Encyclopedia of Language and Education

2008 Edition
| Editors: Nancy H. Hornberger

Researching Language Loss and Revitalization

  • Leena Huss
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-30424-3_246

Introduction

Language loss refers to a societal or individual loss in use or in the ability to use a language, implying that another language is replacing it. It is a very common phenomenon world‐wide wherever languages are in contact. Language loss may be the result of subtractive bilingualism where a new language is learnt at the cost of the mother tongue (Lambert, 1974), or it can be seen as the choice of a person who believes that ceasing to use a lower‐status mother tongue will result in a better position in society or in higher prospects for the next generation. While this type of shift is often framed as “speaker's choice,” we can question if this kind of choice is really “free” as it is strongly influenced by unequal power relations between languages and language groups (Dorian, 1993).

The issue of language loss on a large scale, ultimately leading to the extinction of entire languages, was brought to a wider audience by Krauss ( 1992) more than a decade ago. According to his...

Keywords

Minority Language Indigenous Language Original Language Language Choice Language Dominance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leena Huss
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Multiethnic ResearchUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden