The central concern in this book is the relationship between language and group identity, a relationship that is thrown into greatest relief in `minority' settings. Since much of the current interest in minority languages revolves around issues of identity politics, language rights and the plight of `endangered' languages, one aim of the book is to summarise and analyse these and other pivotal themes. Furthermore, since the uniqueness of every language-contact situation does not rest upon unique elements or features - but, rather, upon the particular weightings and combinations of features that recur across settings - the second aim here is to provide a general descriptive framework within which a wide range of contact settings may be more easily understood. The book thus begins with a discussion of such matters as language decline, maintenance and revival, the dynamics of minority languages, and the ecology of language. It then offers a typological framework that draws and expands upon previous categorising efforts. Finally, the book presents four case studies that are both intrinsically interesting and - more importantly - provide specific illustrations of the generalities discussed earlier.