The diversity of the world’s languages is on the verge of becoming dramatically reduced in the decades to come. Partly due to the attention that has been drawn to this problem, the field of linguistics has been moving towards taking the diversity of languages more fully into account. The dramatic change in the amount and the nature of primary data that is being collected and analyzed has proven to have, and will continue to have, a profound influence on our insights into the human language faculty. The EUROCORES programme “Better Analyses Based on Endangered Languages (EuroBABEL)” will solidify this development and strengthen the impact of European research on linguistics as a whole. By conducting the research in close cooperation with researchers in the countries where endangered languages are spoken, the process of linguistic description, documentation and analysis of underdescribed languages will be accelerated.
The EuroBABEL programme is crucially different from, and complements, existing documentation initiatives in that our emphasis lies on bringing the newly gathered data to bear on the development of linguistic theory and all areas concerned with the study of language. The programme covers a number of projects that will work on primary data, both newly collected and archival material, in order to concentrate on the analysis and the use of the results to expand and correct our insights into the structure and nature of human language.