Foundation for Endangered Languages

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3. Language Endangerment in the News

"At a loss for words" by Stephen Hume : Vancouver Sun, 3 May 1998

Dennis King donncha(at) wrote :
Some of you might be interested in reading an article, primarily about efforts being made to preserve native languages of British Columbia, that appeared in the Vancouver Sun last Sunday.

It's available at:

“English Kills”: Economist, 6 June 1998

In an issue which starts out by congratulating the voters of California for the “steadiness” in endorsing Proposition 227 to replace bilingual education with “total immersion” in English, the editor saw nothing bizarre in including a piece on language endangerment under the heading “English Kills”.



FEL’s president had been interviewed for the article, and it included thumbnail sketches of George Hewitt’s studies of Caucasian languages at London’s SOAS, Hein Steinhauer’s of Indonesia at Leiden, and Aert Kuipers’ of Canada. Some of FEL’s activities were sketched in too, alluding to Mark Donohue’s work in Irian, and (strangely) adding a claim that Scottish Gaelic has just been admitted to our intensive care unit! (Perhaps a cryptic reference to the forthcoming conference in Edinburgh in September?) But although claiming that at least 4 activist groups for endangered languages have sprung up in the last few years, the article seems to have mixed FEL up with the Endangered Languages Fund, referring to us as ELF throughout.

Anyway, the coverage is certainly good for business: in the three hours after the issue first came out in the USA, I received two e-mail enquiries from America.