Language Documentation, Interdisciplinary Theory and Sustainable Development Goals

Key information

3:15 PM to 6:45 PM
Virtual Event

About this event

This workshop has now been moved to 17th December 2021, as a session of the main conference, and will be followed by a round table discussion. All attendees are invited to participate.

Click here to view full programme.

The SOAS Department of Linguistics is organising a one-day workshop on Language Documentation, Interdisciplinary Theory and Sustainable Development Goals, to be held online on 16th December 2021 , as part of the pre-conference session of the 6th Conference on Language Documentation and Linguistic Theory (LDLT6) .

Triggered by earlier concerns about language diversity loss, the field of (modern) language documentation emerged in the mid-1990s, with the aim to create, preserve and disseminate comprehensive corpora of not only linguistic, but also social and cultural practices encoded in minoritised and threatened languages. As the philosophy and methodology of documentary linguistics have been shaped and reshaped over the last 25 years or so, its interdisciplinary nature has become central to its definition. Recently, Bradley & Bradley (2019) pointed out that, in addition to data from a wide array of local knowledge, a comprehensive documentation must also capture the interactions between demographic, geographical, ecological, political, social, economic, historical, educational and cultural factors. But to what extent can language documentation inform and influence those fields of enquiry?

We invite contributions that use empirical data in order to explore how the documentation of minoritised and endangered languages, practices and ancestral folk knowledge can influence the theory and research output of disciplines other than linguistics, including, but not limited to:

  • anthropology, ethnology, ethnography, ethnobiology, ethnobotany, ethnomedicine, ethnomusicology, ethnoastronomy, ethnogeology;
  • ecology and environmental sciences;
  • sociology, psychology, behavioural sciences;
  • health sciences (including mental health);
  • history and archaeology;
  • geography, economics, land ownership and land tenure, law, political sciences.

We especially welcome contributions that investigate if, how and to what extent the relations between documentary linguistics and other disciplines are relevant to some of the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations in order to encourage global strategies that improve education and health, stimulate economic growth, tackle ecological issues, reduce conflicts and inequality, and generally aim to end poverty and deprivation.

Postgraduate students and early career researchers

MA students, PhD candidates and postdoctoral researchers are particularly encouraged to submit contributions.


Presentations will be 20 minutes followed by 10 minutes of discussion. Each individual may present up to one single-authored paper and one joint paper throughout the whole conference (main session and workshops). The deadline for submission is at midnight (GMT) on Tuesday 26th October 2021 . The text of the abstract should be anonymous, a minimum of 11 pt font and no more than one page in length, including references and examples. They should be in .pdf format and the file name should start with LDLT6, followed by an underscore and then first authors’ surname, e.g. LDLT6_ashmore.pdf. If you have a common surname, please include initials, e.g. LDLT6_jjones.pdf. Abstracts should be submitted using the LDLT6 Easychair site . Please specify if you would like your abstract to be considered for the main conference or one of the workshops.

Notifications of acceptance will be sent in early November, when we will ask presenters to return to us either a pre-recorded version of their contribution, which we will play at the established time, or the slides with no voice-over if they prefer to talk live. In either case, the discussion will take place live, via the designated online platform.


All formal interaction (presentations, questions and comments, round tables etc.) will be online (platform TBC). Joint viewing facilities will be available at SOAS, University of London, only for the main conference. A small reception followed by dinner will be organized on the last day of the conference for those participants who are based or staying locally, provided that the social distancing rules are relaxed enough by then.


Selected papers from the main conference and workshops will be published in a special edition of the peer-reviewed journal Language Documentation and Description .

Further information and registration details

Further information and registration details may be found at the conference webpage .

All inquiries should be directed to

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