The Department of Linguistics at Deccan College in Pune, India, held its second international conference under the UGC – Special Assistance Program on Language from February 4-6. The conference was held in collaboration with the Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore. Sally was one of the plenary speakers at the International Conference on Indian Languages in Contact Situations: Historical, Typological and Sociolinguistic Perspectives. Her talk was entitled "Language Contact and Language Endangerment".
Here's the abstract:
Although language contact is a virtually universal precondition for language endangerment, contact does not necessarily lead to endangerment. In this talk I will explore the complex relationship between contact and endangerment, focusing primarily on the difference between stable and transitional bilingualism. I will also consider the meaning of ``endangered language'' from the perspective of language contact: if, for instance, language A is influenced to an extreme degree by language B in lexicon and also in nonlexical grammatical subsystems, is language A endangered, or perhaps even dead? This issues arises, for instance, in some efforts to revitalize endangered languages, where what is revitalized can be very different from the pre-contact state of the target language. Finally, I will argue that -- as is evident from the dozens or even hundreds of language revitalization programs that have been springing up all over the world in recent years -- transitional bilingualism does not inevitably result in the disappearance of a minority language whose speakers are shifting to a dominant language.