Category Archives: language

Aspects of Yaghnobi Grammar – Thesis Finished! « The Yaghnobi

In December of last year I submitted my MA thesis, Aspects of Yaghnobi Grammar to the graduate school of the University of Oregon and it has been accepted. You can read or download it here: Aspects of Yaghnobi Grammar – Thesis Finished!

Language Documentation & Conservation – Online Journal « Living Languages

A new free, peer-reviewed linguistics journal was announced in this post on Living Languages:

The e-journal Language Documentation & Conservation (LD&C) was launched last month by the University of Hawai‘i Press to journal endangered language issues.

2nd Annual Endangered Language Programme Workshop

The NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research) Endangered Language Research Programme (ELP) will hold its 2nd International Workshop September 7, 2007,  at the University of Amsterdam. The theme of the workshop is Language Description and Linguistic Typology. The  keynote speakers will be Dr Peter Austin (SOAS, London), and Dr Claire Moyse-Faurie (CNRS-LACITO, Paris). Read more at:  NWO – Invitation to the 2nd International ELP Workshop, September 7, 2007 .

Language Documentation Courses in Oregon

The University of Oregon Department of Linguistics and the Northwest Indian Language Institute (NILI) announce the 2007 session in Language Documentation June 25 – July 20 2007, Eugene, Oregon

As documenting languages takes on greater importance, there is a growing need for well-trained fieldworkers who are prepared to collaborate with community members. There are few places where students can gain practical, hands-on experience. The UO Linguistics Department focuses on lesser-known languages and empirical work. NILI has a ten-year history of working with tribes, communities and endangered languages. We look forward to having you join us! Continue reading

UNESCO World Language Documentation Centre Opens

On May 9th, UNESCO officially launched the World Language Documentation Centre.  While the WLDC has a mission broadly defined as “championing linguistic research and facilitating the needs of linguistic communities”, they initially seem to be focused primarily on promoting multilingualism in cyberspace. The OmegaWiki  is an example of the type of initiative in which they are currently involved. The prime sponsor of the WLDC is GeoLang (the successor to Linguishphere) who is the registration authority for the ISO 639-6 database. (The ISO 639-6 standard is a system for identifying not only languages, but also variants within each language.) Continue reading

Universal Grammar Ghosts « The Language Realm

The Language Realm blog reports:

A new chapter in the debate about Chomsky’s theory of universal grammar has opened up with real excitement. So even if you’re not into hard-core linguistics and have only heard of UG, read on. It’s worth it.

The story starts with field research nicely summarized on Physorg. The key point is that Daniel L. Everett, a linguist at Illinois State University, claims that the language Pirahã lacks certain fundamental features that UG predicts and requires.

Read it here:  The Language Realm Blog Universal Grammar Ghosts «
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Notes on Language Endangerment

An endangered language is one that is likely to entirely cease being spoken within a few generations. This kind of language death is not the same as the gradual change undergone by “dead” ancient languages like Latin which did not suddenly cease to be spoken, but that slowly evolved into something new. In the case of Latin, it evolved into the modern romance languages like French and Italian.

Language extinction occurs as speakers of minority languages come under economic, social, and/or political pressure to adopt the majority language being spoken around them (Woodbury 2000). The pressure exerted by major world languages is evidenced by the fact that 50% of the world’s population speak one of the top 12 world languages (Ostler 2005:526). A language becomes extinct when all the members of the new generation have adopted the language of the outside majority and the last older generation speaker of the minority language has died.

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