As linguists theorize about language endangerment and loss (LEL), we must understand the big picture: the coexistence of languages in particular polities and how the competition that sometimes arises is resolved. Many concerns have been voiced about LEL since the early 1990s, but theoretical developments regarding language vitality lag far behind linguists’ current investment in language advocacy. While discussing issues such as the failure to connect the subject matter to language evolution in general, the framing of LEL as deleterious almost exclusively to ‘indigenous peoples’, a lack of historical time depth, and the omission of the ecological factors in typical approaches to LEL, I argue that linguistics should theorize about language vitality more adequately than has been the case to date.


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pp. e202-e223
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