Book of Knowledge
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Let’s Revise! – Chapter 8
Go to the Let’s Revise section to see what you can learn from this chapter or test how much you have already learnt!
Chapter author: Michael Hornsby
Indicators of language endangerment
How do languages become endangered?
Why does it matter? How do speakers respond to language endangerment?
|According to the linguist David Crystal (2000), only 600 of the 6,000 or so languages in the world are ‘safe’ from the threat of extinction. According to one count, 6,703 separate languages were spoken in the world in 1996. Of these, 1000 were spoken in the Americas, 2011 in Africa, 225 in Europe, 2165 in Asia, and 1320 in the Pacific, including Australia. These numbers should not be taken at face value, because our information about many languages is lacking or outdated, and very often it is hard to distinguish between languages and dialects. But most linguists agree that there are well over 5,000 languages in the world. A century from now, however, many of these languages may be extinct. Some linguists believe the number may decrease by half; some say the total could fall to mere hundreds as the majority of the world’s languages— most spoken by a few thousand people or less—give way to languages like English, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Indonesian, Arabic, Swahili, and Hindi. By some estimates, 90% of the world’s languages may vanish within the next century.
Indicators of language endangerment
Three main criteria are used as guidelines for considering a language ‘endangered’:
- The number of speakers currently living.
- The mean age of native and/or fluent speakers.
- The percentage of the youngest generation acquiring fluency with the language in question.
Thus, as a rule of thumb, a language is endangered when the children in a community are being spoken to in a language other than that of their parents. The children may understand their parents’ language but will be unable to speak it fluently – they are passive bilinguals. The language is then lost to their children, as they will not be able to speak or understand it at all. This can lead to the situation where grandparents and grandchildren speak totally different languages and sometimes cannot effectively communicate with each other.
UNESCO‘s Ad Hoc Expert Group on Endangered Languages offers this definition of an endangered language: ‘… when its speakers cease to use it, use it in an increasingly reduced number of communicative domains, and cease to pass it on from one generation to the next. That is, there are no new speakers, adults or children’ (http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/doc/src/00120-EN.pdf).Thus a language with a relatively small number of speakers, such as Icelandic (300,000 speakers) can be considered very much alive as it is the primary language of a community, and is the first (or only) language of all children in that community. Yemba (spoken in the western province of Cameroon, Africa) likewise has 300,000 speakers but is considered endangered as people locally shift towards a linguistic variety known as Pidgin and towards English.
Of course, the above scale of endangerment is not a very sophisticated one. There are many factors which are involved in the endangerment of languages, not just the three “rules of thumb” mentioned above. A more complete scale would look something like that proposed by Lewis (2006), which includes seven parameters of endangerment:
|AGE-SF1||number of users by age group|
|AGE-SF2||age of the youngest known user|
|Comment:||In other words, if the number of speakers is evenly spread throughout the speaker population, and the youngest children acquire the language as one of their first languages, then the language is not endangered. However, if most speakers are elderly, and children are not using/speaking the language from an early age, the language can be considered endangered.|
|DEM-SF1||number of L1 users|
|DEM-SF2||number of L2 users|
|DEM-SF3||number of bilingual L1 users|
|DEM-SF4||number of language users who report their ethnicity as associated with L1|
|DEM-SF5||regional population norm of L1 speakers|
|Comment:||The higher the number of native speakers, and the higher number of speakers who consider their language as an essential part of their identity, the ‘safer’ the language is.|
|Parameter 3:||Language Use|
|USE-SF1||predominant language use in the home|
|USE-SF2||predominant use of the language in public encounters|
|USE-SF3||predominant language use in recreation|
|USE-SF4||predominant language use in the public market|
|USE-SF5||predominant language use at work|
|USE-SF6||predominant language use in religious gatherings|
|USE-SF7||predominant language use in commerce|
|USE-SF8||predominant language use in mass media|
|USE-SF9||predominant language use in formal education|
|USE-SF10||predominant language use in formal public functions|
|Example:||Whilst Breton (a Celtic language spoken in North-West France) fulfills many of the criteria for parameter 4 below, it fulfills few of the criteria for parameter 3 and thus can be considered endangered at this level, and indeed at many other levels.|
|Parameter 4:||Language Cultivation, Development, Literacy and Education|
|DEV-SF1||ongoing transmission of oral literature|
|DEV-SF2||existence of a practical orthography|
|DEV-SF3||existence of standardization materials (e.g. dictionaries)|
|DEV-SF4||existence of literacy instruction materials|
|DEV-SF5||existence of a significant body of print literature|
|DEV-SF6||existence of mass media materials|
|DEV-SF7||existence of elementary education materials|
|DEV-SF8||existence of secondary education materials|
|DEV-SF9||existence of tertiary education materials|
|Example:||The lack of literacy among the remaining 34 speakers of Mavea on the Island of Mavea (Oceania) and that most of the island’s 210 residents are literate in either English, French or Bislama means that Mavea can be considered endangered according to this parameter (Guérin 2008: 47).|
|Parameter 5:||Status and Recognition|
|STA-SF1||any and all kinds of official and semi-official recognition|
|Example:||Yemba, mentioned above, has no official status in Cameroon and thus the pressure is on speakers to shift towards English and Pidgin. Icelandic, on the other hand, with the same number of speakers, is the official language of a state, which gives it much higher prestige.|
|Parameter 6:||Language Attitudes|
|ATT-SF1||number of community members who positively value their own language|
|ATT-SF2||number of members of the most significant outside group who positively value the language in question|
|Comment:||It may seem obvious, but when speakers have a positive attitude to their own language, the more likely they are to use it. The American linguist Nancy Dorian showed how the last speakers of East Sutherland Gaelic did not want to be ‘conspicuous’, and how this led to Gaelic dying out on the east coast of Scotland.|
|Parameter 7:||Amount and Quality of Documentation|
|DOC-SF1||existence of a word list|
|DOC-SF2||existence of audio or video recordings|
|DOC-SF3||existence of phonological descriptions|
|DOC-SF4||existence of grammatical descriptions|
|DOC-SF5||existence of bilingual dictionaries|
|DOC-SF6||existence of text collections|
|Note:||Whereas documenting a language may not actually help speakers of an endangered language (they might be unaware of the existence of such documents), documentation can help linguists and revitalisers who wish to maintain or revive the language in question.|
Thus, depending on how many of the above parameters are met, a language can be described as ‘safe’ or ‘unsafe’. A language like English, German or French would fulfill all of the above criteria; much smaller languages such as Belarusian (400, 000 speakers), Kurru (300, 000 speakers in India) and Rutul (just over 29, 000 speakers in Dagestan and Azerbaijan) obviously would not on many levels. It is worth mentioning at this point as well that not everyone sees the decline in use of a language in the same way, least of all the speakers themselves of an endangered language. For example, while Ukrainian is the official language of Ukraine, Russian (spoken by a sizeable minority of the Ukrainian population) is often portrayed in terms of being ‘endangered’ in the country; this, however, is more a political than a sociolinguistic issue. Conversely, people on Singapore are pleased that English is starting to predominate and people are using Chinese languages (such as Hokkien, Teochew, Hakka, Hainanese and Cantonese) less and less: ‘In the Singapore context, the fact that the shift to bilingualism has happened at the expense of other Chinese languages has always been officially celebrated’ (Chin 2008: 74). In other words, language endangerment is sometimes as much a matter of opinion as it is of actual statistics. To take an example from the United States, the rise in awareness of the existence of languages other than English (for example, Spanish) has led to the formation of groups such as the English-Only Movement, who claim that English is ‘endangered’ because there is some recognition in local government and in schools of other languages. This is clearly not supported by demographic data, which show that the majority of American citizens are native English speakers (82% in the year 2000, according to The U.S. Census Bureau) (http://www.census.gov/population/www/cen2000/briefs/phc-t20/index.html).
