Ecological Perspectives on Language Endangerment
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Ecological Perspectives on Language Endangerment

Applying the Sustainable Use Model for Language Development

About the Book

This volume contains the proceedings of a symposium that took place during the 2011 annual meeting of the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) in Chicago, Illinois. The purpose of the symposium was to present the Sustainable Use Model for Language Development (SUM) and, in particular, to demonstrate the application of the Expanded Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale (EGIDS) as a means of describing language ecologies in different parts of the world.

The book consists of 3 introductory chapters which give an overview of the Sustainable Use Model. Chapter 1 (Lewis), gives a general overview. Chapter 2 (Simons) gives a more detailed description of the EGIDS and the FAMED conditions and includes an EGIDS evaluation tool as an appendix. Chapter 3 (Karan, forthcoming) provides an explanation of the Perceived Benefit Model which serves as the basis for the SUM's description of Motivation, one of the FAMED conditions. These foundational chapters are followed by four cases studies in which the language ecologies of Brazil (Anonby, Chp. 4), Bangladesh (Kim, Chp. 5), Democratic Republic of Congo (Bagamba and Boone, Chp. 6) and Malaysia (Lewis, Moody and Rose, Chp. 7) are described by using the EGIDS to develop a profile of language vitality in each country. A final chapter, (Quakenbush, Chp. 8) summarizes the lessons learned from these case studies. 

About the Editors

M. Paul Lewis
M. Paul Lewis

M. Paul Lewis served as general editor of Ethnologue: Languages of the World from 2004 to 2016, and is a Senior Consultant in Sociolinguistics with SIL International. His primary research and publication interests are in language maintenance, shift and death, language policy and planning, and language documentation. He has authored, co-authored, or edited more than 50 publications. Along with Gary F. Simons, he is a developer of the Expanded Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale (EGIDS) and the Sustainable Use Model (SUM). Beyond his duties as general editor of the Ethnologue (, he has primarily done research, consulting and training in sociolinguistics with SIL International in Africa, Australia, Asia, Central America, Europe and North America.

Gary F. Simons
Gary F. Simons, Editors

Gary F. Simons is the Chief Research Officer for SIL International (Dallas, TX) and Executive Editor of the Ethnologue ( He is also Adjunct Professor of Applied Linguistics at the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics (Dallas, TX). Early in his career he was involved in language development activities in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.  More recently he has contributed to the development of cyberinfrastructure for linguistics as co-founder of the Open Language Archives Community ( and co-developer of the ISO 639-3 standard of three-letter identifiers for all known languages of the world ( He holds a PhD in general linguistics (with minor emphases in computer science and classics) from Cornell University. He is an author or editor of over 100 publications (

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Contributors
  • 1. Introducing the Sustainable Use Model
    • 1.1 Introduction
    • 1.2 Basic assumptions and concepts of the SUM
    • 1.3 The SUM process
    • 1.4 The FAMED conditions
    • 1.5 Summary and conclusions
    • 1.6 References
  • 2. Expanding Fishman’s GIDS
    • 2.1 GIDS: A measuring rod for language vitality
    • 2.2 EGIDS: An expanded GIDS
    • 2.3 EGIDS and sustainability
    • 2.4 Assigning an EGIDS level
    • 2.5 Sustainability and the FAMED conditions
    • 2.6 EGIDS as an implicational scale
    • 2.7 Conclusion
    • 2.8 Appendix: A job aid for EGIDS assessors
    • 2.9 References
  • 3. Motivation as a Condition for Sustainable Language Use
    • 3.1 Motivation within the SUM
    • 3.2 How the SUM is used
    • 3.3 Motivational alignment
    • 3.4 The Perceived Benefit Model and motivational alignment
    • 3.5 Conclusion
    • 3.6 References
  • 4. The Extended Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale Applied in Brazil
    • 4.1 A general profile of the language ecology
    • 4.2 Languages being maintained against all odds
    • 4.3 Languages that are shifting quickly
    • 4.4 A discussion of the EGIDS levels, applied primarily to indigenous languages
    • 4.5 References
  • 5. Towards a Language Vitality Profile of Bangladesh
    • 5.1 Overview
    • 5.2 An EGIDS profile of Bangladesh
    • 5.3 Applying the SUM and FAMED conditions to EGIDS level 5 languages
    • 5.4 Language change not accounted for
    • 5.5 EGIDS level 3 vehicularity: how wide is wide enough?
    • 5.6 Conclusion
    • 5.7 References
  • 6. Challenges to Applying the EGIDS in Northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo
    • 6.1 Introduction
    • 6.2 EGIDS profile of the Democratic Republic of Congo
    • 6.3 Case Studies
    • 6.4 Bale-dha: Is the killer being killed?
    • 6.5 Known cases of language shift in northeastern Congo
    • 6.6 Lessons learned
    • 6.7 Conclusion
    • 6.8 References
  • 7. Profiles of Language Vitality in Malaysia
    • 7.1 Introduction
    • 7.2 Methodology
    • 7.3 A tentative profile of Malaysian language vitality
    • 7.4 Initial cluster hypotheses
    • 7.5 Summary and conclusions
    • 7.6 References
  • 8. Some Lessons Learned in Applying EGIDS and the Sustainable Use Model
    • 8.1 Comparing four country profiles
    • 8.2 EGIDS distinctives
    • 8.3 Lessons learned
    • 8.4 Summarizing SUM and EGIDS
    • 8.5 References
  • Notes

About the Publisher

This book is published on Leanpub by Pike Center

Pike Center for Integrative Scholarship is an initiative of SIL International that builds capacity for language development through scholarship. SIL works alongside ethnolinguistic communities as they discover how language development addresses the challenging areas of their daily lives—social, cultural, political, economic and spiritual.

One of Pike Center’s strategies for building capacity is to grow the needed bodies of knowledge through its Agile Publishing program. We are using this lean publishing platform to give our affiliated scholars a platform for developing and refining new contributions to growing bodies of knowledge that support the language development movement. Many of our titles are still in a preliminary stage of development. Others are finished but have such a narrow audience that we have not elected to turn them into print books. Still others have reached the maturity of becoming a print book; in such cases, this is indicated by a link on the landing page for the book.

All of the revenues generated through sales on this site are directed to the Pike Center to support the on-going research activities of its affiliated scholars. Naming a higher price when you purchase one of our books is a way of contributing to this cause. Or you may go to the Pike Center website to make a donation that will receive a tax-deductible receipt.

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