The University of Newcastle is home to linguistics scholars with expertise in documenting diverse endangered languages, and in diverse theoretical and applied areas of research.
The world is experiencing an unprecedented wave of language extinctions, resulting in loss of cultural identities, knowledge systems, and the variety of data needed to understand the structure of language in the mind. Documenting endangered languages preserves data and stimulates language maintenance and revitalisation.
A unique area of linguistics research, Endangered Languages Documentation, Theory and Application (ELDTA) is a synergistic programme documenting and describing endangered languages and pursuing flow-on theoretical and practical applications. This has established the School of Humanities and Social Science in the Faculty of Education and Arts as an internationally recognised centre for linguistics, particularly endangered language research.
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As of 2015, ELDTA includes eight academic staff members and 10 PhD scholars, all of whom are working with endangered indigenous languages; nine of them in the Australia-Pacific region and one in Africa. PhD scholars have been recruited internationally and include students from Denmark, Germany, Italy, Vanuatu, and the United States – evidence of ELDTA's growing international reputation.
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