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Foundation for Endangered Languages


Here is a concise selected bibliography on endangered languages:

FEL Proceedings

We have published over a dozen conference proceedings volumes, one each year since 1998. Each is focused on a specific aspect of language endangerment, but contains papers which address individual languages from this viewpoint.

General introductions

Dying Words: Endangered Languages and What They Have to Tell Us, by Nicholas Evans (Paperback – 2010)

When Languages Die: The Extinction of the World's Languages and the Erosion of Human Knowledge, by K. David Harrison (Paperback – July 24, 2008)

Language Death, by David Crystal (Paperback, 2002 – The author drew heavily on the first five years of our newsletter Ogmios for his examples, and kindly gifted his royalties to FEL.)

Halte à la mort des langues, by Claude Hagège (French paperback, 2002 – strong on history. It is now (as of 2011) available in English translation, as On the Death and Life of Languages.

Vanishing Voices: The Extinction of the World's Languages, by Daniel Nettle and Suzanne Romaine (Paperback - May 16, 2002 – stressing links with environmentalism), reviewed in Ogmios 15

Personal accounts of language communities

Don't Sleep, There are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle, by Daniel Everett (Paperback – November 6, 2008)

Spoken Here: Travels Among Threatened Languages, by Mark Abley (Paperback - April 4, 2005), reviewed in Ogmios 23

Mother Tongues: Travels Through Tribal Europe, by Helena Drysdale (Paperback - October 11, 2002), reviewed in Ogmios 18, pp. 22-23

More academic

Endangered Languages, by Veronica Grondona and Sarah Thomason (Paperback - March 1, 2008)

Vanishing Languages of the Pacific Rim, by Osahito Miyaoka, Osamu Sakiyama, and Michael E. Krauss (editors) (Hardcover – 2007)

Language Endangerment and Language Revitalization: an Introduction, by Tasaku Tsunoda (Paperback - February 1, 2006)

Bedrohte Vielfalt: Aspekte des Sprach(en)tods /Aspects of language death, by Jan Wohlgemuth, Tyko Dirksmeyer (editors) (German/English paperback – 2005)

Language Endangerment and Language Maintenance, by David and Maya Bradley (Hardcover - August 2, 2002), reviewed in Ogmios 21, pp. 21-22

More activist

Sustaining Linguistic Diversity: Endangered and Minority Languages and Language Varieties, by Kendall King, Natalie Schilling-Estes, Lyn Wright Fogle, and Jia Jackie Lou  (editors) (Paperback - April 15, 2008)

Saving Languages: An Introduction to Language Revitalization, by Lenore A. Grenoble and Lindsay J. Whaley (Paperback – November 3, 2005)

The Green Book of Language Revitalization in Practice: Toward a Sustainable World, by Leanne Hinton (editor) and Kenneth Hale (editor) (Paperback - November 5, 2001)

Paper and Talk, by Nick Thieberger (Aboriginal Studies Press, Paperback – 1995)


Cambridge Handbook of Endangered Languages, by Peter K. Austin and Julia Sallabank (editors) (Hardback - 2011). This book is exhaustive and reliable on the issues that arise, in academic analysis, in language communities and in setting policy, but contains very little on the situation of specific regions or languages. It therefore needs to be supplemented with one or more of the following books.

Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger, by Christopher Moseley (ed.) (Paperback – UNESCO 2010. This is the third edition: the second in 2001, and first in 1996 were both edited by Stephen Wurm. It is also available in French: >Atlas des Langues en danger dans le monde and in Spanish: > Atlas de las Lenguas del Mundo en Peligro )

Ethnologue: Languages of the World (sixteenth edition), by Paul Lewis (ed.)  (Hardcover - 2009). Despite sporadic doubts about the consistency of its data sources, this remains the fullest catalogue of the world's living (and recently extinct) languages, not just of those endangered. It is a publication of SIL (the Summer Institute of Linguistics), updated on a 4-year schedule. (SIL was conceived as a service organization for Wycliffe Bible Translators.) It may also be consulted online.

Language Diversity Endangered (Trends in Linguistics: Studies and Monographs 181) Matthias Brenzinger (ed.) (Paperback – January 1, 2008)

Encyclopedia of the World's Endangered Languages (Curzon Language Family Series), by Christopher Moseley (ed.)  (Hardcover - April 23, 2007)


Discourses of Endangerment: Interest and Ideology in the Defense of Languages (Advances in Sociolinguistics), by Alexandre Duchene and Monica Heller (Hardcover - March 1, 2007), reviewed in Ogmios 35, p. 13

Language Rights and Language Survival, by Jane Freeland and Donna Patrick (editors) (Hardcover – 2004), reviewed in Ogmios 25

Historical; the development of the field

Endangered Languages, by R.H. Robins and E.M. Uhlenbeck (eds.) 1991. Oxford: Berg

Studies in Endangered Languages, by Kazuto Matsumura ed, Tokyo: Hituzi Syobo 1998, reviewed in Ogmios 15

Endangered Languages: Language Loss and Community Response, by Lenore A. Grenoble and Lindsay J. Whaley (Paperback - March 28, 1998)

Other books on languages worldwide

Empires of the Word: a language history of the world, by Nicholas Ostler (Paperback – September 18, 2006)

One Thousand Languages: Living, Endangered, and Lost, by Peter K. Austin (Hardcover - August 2008)

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