Anthropology | Documenting Endangered Languages
L400 | 30632 | Suslak

Over half of the world’s estimated 6,000 languages are in danger of
falling completely out of use. This seminar is an intensive
introduction to the aims and methods of endangered language
documentation. Much of our time will be be spent learning the
tried-and-true approaches, current best practices, and how to
effectively use the latest recording equipment and software. However
we will also be delving into the political and ethical issues that
surround this type of research. We will learn about the social and
historical processes that have lead to such dramatic language loss and
the contemporary debates and discourses about what is at stake. We
will be exploring how speakers use language to express their ethnic
identity, national citizenship, and membership in other kinds of
social groups, and asks what it means to lose a language, both for the
speakers and for the rest of the world. We also be examining and
assessing current efforts to preserve and revive endangered languages.