (3-4 lectures with students’ presentations of case studies)
  • Summary and assessment (1-2 lectures)

Requirements (for 3 ECTS)

  • Regular attendance and homework (reading, gathering information from Internet sources, solving exercises)
  • 2 presentations about an endangered language (according to a given plan; the two presentations may concern the same languages)
  • Adequate language skills: lecture and presentations will be given in English. Resources will be in English or other languages (Spanish, Russian, German, Polish and others, depending on availability and students’ preferences). Knowledge of languages other than English is not required, but may be of advantage.

Get hooked!
Visit the portal languagesindanger.eu and start your journey into the world of lesser known and endangered languages! (Website developed at Adam Mickiewicz University, available in English, Polish, German and Hungarian)