Endangered Languages in Africa

Endangered Languages in Africa

Endangered Languages in Africa

ISBN 978-3-89645-305-1

Endangered Languages in Africa

Edited by: Matthias Brenzinger. With contributions by: David L. Appleyard, Herman M. Batibo, Roger M. Blench, Matthias Brenzinger, Bruce Connell, Gerrit J. Dimmendaal, Andrew Haruna, Richard J. Hayward, Raimund Kastenholz, Gabriele Sommer, Mauro Tosco, Zelealem Leyew.

284 pp.
4 maps, 7 figures, numerous tables
Text language(s): English
€ 49.80

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This volume contains selected papers which are based on presentations held on the Symposium on Endangered Languages in Africa from 29 July to 1 August 1997 at the University of Leipzig/Germany. The workshop took place parallel to the 2nd WOCAL World Congress of African Linguistics (see the link below).


Matthias Brenzinger: Endangered Languages and Language Endangerment in Africa – Introduction

Richard J. Hayward: The Endangered Languages of Ethiopia – What’s at Stake for the Linguist?

Gabriele Sommer: Reconstructing the Past – Historical Linguistics, Contact-induced Change, Language Shift and Relexification

Gerrit Dimmendaal: Language Contraction versus other Types of Contact-induced Change

Mauro Tosco: “People who are not the language they speak” – On Language Shift without Language Decay in East Africa

David L. Appleyard: Language Death – The Case of Qwarenya (Ethiopia)

Zelealem Leyew: Some Structural Signs of Obsolescence in K’emant

Roger Blench: The Status of the Languages of Central Nigeria

Bruce Connell: Moribund Languages of the Nigeria-Cameroon Borderland

Andrew Haruna: Language Death – The Case of Bubburè in Southern Bauchi Area, Northern Nigeria

Raimund Kastenholz: Language Shift and Language Death among Mande Blacksmiths and Leatherworkers in the Diaspora

Herman Batibo: The Fate of the Khoesan Languages of Botswana


Under these links you will find further proceedings volumes of the WOCAL World Congress of African Linguistics and publications by the contributors:

Accompanying material:



This thought provoking volume, edited by Matthias Brenzinger, is based on selected papers from the Symposium on Endangered Languages in Africa which was held during the 1997 2nd World Congress of African Linguistics in Leipzig, Germany. Despite the obvious focus on African languages, many of the papers have a broad appeal and should be read by anyone interested in theoretical issues of language loss, shift, contraction, and endangerment.

Richard Wright in The Endangered Language Fund Newsletter, 3(2)/1999, 1

Thus the publication “Endangered Languages in Africa” covers a broad spectrum of the African Zeitgeist and links the peoples of this continent to people in other parts of the world where similar phenomena are taking place as part of a world-wide tendency. At the same time, the papers have to be accepted as an important input into operational research which responsible governmental agencies of the relevant countries should take seriously when considering language planning.

Rajmund Ohly in Afrika und Übersee, 83/2000, 154-155

This is a very useful volume for anyone interested in the minority indigenous languages of Africa, and for anyone investing obsolescence. The papers are carefully ordered, clear, and full of useful data. The African situation is different from language obsolescence elsewhere, and provides unique scientific opportunities for studying the fate of minority languages. One can only hope that this volume will inspire more people to undertake the fieldwork.

Lenore A. Grenoble in Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 21(2)/2000, 157-159

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