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Small languages on the big stage: Linguistic diversity in research, revitalisation, and policies

“Small” languages of the world take various shapes — indigenous languages, minoritised languages, migrant languages, or non-dominant varieties of languages of wider communication. Despite these differences, “small” languages generally face similar obstacles regarding political recognition, need for documentation and description, technological support, language activism, revitalisation or reclamation movements.

These important fields for enquiry and support are not unknown to language workers, activists, or linguists. Documentation efforts have been increasing for the last thirty years and special interest groups are forming around endangered languages. Simultaneously, a plethora of publications on selected issues of minoritised and less-commonly spoken languages invite discourse on these issues.

At the same time, numerous scholars and language workers lament the exoticism tied to indigenous languages and the emphasis of discourses on endangerment rather than the focus on underlying mechanisms of disenfranchisement, discrimination, or ‘benign neglect’.

This year’s meeting of the annual LIPP-Symposium at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München is dedicated to these languages and their unique sociolinguistic context and aims to create a platform — a “big stage” — for researchers of any career stage, activists, and community members to discuss similarities and overarching topics across the range of “small” languages. Given the high relevance of this topic during the UNESCO International Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022-2032 (, inter- and transdisciplinary research as well as reports on collaborative projects with communities are highly encouraged under the conference theme.

Patrons / Schirmherrschaft

Prof. Dr. Ksenia Shagal

PD Dr. habil. Peter-Arnold Mumm