The concern for the fast-disappearing language stocks of the world has arisen particularly in the last decade, as a result of the impact of globalization. This encyclopedia appears as an answer to a felt need: to catalogue and describe those languages, making up the vast majority of the world’s six thousand or more distinct tongues, which are in danger of disappearing within the next few decades.
Endangerment is a complex issue, and the reasons why so many of the world’s smaller, less empowered languages are not being passed on to future generations today are discussed in the encyclopedia’s introduction. This is followed by regional sections, each authored by a notable specialist, combining to provide a comprehensive listing of languages which, by the criteria of endangerment set out in the introduction, are likely to disappear within the next few decades. These languages make up ninety per cent of the world’s remaining language stocks.
The encyclopedia provides in a single resource: expert analysis of the current language policy situation in every multilingual country and on every continent, detailed descriptions of little-known languages from all over the world, and clear alphabetical entries, region by region, of all the world’s languages currently thought to be in danger of extinction.
The Encyclopedia of the World’s Endangered Languages will be a necessary addition to all academic linguistics collections and will be a useful resource for a range of readers with an interest in development studies, cultural heritage and international affairs.