This paper considers the additional uses of CALL in the Endangered Language (EL) context.
It briefly reviews ELs and reports on CALL for ELs in general. It then reviews the extra uses of CALL for ELs; these include
changing negative attitudes towards the language, arousing interest in the language and contributing to language maintenance
and documentation. In order to demonstrate the benefits of CALL for an EL, three examples are presented. Each of the ELs
discussed in this paper could be considered to be on a different scale on the Fishman (1991) Scale for an EL. The first CALL
application discussed is a program for Irish for primary school children. Irish is a Celtic language and is only regularly
used by about 10,000 speakers in Ireland. The main aim of the program was to
try to increase the children’s motivation to study Irish, which is a compulsory subject in schools in Ireland.
The second application is a literacy program for Tojolab’al, a Mayan language
spoken in Chiapas, Mexico. Tojolab’al could be considered to be a relatively
stable language (30,000–40,000 speakers out of an ethnic population of
about 80,000 people), but it has very few literate speakers. The idea of this project was to develop CALL courseware to
teach literacy, beginning with the letters and then progressing to words and phrases. The third example is CALL
courseware for Nawat, an Uto-Aztecan language of El Salvador. The remaining 150 speakers of Nawat are mainly elderly and
illiterate and this courseware aimed to document and develop courseware for the language, while the remaining speakers
were still alive. The paper concludes with lessons learnt for ELs in general from these three specific examples.
It surmises that despite the difficulties involved in the CALL for EL context, if a pragmatic approach is adopted, CALL
materials can have positive social benefits, which probably outweigh its contribution to language learning in the short-term.
The effort involved in CALL for ELs is definitely worthwhile.