Endangered Languages Week 2010 · Meet an Endangered Language
School of Oriental and African Studies, Russell Square,
22 February to 27 February 2010
all sessions, except Friday, take place in the Endangered Languages archive R201
of the world's 7,000 languages are under threat from larger
In this series of short presentations you will come face-to-face with four endangered languages, learn
about where they are spoken and why they are threatened, experience their culture - as well as learn
some basic words and phrases.
Presentations are free of charge and open to anyone who is interested in endangered languages.
Time and Location: please check individual talks listed below.
with Lameen Souag
Tues 23 Feb, 12pm-1pm, R201
Kwarandzyey is a Songhay language spoken in the oasis of Tabelbala in
southwestern Algeria near the Moroccan border. Its nearest relatives
are 1000 km to the south, starting in Timbuktu; since reaching the
oasis centuries ago, it has changed extensively under the influence of
regional Berber and Arabic. In this presentation you will find out
what Kwarandzyey is like (including some common phrases), what it can
tell us about Saharan history, and why, over the past few decades, the
people of Tabelbala have stopped speaking it to their children.
Talyshi - spoken in northern Iran
with Gerardo De Caro
Wed 24 Feb, 12pm-1pm,
Talyshi is an Iranian language spoken in northern Iran near the Caspian Sea and the border with Azerbaijan .
The language shows massive dialect variation and is under pressure from Persian. This presentation will discuss the
language situation, and present an overview of Talyshi culture and language use.
Kagulu - spoken in Central Tanzania
with Malin Petzell
Thurs 25 Feb, 12pm-1pm, R201
The Kagulu area is in east central Tanzania approximately 200
kilometres inland from Dar es Salaam just north of the main road to
Dodoma. It is a hilly area with mountains (called Itumba), lowlands
and a plateau where most of the Kagulu live. The Kagulu language is a
fairly typical Bantu language (a language family that also includes
the Swahili language). We will look at some unusual grammatical
features of the language, but also the culture, and finally learn some
Kubokota - spoken in the Solomon Islands
with Mary Chambers
Fri 26 Feb, 12pm-1pm, R201
Kubokota is spoken on the northern half of Ranongga Island in the Solomon Islands, by 2500 people. Children in the Kubokota community still learn Kubokota as their first language, but when they reach school age, they are taught in Solomon Islands Pijin and English. Providing Kubokota literacy materials for a vernacular kindergarten has not only enabled children to acquire literacy skills in Kubokota, but is also helpful when they learn to read and write in English. In this session we will also discuss other language maintenance efforts, and will learn some basic Kubokota words and phrases.
Fri 26 Feb, 3pm-4pm, 4418
Manx Gaelic is one of six Celtic languages, the others being Irish, Scots Gaelic,
Welsh, Breton and Cornish. As a result of well-organised community based initiatives
coupled with targeted Manx Government support the language has seen an upsurge of interest
in and support for it in recent years: Manx is now an option in schools, there is a network
of playgroups and nurseries for pre-school children, at the Bunscoill Ghaelgagh primary
school 65 children learn all of the school curriculum through Manx Gaelic whilst there are
a growing number of adult classes. Manx is also a very visible marker of Manx identity in
the Island: not bad for a language recently described by UNESCO as extinct.