Mapping Linguistic Vitality and Language Endangerment
The endangerment and even disappearance of languages, partly due to the effects of globalization and other factors, have been a growing concern for the last 25 years. It is generally accepted that the loss of any language reduces the cultural diversity of the world and affects communities by the loss of cultural identity and traditions. The issue of language vitality is a key element in the discussion of language endangerment. The Expanded Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale (EGIDS) was developed to measure language vitality, and languages that are categorized EGIDS levels 6b–8b are considered to be endangered. Ethnologue (http://www.ethnologue.com), in its listing of the world’s languages, now includes the EGIDS level of each language alongside other language-related information.
In this chapter the measurement of language vitality will be discussed, a concept map presented portraying the process of making a language map, and the science, technology and art of making a language map discussed with examples from different areas of the world. Finally, a map of Venezuela highlighting endangered languages and their levels of endangerment will be presented.
KeywordsEndangered languages Language vitality Language map EGIDS Ethnologue
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