Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages has identified roughly twenty Language Hotspots, areas of the world that are urgently in need of action and should be the areas of highest priority in planning future research projects and channeling funding streams. Language Hotspots represent areas where we find a concentration of three logically independent factors, a high average level of endangerment, a high degree of linguistic diversity (calculated on the level of language family not individual language) and a low average level of prior documentation.
The “Language Hotspots” approach was conceived and developed by Dr. Gregory D. S. Anderson and Dr. K. David Harrison at the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages. It is a radically new way to look at the distribution of global linguistic diversity, to assess the threat of extinction, and to prioritize research. We define hotspots as concentrated regions of the world having the highest level of linguistic diversity, the highest levels of endangerment, and the least-studied languages. Rather than simply counting languages, Hotspots take into account the number of language families (which we call “genetic units”) represented in an area to calculate linguistic diversity. Along with our research focusing on Language Hotspots, we are dedicated to raising awareness about endangered languages in the following manner:
- to help promote widespread social awareness of the global language extinction crisis,
- to comprehensively document poorly known endangered languages,
- to get up-to-date information on numbers of speakers, contemporary use and levels of endangerment an community-driven language movements on a the world’s endangered languages, where and when appropriate
- to provide support in the form of language technology kits and community training and capacity building,
- to help support these indigenous movements in language revitalization and maintenance,
- to provide a forum for endangered language media products to be enjoyed by the broadest spectrum of the public and endangered communities alike.