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Issues in Language Endangerment and Documentation


Admission requirements

BA in Linguistics, Latin American Studies or other relevant disciplines


Experts estimate that only 50% of the 6000-7000 languages that are spoken today will still be spoken by the end of the century. Nowadays languages and the valuable scientific and cultural knowledge they hold are disappearing at a faster rate than ever before. In this course we will explore the phenomenon of language endangerment and language loss in the Americas and other regions of the world, and what is exactly at stake when a language becomes extinct. We will discuss the implications for societies and for scientific knowledge and actions undertaken by linguists, communities, and governments in response to the pending loss of so many languages. Reading material for this course consists of a set book and additional articles relevant to specific topics.

Course objectives

At the conclusion of the course the participants should be able to:

  • describe the highly endangered situation of the native languages of the Americas and other regions of the world

  • distinguish between the different processes of language loss

  • identify the consequences for a community to lose its language and culture

  • define measures taken to reverse language loss


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

2-hour weekly seminar

Assessment method


  • active class participation: 20%

  • one oral presentation: 30%

  • term paper: 50%


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average of the above components.


Resit: students who fail the course may resit the term paper.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

  • Evans, Nicholas (2010). Dying Words. Endangered Languages and What They Have to Tell Us. Malden (MA): Riley-Blackwell.

  • A list of additional readings (articles, book chapters) will be made available through Brightspace.

Brightspace will be used for:

  • announcements

  • access to course materials (syllabus, slides, links, etc.)

  • group discussions


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats

E-mail address Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats:

Coordinator of Studies


Credits for this course are 5 EC, but students that are interested can do a tutorial on grant writing for an additional 5 EC, resulting in a formal grant application (10 EC total). A formal approval of the Board of Examiners is required for the extension to 10 EC.