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Foundation for Endangered Languages

FEL XX - University of Hyderabad, India
9-12 December 2016

Call for abstracts

Language colonization and endangerment: long-term effects, echoes and reactions

This page last updated: 22 September 2016

The FEL XX conference (our 20th conference) aims to examine language endangerment during the colonial era, and the impact of colonization on the subsequent efforts of the independent nations and communities to revitalize their language heritage. The conference will look at continuity and change in approaches to language use.

This is wide field. European domination, all over the world, is too recent to be forgotten. But colonial periods extended over different times in different continents: European colonialism had its peak earlier, for example, in the Americas than in Asia or Africa. But colonialism with linguistic consequences occurred also in quite different eras: e.g. in western Europe under Roman domination, North Africa under the Arabs, South-east Asia under Indians and then the Chinese (1st millennium AD).

More specifically the conference will explore the following issues, asking for contributions on specific languages or territories:

  • In the colonial period, how was the use of local traditional languages, and indeed other languages of wider communication, restricted? (Complex interrelations grew up within large empires and trade networks, especially in South-east Asia, India, east Africa and the Americas.) Smaller language communities may have been hard pressed to survive in larger political administrations.
  • The differing status of languages within a territory may also have been a feature of colonial rule and later political dispensations, since often post-colonial policy begins with a crisis in the choice of which languages to support. Some languages may have had a purely oral existence; but this may have been tacitly endorsed by institutions, or been actively discouraged.
  • What means were used to channel communication and expression into other languages? We shall consider action on place-names, as well as the roles appointed for languages in the economy, military spheres, public-health policy, education and government, and other features of social life such as cultural activities.
  • Subsequently, how have language planning and liberation struggles made a difference - positive or negative - to the use and prospects of indigenous languages? Have language and/or education rights, for example, been a useful tool of policy? Has technology - from the introduction of literacy though to mobile phones - played a significant role in changes? Are current norms of language documentation all too reminiscent of colonial attitudes to smaller communities?

Format of presentations

Presentations will be 20 minutes, with ten minutes for discussion and questions and answers. Keynote lectures (by invitation only) will be 45 minutes.

Submission details

Single page abstracts of up to 500 words should be submitted by 1 July 2016 (NOTE DATE CHANGE - this has been extended from 19 June 2016). Abstracts received after this deadline will not be accepted.

Abstracts are to be submitted in English (except by arrangement with the Chairman). Send your abstract as an MS Word or PDF document. If you are using special (language) characters in your abstract submission, make sure that they are Unicode, or use fonts embedded in a PDF document.

In addition to the abstract, on a separate page, please include the following information:

  • NAME(S): Names of the author(s)
  • TITLE: Title of the paper
  • INSTITUTION: Institutional affiliation, if any
  • E-MAIL: E-mail address of first author, if any
  • ADDRESS: Postal address of the first author
  • TEL: Telephone number of the first author, if any

Submit your abstract by email or post:

  1. E-Mail:
    The subject line of the e-mail should state:
    FEL Abstract: <last name of the first author> : <title of paper>

    Send email to the following addresses:
  2. Post:
    If you are not able to submit your abstract via e-mail, send your abstract and details on paper to the following address (to arrive by 1 July 2016):

       FEL XX Conference Administration
       Foundation for Endangered Languages
       129 High Street
       RG17 0DL
       United Kingdom
The name of the first author will be used in all correspondence. Submitters will be informed about their abstracts by 18 July 2016. Those whose abstracts are accepted will be required to submit their full papers for publication in the Proceedings by 30 September 2016 (NOTE DATE CHANGE - this has been extended from 11 September 2016), together with their registration fee (to be announced soon).

Format of presentations

Presentations will be twenty minutes, with ten minutes for discussion and questions and answers. Keynote lectures (by invitation only) will be forty-five minutes each.

Location - the City of Hyderabad, India

he 2016 FEL Conference will be held in Hyderabad, capital of India’s new state of Telangana, and also currently of Andhra Pradesh. Centre for Endangered Languages & Mother Tongue Studies, University of Hyderabad will host it in collaboration with some other leading Indian universities and institutions.

Hyderabad was a princely state before and during the British raj, and is home to considerable diversity. Telugu and Urdu are now both official languages of Hyderabad, and most Hyderabadis are bilingual. The Telugu spoken in Hyderabad is called Telangana Telugu, and the Urdu is called Dakhini “southern”. Significant minorities speak other languages.

The University of Hyderabad itself hosts a Centre for Endangered languages & Mother Tongue Studies, under Prof Mohanty, the first centre of its kind in an educational institution in India. The University of Hyderabad received the best university award from the President of India in 2015. Accommodation for the conference will be provided in the University Guest House.

Important dates

  • Call for abstracts announced: 23 May 2016
  • Abstract arrival deadline: 1 July 2016 (extended from 19 June 2016)
  • Notification of acceptance: 18 July 2016
  • Conference dates: 9-12 December 2016
  • Submission of completed paper: 30 September 2016 (extended from 11 September 2016).
    For accepted papers, authors must submit their full written paper by 30 September 2016. We will advise authors of details of the format for their paper. It is a condition of presenting at the conference that authors submit their completed paper by this date.
  • Excursion related to the conference theme - date to be announced.

Further information

Further information and updates will appear on this web page.

Or send your question to the Conference Chair, Panchanan Mohanty, panchanan_mohanty@yahoo.com or the FEL Chair nicholas@ostler.net.


Register by going to the FEL membership page (hosted by Utrecht University).

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