Society for Endangered Languages

One third of the approximately 6500 languages that are still being spoken in the world today will become extinct over the course of the next decades. According to pessimistic estimates, up to 90% of the languages still spoken today will die out within this century. Languages and dialects are not only the means through which we communicate with others and seek ways of explaining the world in which we live, they are also expressions of human culture and the human mind itself. They are of value in and of themselves and should be preserved and documented as manifestations of the creativity and diversity of the human mind.

The Society for Endangered Languages (GBS) is a non-profit organization which deals with the use, preservation, and documentation of endangered languages and dialects.

All natural and legal persons can become members of the GBS.

News: The public part of the GBS general meeting (Friday November 9th 2018) will feature two talks (PDF):

  • Henrike Frye: “Das Raunsepna (PNG) Patenschaftsprojekt”
  • Sonja Gipper & Frank Seifart: “Bericht zur Ausstellung Was fremde Sprachen anders machen”

The talks will take place from 11:00am to 12:30pm in the seminar room of the Department of Linguistics, University of Cologne, Meister-Ekkehart-Str. 7, 2nd floor right side.

The general meeting of the GBS will take place from 1:30pm bis 3:00pm in the same room.

The fantastic project A School Library for Raupsena needs your support. With the help of GBS, Henrike Frye and the people of Raupsena already collected 1000€ in donations. However, they still need some support to reach their goal of 2700€. Donations can be made on the project website given above.

We cordially invite you to the new exhibition What foreign languages do differently (Was fremde Sprachen anders machen), which will open at the Museum for Communication (Museum für Kommunikation) in Berlin on the 3rd of May. An invitation to this exhibition as well as further information can be found in the following flyer. The exhibition is a new and extended edition of the earlier exhibition “Raus mit der Sprache” (Spill the beans!) in Cologne (see bulletin 23), which was conceived and designed by Clara Henze, a graduate in design studies from Cologne, and supported by the GBS. The GBS board members Sonja Gipper, Nikolaus Himmelmann, and Frank Seifart were significantly involved in the conception and design of the Berlin exhibition, which will take place in the context of the so-called Humboldt theme year Languages of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and is also financially supported by this academy. The exhibition runs from May 4 to October 7.

A selection of further events surrounding the exhibition:

August 21, 2018, 6.30 pm Guided tour: Endangered language diversity – What is lost? (Bedrohte Sprachenvielfalt – Was geht verloren?) (Sonja Gipper, Gesellschaft für bedrohte Sprachen e.V.)

September 6, 2018, 6.30 pm to 8 pm Event: Small languages – big questions. What does linguistic field work investigate? (Kleine Sprachen – große Fragen. Was untersucht die linguistische Feldforschung?)

September 25, 2018, 6.30 pm Guided tour: Going on a language safari – Exploring and documenting languages (Auf Sprach-Safari – Fremde Sprachwelten erkunden und dokumentieren) (Frank Seifart, Gesellschaft für bedrohte Sprachen e.V.)


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