Language Ecology

The ecology of language is a framework for the study of language as conceptualised primarily in Einar Haugen’s 1971/72 work, where he defines language ecology as “the study of interactions between any given language and its environment”. It was a reaction to the abstract notion of language – as a monolithic, decontextualised, static entity – propagated by Chomsky, and it was conceived as a broad and interdisciplinary framework. In his use of ‘ecology’ as a metaphor from biology in linguistics, Haugen formulated ten questions which together comprehensively address factors pertaining to the positioning of languages in their environment. Each of these relates to a traditional sub-field of the study of language – encompassing historical linguistics, linguistic demography, sociolinguistics, contact, variation, philology, planning and policy, politics of language, ethnolinguistics, and typology – and each of them intersects with one or more of the other sub-fields. Taken together, answering some or all of these questions is part of the enterprise of the ecology of language. Since then the notion of ecology in linguistics has evolved to address matters of social, educational, historical and developmental nature. With the development of ecology as a special branch of biology, and issues of the 20th and 21st centuries such as migration, hybridity and marginalisation coming to the fore, the notion of language ecology plays an important part in addressing broad issues of language and societal change, endangerment, human rights, as well as more theoretical questions of classification and perceptions of languages, as envisaged in Haugen’s work.
ISSN 2452-1949 | E-ISSN 2452-2147
Sample issue: LE 1:1
General Editors
Umberto Ansaldo | Curtin University | uansaldo at
Lisa Lim | Curtin University
Editorial Board
Michel DeGraff | Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ana Deumert | University of Cape Town
Stig Eliasson | Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz
Durk Gorter | University of the Basque Country
Huamei Han | Simon Fraser University
Mie Hiramoto | National University of Singapore
Ernst Håkon Jahr | University of Agder
Ryuko Kubota | University of British Columbia
Don Kulick | Uppsala University
Stephen May | University of Auckland
Felicity Meakins | University of Queensland
Miriam Meyerhoff | University of Oxford
Salikoko S. Mufwene | University of Chicago
Julia Sallabank | SOAS, University of London
Eeva M. Sippola | University of Helsinki
Christopher Stroud | University of the Western Cape
Peter Trudgill | University of Fribourg
Kees Versteegh | Radboud University Nijmegen
Honoré Watanabe | Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
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Volume 4 (2020)

Volume 3 (2019)

Volume 2 (2018)

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I.     Preliminaries

1.     All inquiries should be directed to the editors by e-mailing the journal at uansaldo at

2.     Manuscripts should be submitted through the journal’s  online submission and manuscript tracking site.

3.     The length of the manuscript should be as follows:

4.     For initial submission, authors should submit an anonymised manuscript as a Word doc file.

5.     Authors are responsible for observing copyright laws when quoting or reproducing material. The copyright of articles published in Language Ecology is held by the publisher. Permission for the author to use the article elsewhere will be granted by the publisher provided full acknowledgement is given to the source.

II.    Formal aspects

A.    Layout, organisation, and typographic conventions

1.     The recommended document format is as follows: 2.5cm margins, 1.5-line spacing, and preferred font of Times New Roman, size 11/12.

2.     For phonetic symbols, use electronic phonetic fonts. If possible, please use Lucida Sans Unicode (available from Others can be used as well, such as SILDoulosIPA, provided by the Summer Institute of Linguistics at Dallas, TX (FTP://, but are more error-prone because characters have to be substituted by those preferred by the publisher’s production department.

3.     At the beginning of the paper, authors must provide a concise and informative title of the article, a self-contained abstract in English (100-150 words) that should not contain any undefined abbreviations or unspecified references, and five to ten keywords to be used for indexing purposes. Note that the initial submission needs to be anonymised, so please do not include name and affiliation in the paper.

4.     Papers should be reasonably divided into sections and, if appropriate, subsections. The headings of these subsections should be numbered in Arabic numerals (1.; 1.1.; 1.1.1.). Authors are advised not to use more than three levels of displayed headings.

