Language Endangerment and Maintenance:
Community Responses and Linguist's Contributions

Instructor(s): Nora England and Eladio (B'alam) Mateo-Toledo

This course examines community responses to language endangerment and ways in which communities and linguists can collaborate in language maintenance. Some of the topics that will be covered include:

  • Speakers' perceptions of what linguistics is and what it can or cannot offer.
  • Community goals for their language.
  • Linguists' goals in working with communities of speakers of threatened languages.
  • Models for linguist and community collaboration.
  • Contributions that endangered language communities can make to linguistics and to language documentation.
  • Training speakers of minority or endangered languages to do linguistic research on their languages.

Work in Maya communities in Guatemala and Mexico will provide case examples. The course will combine lecture and discussion.

Students will develop a brief position paper and proposal for working in a community where they wish to carry out research, or they will write a brief description and critical review of work that has been done in a community they are interested in.

Field experience is desirable, but not necessary.