Thank you to all of our donors!

Without you all, our Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for Talking Dictionaries in Papua New Guinea would not have been a success. We would like to extend our sincerest thanks to all of our donors:

Tarek Milleron, Dave Prine, Jessica Illman, Anna Belew, Michael A. Hall, Allison Taylor-Adams, Laetitia Chaneac, Julie Kanakanui, Barbara Partee, David Robinson, Arpiar Saunders, Eric Raimy, Molly Allison-Baker, Robert Munro, Nori Heikkinen, David Nolin, John Ziker, Lee Wilson Ballard, Emily Gref, Mikael Siren, Ryan Henke, Robert Wessling, Sarah Truesdale, Katherine Vincent, Claire Catania, Ulrike Christofori, Boise State Linguistics Lab, Walid Saleh, Chris Donlay, Debbie Anderson, Carla Hurd, Fran Osborne, Laurence Cotton, Sema Balaman, Kimberly Jackson, Sarah Laskin, Audrey Van Herck, James Glenz, Edward Hess, Carley Hydusik, Tamra Wysocki-Niimi, Carl Franco, Bryony Rigby, William Graeper, Tania Reino, Ilona Staples, Nancy Mariano, Stephen Holt, Alex Francis, Alex Sinton, Carole Smith, Bewenca, M. Skelly, Les and Janice Lederer.



36 hours left!

Here is an important message from K. David Harrison, our Director of Research, about our current Indiegogo fundraising campaign:

Dear friends of Living Tongues,

This is K. David Harrison writing to you to let you know there are 36 hours left in our fundraising campaign to raise money for creating new Talking Dictionaries in Papua New Guinea.

Your gift will go towards training students to create cutting-edge Talking Dictionaries for some of the world’s most under-documented languages. Please consider donating today.

Donate here:

For those of you who have already donated, I want to say thank you for you generosity, and for helping language activists and linguists to safeguard linguistic diversity around the world.

Thank you!

K. David Harrison, Ph.D
Director of Research
Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages

ps. Check out the Talking Dictionaries we have already built, along with new ones for minority languages in Latin America:

Image K. David Harrison working with speakers of the Matukar language in Papua New Guinea. Photo by Chris Rainier.

Indiegogo Fundraising Campaign for Talking Dictionaries in PNG

ImageGibe and Pipe, Huli wigmen, in the Southern Highlands of Papua new Guinea. Traditional ceremonial paint colors: Mali-ambua-hare, Waterfall: Iba-Fugu. Photo by Chris Rainier.

This post is about our fundraising campaign on Indiegogo. We have 9 days left to raise $2750 that will go towards creating new Talking Dictionaries in Papua New Guinea. Please consider donating. Thank you for your support.

Background. Every two weeks, the last fluent speaker of a language dies, and humanity loses another language. Nearly half of the world’s languages are likely to vanish in the next 100 years.

Over the last decade at Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages, we have worked with hundreds of people dedicated to endangered language documentation around the world. Through community collaboration, we have made some of the first-ever digital recordings of dozens of endangered languages, and we have traveled to many countries to train language activists in documentation techniques that can help preserve their cultural and linguistic legacy.
Papua New Guinea’s Languages. The island nation of Papua New Guinea (PNG) represents the greatest single concentration of linguistic diversity on earth, with 830 listed languages identified thus far, and an unknown number remaining to be scientifically documented.
Without PNG, no survey of the world’s languages would be complete, nor would our understanding of the current global process of languages extinction. With so many of PNG’s languages being undocumented and in danger of disappearing, now is the time to start creating recordings of these languages, and helping local activists and students to create materials that can preserve their languages for the future.


Our goal is to teach a 4-day digital media skills workshop at the Papua New Guinea University of Technology (UNITECH) in which local indigenous students will learn how create new Talking Dictionaries for their own native languages. We have been invited by local scholars in Papua New Guinea to give this workshop later this year in October (2013), and we are raising the funds to make it happen.

Please donate! Our workshop is partially funded thanks to grants and donors, but we need a further $2750 to help cover the rest of our equipment and travel costs. Over 50 different local languages are represented at UNITECH. We aim to create Talking Dictionaries for 12 languages to start with, and then return once a year for the next 4 years to continue building more dictionaries with the students.
This will be the 4th time we teach a digital skills workshop of this kind, and the first time in the Pacific. Check out pictures and write-ups from our previous workshops for speakers of endangered languages (organized in collaboration with National Geographic) held in Santa Fe, New Mexico (USA); Shillong, Meghalaya (Northeast India) and Santiago (Chile).