“When language endangerment is imagined” – in the section Teaching Materials (English as a foreign language)
Which languages are endangered?
More than 200 languages have become extinct around the world over the last three generations (http://www.unesco.org/culture/languages-atlas/). For example, in the Atlas, the entry for Uganda lists 6 languages, of which 3 are now considered extinct, namely Napore, Nyang’i and Singa.
Levels of endangerment
UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger categorises 2,500 languages in five levels of endangerment:
- definitely endangered,
- severely endangered,
- critically endangered and
It is important to remember that even when a language becomes extinct, some people may in fact ‘remember’ words or phrases or indeed people speaking in the language when they were young. For example, the following video shows that the Wichita language, spoken in the U.S.A. by about 10 speakers, does have people who remember parts of the language but who don’t speak it: (www.colorado.edu/linguistics/faculty/rood-old/Witchita/movies/Last_Witchita_W.mov)
Here you may listen to two sentences in Wichita spoken by one of the last speakers: http://www.mpi.nl/DOBES/projects/wichita/data
UNESCO further distinguishes four levels of endangerment in languages, based on intergenerational transfer:
- Vulnerable: Most children speak the language, but it may be restricted to certain domains (e.g. the home). Example: Ingush (spoken in the North Caucasus). Click this link to hear a song in Ingush: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5h5aaU1V4A
- Definitely endangered: Children no longer learn the language as the mother tongue in the home. Example: Pech (spoken in Honduras). Click here to see a list of 20 basic words in Pech: http://www.native-languages.org/pech_words.htm
- Severely endangered: Language is spoken by grandparents and older generations; while the parent generation may understand it, they do not speak it to children or among themselves. Example: Kaska (spoken in British Columbia, Canada). Click here to access a Kaska language website: http://kaska.arts.ubc.ca/
- Critically endangered: The youngest speakers are grandparents and older, and they speak the language partially and infrequently. Example: Achumawi (spoken in California, USA). Click here to hear a folk tale in Achumawi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jvth6S-qVnM
For the full list of languages which UNESCO considers endangered, see https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AonYZs4MzlZbdEFZOG13WXFLSU9rNkt6cWsxRWlaTUE&hl=en#gid=1
How languages become endangered
While nations all across the world strive to communicate with one another in the hopes of boosting their economy and national interests, they are forced to implement ‘official languages’ like English, Spanish, French, Russian, etc. to promote the high prestige of speaking an ‘international’ language. As Crystal (2000: 70) points out:
The full range of factors is fairly easy to identify, thanks to the many case studies which have now been made; what is impossible, in our current state of knowledge, is to generalize about them in global terms. The current situation is without precedent: the world has never had so many people in it, globalization processes have never been so marked; communication and transport technologies have never been so omnipresent; there has never been so much language contact; and no language has ever exercised so much international influence as English.
These factors include:
- Intermarriage: According to David and Nambiar (2003), marriages or partnerships where one parent speaks a minority language and the other only the majority language, can have a negative influence in the retention of the minority tongue by the children. The tendency is to adopt the majority language only. For example, Fulfulde (a language spoken in Nigeria) is under threat because of intermarriage with speakers of other languages in the state of Gombe (Baldauf & Kaplan 2007: 197).
- Market forces: Ridler and Pons-Ridler (1984) suggest that the choice of language reflects the workings of the market. People choose a language that will benefit them in the long run. In addition, Schiffman (1998) states that language shift (i.e. where people stop using one language and adopt another, more prestigious language) in the minority group is inevitable when the language of the minority is seen as a language which does not help the speakers to improve their socio-economy and social mobility. Thus, the minority group will shift to the dominant language. As previously mentioned, parents in Singapore are shifting toward English and abandoning Asian languages in the home because of the market value the English language has and the advantages it will give their children (Coupland 2011).
- Migration: Grimes (2001) notes that sociolinguists agree that migration, either voluntary or forced, is a cause of language shift. When members of a language community migrate, the remaining community decreases in size and thus they may be unable to maintain their language.
- Assimilation: Another possible cause of language shift in the family and community is when there is very little difference in terms of lifestyle, custom and culture between the majority and minority language community. It could be argued, for example, that the Welsh have maintained their language relatively more successfully than other Celtic languages because of their literary tradition, based upon the Eisteddfod (bardic poetry) festival, thus keeping their identity distinct from that of the neighbouring English. There is a children’s version of the Eisteddfod (Eisteddfod yr Urdd) which encourages children to participate in traditional poetry and literature in a ‘modern’ way. Click on this link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWJd8lspx84) to see how younger speakers of Welsh are being encouraged to take up Welsh literary traditions. Of course, this is just one factor among many, since Ireland, Scotland and Brittany also have distinct cultural identities, but this has not prevented massive language shift among Celtic language speakers in these countries as a result.
- National Education Policies: According to Grimes (2001), nation-state building through the schools (by educating pupils in the national language) has contributed to language shift in several countries, although it does not cause universal shift of the language. This is because sub-ethnic languages are not given attention in all education policies drawn up by the government. For example, one of the major causes of language shift among regional language speakers in France has been the lack of recognition of these languages in the French educational system.
- Modernization: Grimes (2001) notes that modernization, among other things, is a factor which accompanies language shift. When industrialization comes to areas where minority languages are spoken, it is the majority language which is used to train employees in the new plants and factories, and the majority language which is used as a lingua franca.
Another factor that might lead to languages becoming endangered is the views held by parents. Parents today encourage their children to learn languages of wider communication instead of their heritage languages due to the globalization of the world. Nowadays it is more likely for children to succeed if they are able to speak the popular languages of the world in order to obtain better jobs and prospects.
One major factor that affects the survival of minority languages is the attitudes of the majority language speakers with whom the minority language speakers co-habit on a given territory. One of these groups is the dominant language group (for example, English in Canada) and controls access to authority in the areas of administration, politics and the economy, and gives job preference to those applicants who have command of the dominant language. The disadvantaged language group (in this case, French both inside and outside Quebec) is then left with the choice of renouncing its social ambitions, assimilating or resisting. While numerically weak or psychologically weakened language groups tend towards assimilation, in modern societies numerically stronger, more homogeneous language groups possessing traditional values, such as their own history and culture, prefer political resistance. This type of conflict becomes especially prominent when it occurs between population groups of differing socioeconomic structures (urban/rural, poor/wealthy, indigenous/immigrant). Although in the case of French-speaking Canada, English appeared to be the necessary means of communication in trade and business, nearly 80% of the francophone population spoke only French, and were thus excluded from social elevation in the political/economic sector. It was a small French-speaking elite, whose original goal was political opposition to the dominant English, ultimately brought about socioeconomically motivated language conflict, as Nelde (1997) has termed it. (See the following clip from the 1970s, when the Parti Québécois instituted French as the official language of Quebec: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2Cr693XaFU ). Such situations of language conflict are inevitably complex and not straightforward.
One writer has suggested that in today’s modern world, there simply may not be enough room for too many languages. Harrison (2007: 5) says that ‘languages do not literally “die” or go “extinct”, since they are not living organisms. Rather, they are crowded out by bigger languages. Small tongues get abandoned by their speakers, who stop using them in favour of a more dominant, more prestigious, or more widely known tongue.’ According to Crystal (2000: 77), this crowding out is facilitated by urbanisation, whereby rural populations move into the cities and the learning of the dominant language is more likely. Thus the three key factors in one language being replaced by another appear to centre on the associated power a language has (its status), on its association with elite groups in society (its prestige) and how widely spoken it is and by how many people (its distribution and its demography). Take, for example, the case of the Irish people massively adopting the English language as their vernacular, even though it is the language of the traditional ‘enemy’. When the shift toward English began on a huge scale in the 19th century, Irish was associated with a rural, isolated and impoverished way of life in the west of Ireland, while English represented one of the most powerful empires in the world. The following extract illustrates the attitude towards Irish, noted in 1927:
Ni raibh aon tora ar Ghaoluinn an uair sin; agus nuair a théighinn go dí aonach Chathair Saidhbhín, n’fhéadfainn mo bhó ná mo chapall a dhíol gan cúnamh fháil ó fhear a’ Bhéarla, agus ba bhristecruíoch an obair í sin, ná féadfá do ghnó a dhéanamh gan a bheith a braith ar a’ bhfear thall.
