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Conference, “Indigenous and Minority Languages: Living History and Opportunities for the Future”

July 1, 2019 - July 12, 2019

UNESCO estimates that approximately 600 of the world’s languages have disappeared in the last century, and the loss continues at a rate of one language every two weeks.  At this rate, up to 90% of the remaining languages will be lost by the end of this century. Language is a key component of cultural identity; consequently, language loss threatens the preservation of traditional knowledge, makes customary laws and systems of governance more difficult to comprehend, and undermines a people’s ability to maintain spiritual practices.

Given these high stakes, over thirty international language experts will convene at the FedEx Global Education Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to discuss and share ideas on how to preserve indigenous and minority languages around the world. The conference, “Indigenous and Minority Languages: Living History and Opportunities for the Future,” will take place July 1 through July 12, 2019.

Round table discussions will focus around the following themes:

  • Practical Language Revitalization and Empowerment Activities in the Americas and Europe
  • Language and Health
  • Language Documentation and Revitalization among the Nahuas and the Tének in Mexico
  • Language Sustainability
  • Wauja Language Revitalization in Brazil
  • Indigeneity, Culture and Language in the Ecological Borderlands of Northern Mexico
  • Archiving Cherokee Texts
  • Developing Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality tools for Language Teaching
  • Arabic Heritage Languages
  • Construction Dictionaries for Indigenous Languages
  • Digital Resources of Latgalian Language
  •  Language Preservation Wapishana-English Bilingual Education Program in Guyana
  • Greko New Speakers and Language Activists
  • Maya Ancient and Modern Languages and Environmental Conservation

This conference is part of the project COLING: Minority Languages, Major Opportunities. Collaborative Research, Community Engagement and Innovative Educational Tools, funded by Horizon 2020 MSCA RISE program (778384). COLING is an international, multi-institutional project that creates spaces for academics, experts, language and speech community members, and activists from various communities in the world to meet, discuss, and share their work and knowledge on language revitalization programs in very different contexts.


Event Contacts:

Beatriz Riefkohl Muñiz, executive director, Institute for the Study of the Americas, UNC-Chapel Hill

Greta de León, executive director, Americas Research Network (ARENET)


July 1, 2019
July 12, 2019
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FedEx Global Education Center
301 Pittsboro St.
Chapel Hill, NC 27516 United States
View Venue Website