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Vanishing Languages in Context

Ideological, Attitudinal and Social Identity Perspectives


Martin Pütz and Neele Mundt

This volume grew out of the 36th International LAUD Symposium, which was held in March 2014 at the University of Koblenz-Landau in Landau, Germany. There is general consensus among language experts that slightly more than half of today’s 7,000 languages are under severe threat of extinction even within fifty to one hundred years. The 13 papers contained in this volume explore the dramatic loss of linguistic diversity, why this matters, and what can be done and achieved to document and support endangered languages especially in the context of an ever increasing globalized world. The issue of vanishing languages is discussed from a variety of methodologies and perspectives: sociolinguistics, language ecology, language contact, language policy/planning, attitudes and linguistic inequalities.
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The contributions in this volume represent a selection of the papers that were read at the 36th International LAUD Symposium devoted to the theme “Endangerment of Languages across the Planet: The Dynamics of Linguistic Diversity and Globalization” in Landau, Germany (March 31 – April 3, 2014). The papers were mainly concerned with the current status and fate of endangered languages worldwide, their language ecology and globalization, language policy/planning and ideology as well as language documentation. In view of the alarming disappearance of today’s languages the conference organizers felt the need to explore the reasons and consequences behind this enormous loss of linguistic and cultural diversity. A second accompanying volume stemming from the Landau conference has been edited by Luna Filipović & Martin Pütz (forthc.) entitled “Endangered Languages and Languages in Danger: Issues of Documentation, Policy and Language Rights”.

Numerous colleagues and students have assisted in preparing this volume. We would like to thank our co-organizer Monika Reif for her enthusiasm and kind support as well as the organizing staff of the symposium, in particular Conny Fink, Freya Hemesoth and Tim-Oliver Paul whose eagerness and diligence certainly contributed to the success of the symposium. We would also like to express our gratitude to the external reviewers who dedicated their time and expertise to reviewing the papers and responding with useful and constructive feedback to the authors: Felix Banda, Alan Baxter, Gale Goodwin Gómez, Herbert Igboanusi, Alfred Majewicz, Sinfree B. Makoni, John M. Kirk, Ireri Mbaabu, Padraig...

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