The 1st International Virtual Seminar on Endangered Language and Linguistics 2020

Sumatera Utara

November 28, 2020 – November 29, 2020

Indonesia having 707 languages spoken by an estimated 221 million inhabitants, which 7,102 are spoken worldwide (Ethnologue, 2015). This means that approximately 10% of the world's languages are in Indonesia. It is a matter of pride because it shows the richness of language and cultural diversity that we have. However, on the other hand, it becomes a challenge, or even a burden, for us to maintain the existence of these languages because preserving these local languages is closely related to preserving the knowledge.

Mandana Seyfeddinipur (Director of the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme at SOAS University of London) in her talk at TEDx entitled "Endangered languages: why it matters" explained how globalization, climate change, urbanization and political unrest are causing the extinction of languages at a rate equivalent to the loss of biological diversity during the mass extinction of the dinosaurs, and how this negatively impacts cultural diversity and decreases social resilience.

In Indonesia, according to Moseley (2010) in the book Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger, there are 146 languages that are endangered and 12 languages that have become extinct. These languages are generally located in the eastern part of Indonesia. The languages identified as extinct are Hukumina, Kayeli, Liliali, Moksela, Naka'ela, Nila, Palumata, Piru, and Te'un in Maluku, Mapia and Tandia in Papua, and Tobada 'in Sulawesi. Not only in the East Region, but also in the Western region of Indonesia, several local languages are threatened with extinction due to multilingualism and a crisis of confidence, such as the Leukon language on the island of Simeulue and Haloban language on Banyak Island in Aceh Province.

Based on these conditions, it is necessary to carry out the discussion in “The 1st International Virtual Seminar on Endangered Language and Linguistics (IVSoELL)” with the theme" Endangered Language Documentation and Languages Conservation " virtually to get current information from linguists and invite local language researchers to present their research. The purpose of this conference is to complement the research field of local languages in the Indonesian archipelago. It is hoped that studies documenting local languages can save knowledge that has contributed to overcoming social disparities and is a regional solution that is maintained and passed on to future generations. This conference will invite experts from several countries and different backgrounds to contribute in sharing their experience of language documentation project.

The EventThis activity is in virtual form which is the 1st conference in 2020, namely; “The 1st International Virtual Seminar on Endangered Language, and Linguistics (IVSoELL)” with the theme "Endangered Language Documentation, and aConservation”.


Sub Themes:

  • Documenting Variation in Endangered Languages
  • Contexts for Language Documentation and Revitalization
  • Methodology and Practice in Collaborative Language Research
  • Challenges and Issues in Endangered Language Fieldwork
  • Endangered Languages in Education Curriculum

Primary Speakers

  • Nicholas Williams, Ph.D. (Germany: University of Potsdam)
  • Ana Paula Brandao, Ph.D. (Brasil: Federal University of Pará)
  • Bradley McDonell, Ph.D. (USA: University of Hawai'i at Mānoa)
  • Brittany Hoback (New Zealand: Victoria University of Wellington)
  • Dr. TasnimLubis, M.Hum. (Indonesia: Universitas Sumatera Utara)


Conference Information