UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Virtual Foundation for Endangered Languages Annual Conference: FEL24

23 September 2020–25 September 2020, 8:00 am–10:00 pm

Foundation for Endangered Languages

23-25 September 2020, hosted ONLINE. Theme: Teaching and Learning Resources for Endangered Languages

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to










The theme of this year’s FEL conference is teaching and learning materials (including primers, grammars, dictionaries, textbooks, websites, language documentation and other audiovisual material, apps, etc.) for, in, and about endangered languages. We have included presentations that focus on the types of pedagogical resources that are appropriate for endangered language situations (including the teaching and learning of speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills, as relevant), and the roles they can play in the support for and revitalisation of endangered languages. Presentations will also explore how such resources can contribute to the status and profile of a language, and what practical and pedagogical solutions and resources work best for first, heritage, and second language speakers and learners.

The conference will take place online. We will send information about the conferencing tool (Zoom or Microsoft Teams) and detailed instructions to registered participants closer to the time. In addition to the main presentations there will be virtual social and cultural events, break rooms, and a virtual reception room and test facility.
The draft programme and abstracts will be posted here in due course. Please note that abstract submission for this conference has ended. We will have talks in three time blocks: 8:00-12:00, 13:00-17:00 and 18:00-22:00 (BST, UK time).

Sign up for the event here by 19 September 2020: https://fel24.eventbrite.co.uk/ Please use the same registration page whether you register for one, two or three days.

We are not charging a registration fee but are encouraging everyone to make a donation to FEL’s grant programme instead: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/fel24

The conference email address is fel.london2020@gmail.com. Do get in touch if you have any questions.

We are proud to announce our three keynote speakers.
Bruno Estigarribia, UNC-Chapel Hill, USA: Guarani grammar

Timothy Currie Armstrong, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Isle of Skye, Scotland: Not Enough Words –  Language acquisition and identity work in tertiary-level Gaelic-medium education

Sophie Nock, University of Waikato, New Zealand: Textbooks for the teaching of te reo Māori: Time for change?

The conference will also feature a special panel titled Teaching and Learning Resources for Romani in Central Europe: Overcoming Standardisation.

The first evening of the conference will include a concert of Yiddish music by renowned performer Polina Shepherd.

September Lid
Concert of Yiddish music with Polina Shepherd

Polina Shepherd was born in Siberia and grew up in a home where songs were often sung at the family table. When she was a young child, her family moved to Tatarstan, where she found herself drawn to the specific Islamic ornamentation and timbre of the area. This is still present in her unique vocal style. Now a globally renowned performer, composer, choir leader and cultural activist, she brings the songs of the Steppes and the Shtetl bang up to date with passion and haunting soul. Her latest projects are about bringing the world together. Polina will bring us a selection of her latest compositions. Come and enjoy a unique performance, full of beautiful, inspiring song.


Conference organisers
Lily Kahn, UCL
Riitta-Liisa Valijärvi, UCL and Uppsala University

Scientific committee
Peter Austin, SOAS, University of London, and FEL
Zoë Belk, University College London
Rogier Blokland, Uppsala University
Christopher Moseley, University College London, and FEL
Aaron Rubin, Penn State University
Cassie Smith-Christmas, National University of Ireland, Galway and FEL
Kriszta Eszter Szendrői, University College London
Sonya Yampolskaya, University College London

The conference has been generously supported by the AHRC-funded UCL research project Contemporary Hasidic Yiddish.