Irish was of no use at that time, and when I went to the fair at Cathair Saidhbhín, I could not sell my cow or horse without getting help from the English speaker. It was heart-breaking not to be able to do your business without having to rely on the other man.
(Ó Duilearga 1977: xxviii).
The English language was seen as the only way for people to escape the misery of their impoverished existence and for them to improve their situation (if not them, then their children). That another option was available, namely bilingualism, simply did not occur to speakers of Irish seeking a better life for themselves and their children. Luckily, more and more language communities are now recognizing the benefits of bilingualism and are choosing to have their children educated in the local, endangered language, as well as a more widespread language.
Language endangerment is not always language death
However, we should not see language endangerment in simplistic terms. Because there are so many factors involved, a language does not usually die out uniformly. It might be vanishing in one place but not in others, for a variety of different reasons. Population size, though important, is not always critical: a smaller group can dominate a larger one – as has been seen often with the European presence in Africa. Moreover, geographical proximity is not always critical for one culture to influence another. The Québécois variety of French (very distinct from the French spoken in France) is being successfully maintained in eastern Canada, despite being surrounded by hundreds of millions of English speakers (see below for an account of how this previously-endangered variety is now secure). And we should be wary of seeing English (or any other globalizing language) as a “killer language”, since the spread of such international linguistic varieties are resisted successfully at local levels:
McDonald stores in non-Anglophone countries are not operating in English, just like their menus have not replicated the original American menu. Nowadays, Hollywood movies are usually released concurrently in many major languages (sometimes in editions adapted to local cultures), because the industry is more interested in making money than in spreading English and/or American values. The literature accompanying American computers in non-Anglophone countries is not exclusively in English. BBC and Voice of America radio programs also broadcast in a wide range of languages other than English, which suggests that even at such an ideological outreach level, the spread of English is not the main goal.
(Mufwene 2006: 126)
Why does it matter? How do speakers respond to language endangerment?
We should not expect a uniform response to language endangerment any more than we should expect to see a uniform process involved in the disappearance of languages. In many cases, there is cause for regret that particular world views are lost when smaller languages cease to be spoken, as documented by Harrison (2007: 4):
What does it feel like to speak a language with 10 or fewer speakers? For people like Vasya Gabov of Siberia, who at the age of 54 is the youngest fluent speaker of his native Ös language, it means to feel isolated and to rarely have an opportunity to speak one’s native tongue. It means to be nearly invisible, surrounded by speakers of another, dominant language who do not even acknowledge yours. Speakers in this situation tend to forget words, idioms, and grammatical rules due to lack of practice. When asked to speak, for example, by visiting linguists hoping to document the language, they struggle to find words. Ös is now spoken by fewer than 30 individuals, as it is the daily, household language of just a single family. All other speakers reside in households where Russian serves as the medium of most conversations. In this situation, one shared by speakers of thousands of small languages worldwide, it becomes hard to be heard, hard not to forget, hard not to become visible.