5.     Use footnotes, not endnotes. Footnote numbers should follow the punctuation mark.

6.     Use italicisation for example words under discussion and foreign words (e.g.: “the pronunciation of either is variable”; nota bene). Use bold font for emphasised words.

7.     Use double quotation marks (“ ... ”) for quotations. Punctuation should come after the quote and not within it, e.g. “quote, quote, quote”. Use ellipsis brackets to mark ellipsis [...]. Also use double quotation marks for references to theoretical terms or concepts the first time they are used in the paper. Use single quotation marks (‘ ... ‘) for translations and meanings only.

8.     If an abbreviation is to be used, please spell it out in the first instance with the abbreviation in parentheses, and then use it consistently, e.g. “… in Hong Kong English (HKE), …”.

B.    Examples, tables and figures

9.     Examples should be numbered consecutively. References for the source of the example should be provided in the text or next to the example. If you need to arrange parts of your text in columns, to add interlinear translations or comments, etc., use tables instead of tabs and spaces.

10.   Tables and figures (graphs, diagrams, maps) should be numbered consecutively and provided with a clear and concise title placed above the table or figure, with left alignment. They should be referred to in the main text by their number and with initial capital, e.g. “as shown in Table 1,…”. Graphs should have their axes labeled appropriately (e.g. %, Hz, region, etc.).

11.   Please provide us with: Clean, camera-ready copies of all diagrams and maps, either as hardcopies on separate sheets of paper or as high-quality graphic files (.jpg or similar); and original files (Excel, etc.) for tables and diagrams.

C.    References

12a. For references in the text, please adopt the following format: (Haugen 1972a: 325).

12b. Where more than one reference is being listed, list them chronologically, not alphabetically. Where there is more than one publication from the same year by different authors, list these alphabetically.

12c. Use semi-colons to separate publications in a list of references (e.g. Hale 1992; Trudgill 1992; Nettle 1999), but commas between references by the same author (e.g. Trudgill 1992, 2004; Nettle 1999, 2009).

13.   If there are primary sources are used, these are listed in a section called “Sources” which should be placed before the “References” section.

14.   For the References section, please follow the examples below for order of information, formatting, and punctuation. Some general points include:

Authored and edited books and special issues:

Ansaldo, Umberto. 2009. Contact Languages: Ecology and Evolution in Asia. Cambridge Approaches to Language Contact. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hector, Ivy Kulngari, George Jungurra Kalabidi, Spider Banjo, Topsy Nangari Ngarnjal Dodd, Ronnie Jangala Wirrba Wavehill, Dandy Danbayarri, Violet Nanaku Wadrill, Bernard Puntiyarri, Ida Bernard Malyik, Biddy Wavehill, Helen Morris, Lauren Campbell, Felicity Meakins and Glenn Wightmann. 2012. Bilinarra, Gurindji and Malngin Plants and Animals: Aboriginal Knowledge of Flora and Fauna from Judbarra/Gregory National Park, Nijburru, Kalkarindji and Daguragu, Northern Australia. Katherine, NT, Australia: Bilinarra, Gurindji and Malngin People; Department of Land Resource Management.

Kubota, Ryuko, ed. 2015. Race and Language Learning in Multicultural Canada. Special Issue, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 36(1).

Vandenbussche, Wim, Ernst Håkon Jahr and Peter Trudgill, eds. 2013. Language Ecology for the 21st Century: Linguistic Conflicts and Social Environments. Oslo: Novus Press.

Journal articles and book chapters:

Ansaldo, Umberto and N.J. Enfield. 2016. Editorial: Is the language faculty nonlinguistic? Frontiers in Psychology 7: 861. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00861  

Deumert, Ana and Nkululeko Mabandla. 2013. “Every day a new shop pops up” – South Africa’s ‘new’ Chinese diaspora and the multilingual transformation of rural towns. English Today 29(1): 44-52. doi:

Eliasson, Stig. 1979-1980. Expressiv geminering hos svenska hypokorismer och ellipsord [Expressive gemination in Swedish hypocorisms and elliptical words]. Nysvenska Studier 59-60: 341-361. [Also in: Valter Jansson, Bengt Nordberg and Mats Thelander, eds. 1980. Ord och Struktur. Studier i Nyare Svenska tillägnade Gun Widmark den 31 juli 1980. Uppsala: Lundequistska Bokhandeln. 341–361.]

