Bringing together a diverse collection of papers by leading researchers and practitioners, Sustaining Linguistic Diversity describes efforts to maintain and revitalize languages and language varieties in the United States and around the globe. These papers, initially presented at the Georgetown University Round Table in 2006, are organized into three strands that focus on defining, documenting, and developing languages.
With a focus on endangered and minority languages, this book explores how languages and language varieties are classified, what constitutes an endangered language, and possible responses to language endangerment, from noninterference to active involvement. Case studies present documentation and descriptions of endangered languages, minority languages, and dialects, as well as a description of goals, methods, and best practices for supporting language development. Additional chapters focus on language diversity in the United States and throughout the world, efforts to strengthen and support heritage languages, and the importance of educating the public on the value of linguistic and cultural diversity. The book concludes with a discussion of the value of diversity and a reminder about the human costs and challenges that are often connected with language revitalization efforts. 2008