What is a Talking Dictionary? It takes the traditional paper dictionary to a whole new level. It is an interactive online tool that digitally preserves words and phrases, and it allows the user to hear high-quality audio recordings of words in their language, as well as record and upload new content.

The tool is a powerful educational tool for communities that are trying to revitalize their endangered languages. The online dictionary is programmed to be bilingual so that speakers of the local dominant language can easily use it. It serves as a resource to help fluent speakers teach their native language to a new generation of speakers.

Talking Dictionaries help create visibility for minority languages on the Web. They are a virtual space where speakers can go to listen to their language, no matter where they are in the world. Take a minute to check out our Talking Dictionary Portal, and our new site for the Talking Dictionaries of Latin America.

Why We Can Make a Difference: At the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages, we are a small and dynamic team with a low overhead. We coordinate big long-term projects, such as the Talking Dictionaries, on a modest budget. Supporting us is a great way to support the creation of tools that will preserve threatened languages for future generations of speakers.

Thanks to a Talking Dictionary, you can listen to forms of human speech that you’ve never heard before, and get a further glimpse into the rich diversity of languages spoken on our planet.

We have a good relationship with a number of communities in Papua New Guinea because we have done language documentation there in the past. Here are some images from our fieldwork in Papua New Guinea in 2009.

Please donate online to our fundraising campaign!

Thanks for reading.

– The Living Tongues Team



“International Mother Language Day” Events at University of West Georgia

At the University of West Georgia in Carrolton, one hour west of Atlanta, in collaboration with local UWG student group BABEL (Building Awareness for the Benefit of Endangered Languages), the events are being held on International Mother Language Day, 2012:
  • February 21 @ 5pm – 6:45pm: Endangered Languages Workshop with Anna Luisa Daigneault in Anthropology Lecture Hall, University of West Georgia. Facebook Event
  • February 21 @ 7pm – 9pm: Free Film Screening of acclaimed film “The Linguists” at University of West Georgia, 1601 Maple Street Dr., TLC Building, Lecture Hall C.  Facebook Event
– See you there! Happy Mother Languages Day!

“International Mother Language Day” Events at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

                                                                                        flyer designed by Marty O’Connor

Show Your Love for Languages!
In conjunction with UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day (coming up on February 21, 2012) and Valentine’s Day, the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages and the UNC Undergrad Linguistics Club (Underling) team up to bring you these two fascinating events exploring the frontiers of endangered language documentation. Show some love for minority languages by attending these events!

1) Film Screening: The Linguists (Ironbound Films, 2008, 65 minutes)
Date: Monday, February 13th, 2012, 7pm-9pm    Facebook event

Greg Anderson and David Harrison are scientists racing to document languages on the verge of extinction. Filmed in Siberia, India, and Bolivia, this documentary confronts the very forces silencing languages: institutionalized racism and violent economic unrest. The linguists’ journey takes them deep into the heart of threatened cultures and knowledge.

The Linguists world premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival went on to win many awards. Noam Chomsky calls it “a breathtaking thrill ride through the landscape of language” and the film has inspired many people around the world to get involved in language documentation. Greg Anderson is the founder of the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages, and one of the institute’s project coordinators, Anna Luisa Daigneault, will be present at the screening to introduce the film and to do a Q & A about endangered language documentation after the film.

2) Workshop: Introduction to Endangered Languages and Fieldwork Methods Date: Tuesday, February 14th, 2012, 4pm-6pm   Facebook Event

Minority languages are being increasingly replaced by various politically, economically, or socio-culturally dominant ones. Every two weeks the last fluent speaker of a language passes on and with him/her goes literally hundreds of generations of traditional knowledge encoded in these ancestral tongues. Nearly half of the world’s languages are likely to vanish in the next 100 years.

The Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages, founded by linguist Greg Anderson, is a non-profit organization dedicated to documenting the world’s most threatened languages. Anderson and fellow institute director of research David Harrison also collaborate with the National Geographic Society in “The Enduring Voices Project”, a global initiative that focuses on the preservation and revitalization of endangered languages through linguist-aided, community-driven multi-media documentation projects.

Anna Luisa Daigneault, Latin American Projects Coordinator and Organizational Fellow at the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages, will be holding a two-hour workshop on the importance of doing endangered language research in our current generation. She will provide students with an introduction to fieldwork methodology and speak about the use of digital technology in language documentation. Anna Luisa has worked in the Amazon for several years, documenting the Yanesha language and creating an oral history online database. She has also taken part in several Enduring Voices fieldwork trips to Paraguay, Chile and Peru.

For more information on the screening and the workshop, contact UNC event coordinator Natalie Feingold at