Gorter, Durk.2013. Meartalich ûnderwiis foar it Baskysk en it Frysk: In ferliking [Multilingual education for Basque and Frisian: A comparison]. In H. Brand, B. Groen, E. Hoekstra and C. Van der Meer, eds. De Tienduizend Dingen: Feestbundel voor Reinier Salverda. Leeuwarden/Ljouwert, Netherlands. 463-476.

Han, Huamei. 2013. Review of John Edwards, 2012, Multilingualism: Understanding Linguistic Diversity, London/ NY: Continuum. Canadian Modern Language Review 69(2): 240-243.

Haugen, Einar. 1972a. The ecology of language. In Einar Haugen, ed. 1972b. The Ecology of Language: Essays by Einar Haugen. Selected and introduced by A. Dil. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. 325-339.

Kulick, Don and Christopher Stroud. 1990. Christianity, cargo and ideas of self: Patterns of literacy in a Papua New Guinean Village. Man 25(2): 286-304. doi:10.2307/2804565

Meyerhoff, Miriam. 2013. Place and purpose: Indexicality in ecological perspective. In Wim Vandenbussche, Ernst Håkon Jahr and Peter Trudgill, eds. Language Ecology for the 21st Century: Linguistic Conflicts and Social Environments. Oslo: Novus Press. 267-291.

Mufwene, Salikoko S. 2015. Colonization, indigenization, and the differential evolution of English: Some ecological perspectives. In Larry E. Smith and S.N. Sridhar, eds. Special Issue celebrating the Life and Work of Yamuna Kachru. World Englishes 34(1): 6-21. doi: 10.1111/weng.12129

Omoniyi, Tope. 2000. Island identities: A theoretical framework. In Tope Omoniyi, ed. Islands and Identity in Sociolinguistics: Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. Special Issue, International Journal of the Sociology of Language 143: 1-13.

Versteegh, Kees. 2014. Speaking of the past: The development of past time reference in Arabic pidgins. Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages 29(2): 211-231. doi: 10.1075/jpcl.29.2.02ver

Working/ research papers, dissertations, manuscripts, and unpublished reports:

Lim, Lisa. 2015. Catalysts for change: On the evolution of new contact varieties in the multilingual knowledge economy. Ms. The University of Hong Kong.

Sallabank, Julia. 2013. The sociolinguistic situation in the Cook Islands. Unpublished project report. School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Shiraiwa, Hiroyuki, Mie Hiramoto and Yoshiyuki Asahi. 2013. Dialect contact and use of personal pronouns in the Japanese community in Hawai‘i: A case study of the oral history records. (In Japanese.) Working Papers, Graduate School of Education, Osaka University. Available online at

Sippola, Eeva. 2011. Una Gramática Descriptiva del Chabacano de Ternate. PhD dissertation. University of Helsinki. Available online at   


Meakins, Felicity. 2013. Gurindji Kriol structure dataset. In Susanne Michaelis, Philip Maurer, Magnus Huber and Martin Haspelmath, eds. Atlas of Pidgin and Creole Language Structures Online. Munich: Max Planck Digital Library. Available online at; accessed 9 Sept 2016.


May, Stephen. 2011. Dealing with the 'perils' of diversity: Addressing the pluralist dilemma in Aotearoa/ New Zealand. Inaugural Lectures 2011, The University of Auckland. Auckland, New Zealand. 31 March 2011.

Watanabe, Honoré. 2010. Insubordinating use of formally subordinate clause in Sliammon Salish. Meeting of the Society for the Study of Indigenous Languages of the Americas. Baltimore, Maryland, USA. 7 Jan 2010.


DeGraff, Michel. 2010. Language barrier: Creole is the language of Haiti, and the education system needs to reflect that. Boston Globe. 16 June 2010. Accessed 18 August 2016.


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Main BIC Subject

CF: Linguistics

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General