Listen and watch
Vasya Gabov talks about the invention of script to write Ös: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&list=PL77E9549A1F2DB148&v=N3AaMUaCmFw
However, as Edwards (2010: 6) notes, ‘the forces acting upon a minority-language community may be such that a shift to the overarching variety becomes inevitable’. In such circumstances, it may indeed make economic sense for minority language speakers to shift to the majority language, for the sake of future generations, if nothing else. As outside observers, it is important that we refrain from making value judgements about such decisions. Who does not want to see his or her own children benefit from modernization? Of course, culturally speaking, the loss of the communicative use of a minority language may weaken the sense of group identity a language community has, but it should be noted that ‘a language that is no longer regularly spoken may yet have a role to play in the maintenance of group boundaries’ (Edwards 2010: 6). Language shift may not always be viewed in such tragic terms by members of the language community in question as it is by outside commentators. If ‘the price of original-language retention is geographical and cultural isolation’ (Edwards 2010: 11), then in some cases, this may be too high a price to pay. Nevertheless, it should be noted that in many cases, speakers of endangered languages do wish that it could all be different. The following clip is by a speaker of Akélé (or Kélé, spoken in Gabon), explaining how she regrets the decline in the use of the language: http://www.sorosoro.org/en/videos-in-akele-language-gabon#state language akele or: http://youtu.be/1emhmDX8Aa0
How do majority language speakers feel about language endangerment?
David Crystal, in a newspaper article published in 1999, presents a not uncommon view about language endangerment and death: ‘Is language death such a disaster? Surely, you might say, it is simply a symptom of more people striving to improve their lives by joining the modern world. So long as a few hundred or even a couple of thousand languages survive, that is sufficient’ (The Guardian G2, 25 October 1999). However, not all views are so restrained:
Welsh is an ugly, guttural language and Gaelic is not much better. Languages don’t just die because a more powerful nation says it should be so (ask Estonians) but because they lack the means and the flexibility to actually express the subtleties of modern-day existence. English is a fantastically subtle language… and the Scots and the Welsh should consider themselves lucky to be exposed to it from an early age.
(Howard J. Rogers, Australia) (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/talking_point/664149.stm)
Such attitudes suggest a ‘survival of the fittest’ type of approach to language diversity, in that only some languages deserve to ‘live’ while others deserve to ‘die’. Such talk is unscientific – as Harrison points out (see above) languages are not species which die out or become extinct. And furthermore, such analogies are unhelpful. Languages are systems of human communication which are closely bound up with emotion, affect and identity, which such an approach ignores.
In the past, various authorities have actually tried to engineer language endangerment for political ends. In the United States during the late 19th century, so-called ‘Indian boarding schools’ were founded to assimilate Native American children into Euro-American culture. In some areas, these schools were primarily run by religious missionaries. Especially given the young age of some of the children sent to the schools, they have been documented as traumatic experiences for many of the children who attended them. They were generally forbidden from speaking their native languages, taught Christianity instead of their native religions, and in numerous other ways forced to abandon their Native American identity and adopt European-American culture (Marr, Online).
A similar system was in operation in the USSR. In 1924, the USSR established the Committee of the North designed to administer the affairs of Northern minorities. Schools were established among the 26 indigenous peoples’ groups in the North that included the teaching of indigenous languages. Thirteen alphabets were created using the Roman alphabet for indigenous languages. By 1926, eighteen residential schools were in place across Siberia, and five day-schools had been established. However, in 1937, Northern alphabets were outlawed. After World War II, the USSR began the process of Russification. Northern groups were forcibly settled into mixed areas in order to assimilate and foster Russian unity. From the age of 2 years, Northern indigenous children were forced to attend boarding schools where they were prohibited from speaking their languages. By 1970, no indigenous used were as language of instruction in schools (United Nations Economic and Social Council 2010: 11).
Crystal (1999) gives very convincing arguments for encouraging linguistic diversity:
We should care about dying languages for the same reason that we care when a species of animal or plant dies. It reduces the diversity of our planet. In the case of language, we are talking about intellectual and cultural diversity, not biological diversity, but the issues are the same … “Every language is a temple,” writes Oliver Wendell Holmes, “in which the soul of those who speak it is enshrined.”
