Reviving Unique Words: The Niche of Scientific Names
By David Nash
The concept of ‘endangered word’ is defined. The possibility of a word being ‘the same
word’ across more than one language allows for recognition of degrees of endangerment of a
word. The rarer a word is cross-linguistically, the more it is at risk of fading away. A minor way
to continue an endangered word, and thereby reduce its endangerment, is to incorporate it into
scientific terminology, in particular into a standard biological (Linnæan) name. Some examples
are given of how scientific borrowing has popularised words from severely disused languages,
and of recent adoption of terms from currently endangered languages.
Sally Thomason has a new book chapter out on the pitfalls of documenting endangered languages. Book details follow:
Responses to Language Endangerment
In honor of Mickey Noonan
Edited by Elena Mihas, Bernard Perley, Gabriel Rei-Doval and Kathleen Wheatley
This volume further complicates and advances the contemporary perspective on language endangerment by examining the outcomes of the most commonly cited responses to language endangerment, i.e. language documentation, language revitalization, and training. The present collection takes stock of many complex and pressing issues, such as the assessment of the degree of language endangerment, the contribution of linguistic scholarship to language revitalization programs, the creation of successful language reclamation programs, the emergence of languages that arise as a result of revitalization efforts after interrupted transmission, the ethics of fieldwork, and the training of field linguists and language educators. The volume’s case studies provide detailed personal accounts of fieldworkers and language activists who are grappling with issues of language documentation and revitalization in the concrete physical and socio-cultural settings of native speaker communities in different regions of the world.
The embargo on freely downloadable chapters has now ended. As a result all sections can be downloaded from:
Of course, printed and bound copies make great Xmas gifts, and can still be ordered online at:
Many resources from the SIL’s old “Australian Aborigines Branch” (now Australian Society for Indigenous Languages).
Episode 5 of “Finding our Talk III” is about some Australian language programs. Links include some video and images.
Darkinyung Grammar and Dictionary [announcement on ELAC blog]
ordering information available from Muurrbay.
See also the NLA catalogue entry.