The 5th International Endangered and Lesser-Known Languages Conference (ELKL - 5) will focus on language documentation, policy, scripts and cross-disciplinary approaches. It aims to bring together academics, students, policy-makers and members of indigenous communities from around the world to discuss current theories, methodologies, approaches and practices with the primary emphasis on the major themes of this conference.
In addition to the opportunity of sharing experiences with a network of linguists and researchers from other allied disciplines, it is hoped that participants will leave the conference with a new understanding of the topic, innovative ideas for documentation, application of cross-disciplinary approaches within their own linguistic contexts.
One of the key components of studying endangered languages involve efforts towards language revitalization. It has been argued that revitalization involves development of an orthography for the vanishing voices. This empowers and enhances its status and prestige as it provides a tool and a way to encode and to set it down as a permanent record. In speech communities that are fragmented dialectally or geographically, a common writing system may help create a sense of unified identity. It can help to keep languages thriving by facilitating teaching and learning. Amidst all these advantages the question of creating orthography triggers many critical questions and this conferences invites papers that debate the critical questions like

  • Whose task should this be: that of the linguist or the speech community?

  • Should an orthography be maximally distanciated from that of the language of wider communication for ideological reasons, or should its main principles coincide for reasons of learnability?

  • Should alphabets be preferred to logographic systems? Which local variety should be selected as the basis of a common script?

  • Is a polynomic script preferable to a standardized orthography?

  • Can developing an orthography actually create problems for existing native speakers?

The politics of language makes the role of language policy imperative. For negotiating power among different speech communities linguistic legislation plays key role. Where varieties are endangered, language policy often takes the form of specific ideologies that underlie language planning strategies. As such, its goals may be specific and practical in nature, such as orthographic reform, or more emblematic, such as measures for the promotion and protection of vulnerable languages. This conference aims to explore how and whether the interface between people, politics and language can affect the fortunes of the endangered linguistic varieties involved. 
In a time, when the boundaries among discipline are getting porous it is important to discuss how cross disciplinary approaches to language documentation has evolved in current times. The basic idea is to talk about the imbrication involved and present how other allied disciplines (speech technology, mobile app, community radio, music, theatre and others) have a major role for saving the endangered languages. 
Papers discussing original and unpublished research related to, but not limited to, the above special themes are specially encourages. In the light of these discussions, submissions on lesser-known varieties of Hindi will also be acceptable.

Call for paper

Important Dates

Draft paper submission deadline:2016-11-15

Topics of submission

In addition to this, like previous editions of the conference, we solicit papers discussing original and unpublished research related to, but not limited to, the following general sub-themes and areas of research

  • Description of Indian endangered and lesser-known languages - phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics

  • Typological, Areal and Historical Descriptions

  • Language Documentation

  • Dictionaries of Indian endangered languages

  • Language Archiving - best practices and methods

  • Folklore 

  • Oral Tradition

  • Multilingualism, language shift, language maintenance and language death

  • Language attitude and Language Revitalization

  • Language policy, language planning and language endangerment

  • FIeld reports

  • Linguistic Human Rights

  • Language and Education

  • Ethical, legal and practical issues in language documentation of endangered and lesser-known languages in India and their solution

  • Biocultural and Linguistic Diversity of India

  • Media and Language Endangerment

  • Endangered Languages and Cultures in Jharkhand: The Road Ahead

  • Scripts and Cognitive Sciences


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Contact information

  • Sudhanshu Shekhar
  • 91-8651368606