Whereas the comparison with endangered species is an emotive metaphor (and again not strictly accurate), it is an understandable one – something intangible is lost when a language falls out of use. This is especially true when referring to the emotional and identity aspects of language use – while of course you can be Irish and not speak Irish fluently, be Breton and not speak a word of Breton, be Belarusian and not use the language regularly, most people recognize that at some level at least, identity is closed bound to the language you speak. And while the language continues to be spoken by at least some of the population, there is a reference point for the rest of the community who do not speak the language very fluently, or not at all. It is this emotional connection to language which, I believe, is one of the most compelling reasons to seek to maintain the widest possible spectrum of linguistic diversity
Let’s Revise! – Chapter 8
Go to the Let’s Revise section to see what you can learn from this chapter or test how much you have already learnt!
References & further reading
- BBC News: Talking Point – Should minority languages be protected? (Wednesday, 8 March, 2000). http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/talking_point/664149.stm (Accessed 07 June 2012).
- Baldauf, Richard B. & Robert B. Kaplan. 2007. Language planning and policy in Africa: Algeria, Cote d’Ivoire Nigeria and Tunisia . Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
- Chin, Ng Bee. 2008. Linguistic pragmatism, globalisation and the impact of the patterns of input in Singaporean Chinese homes. In Peter Tan & Rani Rubdy (eds.). Language as commodity: Global structures, local marketplaces. London: Continuum, 70-88.
- Coupland, Nikolas. 2011. The handbook of language and globalisation. Oxford: Blackell.
- Crystal, David. 1999. Death sentence. The Guardian G2, 25 October 1999, 2-3.
- Crystal, David. 2000. Language death. Cambridge: CUP.
- David, M.K. & Nambiar, M. 2003. Exogamous marriages and out-migration: Language shift of Catholic Malayalees in Malaysia. Multilingua: Journal of Cross-cultural And Interlanguage Communication 2, 141-150.
- Edwards, John. 2010. Minority languages and group identity. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
- Grimes, Barbara F. 2001. Global language viability. In Osamu Sakiyama (ed.). Endangered languages of the Pacific Rim: Lectures on endangered languages 2. From Kyoto conference 2000, 45-68. ELPR Publication Series C002. ELPR.: Osaka, Japan http://www.sil.org/sociolx/ndg-lg- grimes_topics.html (Accessed 07 June 2012).
- Guérin, Valérie. 2008. Writing an endangered language. Language documentation and conservation. Vol. 2, No. 1 (June 2008), pp. 47-67.
- Harrison, K. David. 2007. When languages die: The extinction of the world’s languages and the erosion of human knowledge. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Lewis, M. Paul. 2006. Evaluating Endangerment: Proposed Metadata and Implementation. In Kendall A. King et al. (eds.). Sustaining linguistic diversity: Endangered and minority languages and language varieties. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, 35-49.
- Marr, Carolyn. Online. Assimilation through education: Indian Boarding schools in the Pacific Northwest. Available at: http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/a_f/erdrich/boarding/marr.htm (Accessed 08 December 2012).
- Moseley, Christopher, ed. 2010. Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger, 3rd edition. Paris: UNESCO Publishing.
- Mufwewe, Salikoko. 2006. Language endangerment: An embarrassment for linguists. CLS42: The Panels, 111-140.
- Nelde, Peter H. 1997. Language conflict. In Florian Coulmas (ed.). The handbook of sociolinguistics. Oxford: Blackwell, 285-300.
- Ó Duilearga, Séamus. 1977. (ed.). Leabhair Sheáin Í Chonaill. Dublin: Comhairle Bhéaloideas Éireann.
- Ridler, Neil B. & Suzanne Pons-Ridler. 1984. Language economics: A case study of French. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 5:1, 57-63.
- Schiffman, Harold. 1998. Language shift. http://ccats.sas.upenn.edu/~harolds/messeas/maltamil/node2.html (Accessed 07 June 2012).
- UNESCO’s Ad Hoc Expert Group on Endangered Languages. http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/doc/src/00120- EN.pdf (Accessed 18 April 2012).
- UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger. http://www.unesco.org/culture/languages-atlas/ (Accessed 18 April 2012).