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About Language Snapshots

Language Snapshots provide key summary information about endangered and minority languages and about the social and cultural situation of their speakers and communities. Language Snapshot articles aim to complement existing reference materials such as Glottolog or Ethnologue.

For authors and researchers, Language Snapshots are an avenue for publishing accurate, up-to-date summary information on languages and their use that is not available elsewhere. Contributors are likely to be researchers (including early career researchers such as graduate students), community members, or others working on language revitalisation, language documentation, dictionary or text creation, or an ethnography. Articles could be based on materials prepared for a grant or scholarship application, or the introduction to an MA or PhD thesis. Submitted articles will be lightly reviewed by an areal specialist and the series editors. Publishing a Language Snapshot might be a first step before expanding the content to a longer and more detailed Language Contexts article.

Language Snapshots contain information about speaker demography, linguistic ecology, language vitality, research contexts, and language use and transmission in the local community and beyond. Articles typically mention the range of languages/varieties used by the speaker communities, including socio-cultural factors affecting language/variety choice.

See the Language Snapshots page to view and download.


Contributors can flexibly include content that provides an overview of a linguistic, social and research context. See the menu of possibilities below.

Articles should be concise and up to 1,500 words in length. We welcome the inclusion of maps and links to suitable online resources and archives. Media such as audio and video can also be included - please consult with the editors about details.

Editorial process

Submitted articles will be lightly peer reviewed by a language area specialist and published at no expense to authors as Open Access publications free to download under a Creative Commons License CC-BY-NC (Attribution-NonCommercial). The Language Snapshots editors are Peter K. Austin and David Nathan.

Style guide

See the Information for authors page for guides on style and submitting an article.

Menu of information categories

Here is a list of potential types of information that can be included:

Language identification

  • Language names (autonym, exonym, alternative names)
  • Dialects and varieties
  • ISO 639-3 codes and Glottolog codes (and/or notes about the use of these codes)
  • Brief discussion of genetic classification(s)
  • Population (number of speakers as L1 and L2 and/or numbers of members of the ethnic group)
  • Geographical distribution, such as a map and/or links to online maps


The language’s vitality status, as described by factors such as the multilingual repertoire of speakers, the language’s social position and attitudes towards it, domains of use, use in education and media, generational knowledge, official status in the geographic entities where spoken, writing system and literacy (if any), online and mobile use.

Linguistic neighbourhood

Other languages in the area, language contact, lingua francas, diglossia.

Existing literature

Available materials on the languages, and significant gaps. Notes on others’ research or activities.


Audio or video resources (or links to them) that add to the overview of the language and its community.

Current research

The contributor’s current research or projects on the language situation and the planned outcomes of this work.


EL Publishing aims for Language Snapshots to complement the ‘ecology’ of information about endangered and minority languages. This will be aided by encouraging links between published Language Snaphotsand other websites such as: