Call for Abstracts: FEL XVII - Endangered Languages Beyond Boundaries: Ottawa, Canada, Oct 2013


The Seventeenth Conference of the Foundation for Endangered Languages in association with Carleton University: School of Canadian Studies and School of Linguistics and Language Studies Ottawa, Canada


Endangered Languages Beyond Boundaries:

Community Connections, Collaborative Approaches, and Cross-Disciplinary Research


Carleton University

Ottawa, Ontario



Dates: 1-4 October 2013



Call for Abstracts: FEL XVII

The 2013 FEL Conference will be held in Ottawa, the capital of Canada and headquarters of the country’s national Aboriginal organizations. The many endangered Indigenous languages across Canada make it an excellent setting for a conference that will explore collaboration, community involvement, and cross-disciplinary research on endangered languages. The conference will highlight community connections, collaborative approaches, intergenerational cooperation, technological and social media related innovations, and community-researcher alliances. We seek to bring together speakers, activists, and researchers, from a range of disciplines, organizations, and governments, all striving to understand and improve the situation of endangered languages, and to broaden awareness of the importance and implications of language maintenance and revitalization for individual and community well-being overall.


Efforts world-wide to preserve, maintain, and revitalize endangered languages often encounter limited resources and funding. This points to the need for collaborative approaches and for the pooling of resources, whether on a local, national, or international scale. Such cooperative ventures extend beyond the constraints of boundaries, whether these involve linguistic or ethnic identities; geography; jurisdictions; community size, type and location (urban, rural, isolated); political or social considerations; language status (official or unofficial, dominant or minority); familial and generational ties; academic disciplines; or institutional or group affiliations.


Such barriers, and the challenges they may pose, can raise significant issues for collaborative and community-centred approaches aimed at strengthening endangered languages. For example:


·      Where there are multiple dialects, should language support efforts be prioritized or focused on the more viable varieties of a particular endangered language or language group? Do endangered languages and their variants need a critical mass? Should efforts to support them lead to their coalescence despite these boundaries? On what basis should these decisions be made?  


·      What challenges (and compromises) are involved in decision-making related to language standardization? Should there be an effort to standardize across the dialects to establish one definitive version of a writing system?


·      What collaborative approaches, such as the sharing of existing language resources, curriculum development, knowledge transfer, training and best practices, can best aid communities with critically endangered languages or dialects (e.g. providing opportunities to individuals to learn a dialect even if it is not their own)?


·      What types and models of collaborative research and communication can help communities to ensure that their language perspectives and goals are integrated? For example, strictly linguistic classifications of a community’s language may differ from those based on social considerations and political boundaries.  


·      To what extent can existing standardized frameworks of language assessment, such as UNESCO’s Language Vitality Endangerment (LVE) Framework and Fishman’s Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale (GIDS), help to yield comparable data? How can community-defined factors and aspects of a given community unique to it be integrated into these frameworks?


·      How can surveys and data be used to develop measures and indicators in the assessment of language vitality?


·      In contrast to isolated communities, the situation can be exacerbated in urban environments by the prevalence of the dominant language. How can urban language revitalization efforts be enhanced? How can people play a major role in the mainstream culture without sacrificing their endangered language and culture?


·      How can people in the dominant culture and their governments be made aware of and sensitive to the issues of endangered languages?


·      How can endangered language practitioners take advantage of technology to increase awareness among the mainstream about endangered languages? How can technology be used to teach and increase the use of endangered languages?


·      How can generations support each other in strengthening their endangered languages? How can Elders, adults, and youth work together to develop terminology in new domains, such as technology and social media, that existing vocabulary may not cover?


·      What is the importance of language learning and revitalization for individual and community well-being, health and educational outcomes?


Abstracts are invited on the following, though not limited to, kinds of topics:


·       Connections within, between and among endangered language communities 

(Shared or different language varieties, status, identities, geography, locations)


·       Connections within or between families and generations


·       Collaborative approaches between communities and:

o   language and cultural organizations;

o   university-based researchers; and,

o   schools, other organizations and governments


·       Collaborative approaches through technology and new media


·       Cross-Disciplinary (inter- and multi-disciplinary) research related to endangered languages


·       International approaches to language training and revitalization



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.


Abstract submission:

Single page abstracts of a maximum of 500 words should be submitted by the 22nd of April 2013.

Abstracts received after this deadline will not be accepted.

Abstracts are to be submitted for consideration in either English or French.

Once accepted, full papers can be submitted in either English or French.

If you are using special (language) fonts in your abstract submission, please make sure that they are Unicode or encoded in your pdf.


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

FAX: Fax number of the first author, if any.


For submission of abstracts three methods are possible, as below:

1. EasyChair:

Authors will have to take the following steps:

- go to

- if you already have an EasyChair account you can just enter your user

name and password and log in.

- if you don't have an account, you will be redirected, or click on the link here, Follow the instructions and log in;

- click on 'new submission' and follow the instructions.


Type or paste your title and abstract into “Title, Abstract and Other Information” in plain text.  You may also submit your abstract as a pdf file, in which case you type “see attached file” in the abstract textbox.


We shall publish more guidelines for the submission process on

If you experience a problem with EasyChair please email for assistance at


2. E-Mail:

In case you are not able to submit your abstract via EasyChair, please send your abstract with the subject of the e-mail stating: FEL Abstract: <last name of the author(s)> : <title of paper (with the other necessary details) via e-mail to the following address:


3. Post:

Finally, in case you are not able to submit your abstract via EasyChair or e-mail, please send your abstract and details on paper to the following address (to arrive by 22nd April, 2013):


FEL XVII Conference Administration

Foundation for Endangered Languages

172 Bailbrook Lane

Bath BA1 7AA

United Kingdom


The name of the first author will be used in all correspondence. Submitters will be informed about their abstracts by May 15th, 2013. Those whose abstracts are accepted will be required to submit their full papers for publication in the Proceedings by July 8th, 2013, together with their registration fee (to be announced soon).


Important Dates

·       Abstract arrival deadline: April 22nd, 2013.

·       Notification of acceptance of paper: May 15th, 2013.

·       In case of acceptance, the full paper will be due by July 8th, 2013. It is a condition of speaking at the conference that authors will submit a hard copy of their paper by this deadline. (Further details on the format of text will be specified to the authors.)

·       Conference dates: October 1-4, 2013


Possible conference excursions and activities (to be announced) include:  a pre-conference language-relevant excursion planned for the day, Tuesday, October 1st (visit to Aboriginal community - to be confirmed); reception Tuesday evening October 1st; banquet Thursday October 3rd; and possible post-conference two-day weekend trip October 5th and 6th.