The day of talks by ELDP grantees, alumni, colleagues and friends is designed to raise awareness about the dramatic loss of linguistic diversity around the globe. It is estimated that globalisation and urbanisation will lead to the loss of about half of the 7000 languages spoken today by the end of this century. Many of these endangered languages have never been recorded or described, which means that they are vanishing without a trace.
ELAR and ELDP are attempting to stem the tide of destruction by supporting the documentation, preservation and dissemination of endangered languages across the globe. This year’s outreach day is aimed at highlighting the situation of endangered language communities in the Middle East and North Africa.
They keynote speaker is Professor Janet C. E. Watson, a graduate of SOAS, now Leadership Chair for Language@Leeds at the University of Leeds.
SOAS also has an Endangered Languages Academic Programme (ELAP), which offers postgraduate degrees for students who wish to specialise in the documentation and description of languages, with a focus on minority and endangered languages. These are the PhD in Field Linguistics, which includes periods of fieldwork in various locations across the globe, and the MA in Language Documentation and Description, which has two pathways: one in field linguistics and one in language support and revitalisation. The specialist MA is characterised by an integrated core of subject offerings that are orientated around principles and practice in language documentation and description (including Field Methods, Language Support and Revitalisation, and Language Policy and Planning), plus a series of options in linguistics, applied linguistics, and language studies.