Endangered Languages Resource Page

People often approach us seeking information about the world’s most endangered languages. Students ask us, “I want to help with language documentation, but where do I begin? What kind of projects are going on where I could be of use?” In an effort to celebrate and promote all the language documentation initiatives currently going on, we put together this resource page with as many links to regional and global language archives as we could find. Some citizen media links are also included.

This resource page will benefit all people interested in exploring what is out there on the web related to endangered language research, and it will give newcomers an idea of the ongoing projects that they can contribute to and get involved with.

The sites listed below are grouped according to Language Hotspots. 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. Click here for more information on Language Hotspots. Thank you to our wonderful volunteers who helped us compile the resources on this page! We appreciate your help!

REGIONAL LANGUAGE ARCHIVES

CENTRAL AND EASTERN SIBERIA

CAUCASUS REGION

GREATER SOUTH ASIA

  • SEALang SALA: Southeast Asian Linguistics Archives
  • Jakarta Field Station: List of researchers currently working on South Asian languages
  • Tibetan and Himalayan Digital Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, USAs
  • Site for the Languages of the Rawang, Dulong and Anong peoples in Myanmwar and China
  • VOGA: Vanishing Voices of the Great Andamanese is a Major Documentation Project directed by Prof. Anvita Abbi, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
  • Linguistic Survey of India: This presentation of Gramophone Recordings from the Linguistic Survey of India consists of digitized recordings originally collected in South Asia during a period from 1913 until 1929.

EASTERN MELANESIA + PAPUA NEW GUINEA

TAIWAN + OTHER PACIFIC LANGUAGES

  • Academia Sinica Digital Repository, Institute of Linguistics, Academia Sinica, Taiwan
  • NTU Corpus of Formosan Languages
  • For the most accurate Formosan language families groupings, see Blust, Robert A. 1999. Subgrouping, circularity and extinction: some issues in Austronesian comparative linguistics. In Elizabeth Zeitoun and Paul Jen-Kuei Li, eds., Selected papers from the Eighth International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics, pp. 31–94. Symposium Series of the Institute of Linguistics, Academia Sinica 1. Taipei: Institute of Linguistics, Academia Sinica.
  • AMPM: Archive of Maori and Pacific Music, University of Auckland, New Zealand
  • Paradisec: The Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures

LATIN AMERICAN HOTSPOTS (MESOAMERICA, CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA)

  • AILLA is a digital archive of recordings and texts in and about the indigenous languages of Latin America.
  • INALI: instituto nacional de lenguas indigenas [Mexico]
  • SAPhon: UC Berkeley’s South American Phonological Inventory Database (SAPhon v1.1.0)
  • The Jaqi Collection : Aymara, Jaqaru, and Kawki Language Resources is comprised of archival and published texts as well as recorded sounds and images related to the Jaqi family of languages.
  • Etnolingüística: línguas indígenas da América do Sul
  • Sounds of the Andean Languages / Sonidos de las lenguas andinas
  • CELIA: Centre d’Etudes des Langues Indigènes d’Amérique
  • Introduction to Indigenous Languages of Latin America: particularly in the Andes. Origins, history, place in society, endangerment, relationships with other languages.
  • Quechua.org.uk: A Comparative Study of the Andean Languages and a portal to several sites on the Quechua and Aymara language families
  • CILLA: Centre for Indigenous Languages of Latin America
  • STLILLA 2011: Proceedings of the Second Symposium on Teaching and Learning Indigenous Languages of Latin America
  • RED EIB Chile. Red de Derechos Lingüísticos y Culturales de los Pueblos Indígenas de Chile
  • DILA: Laboratorio de Documentación e Investigación en Lingüística y Antropología
  • PDLMA: Project for the Documentation of the Languages of Mesoamerica (PDLMA)
  • Archivo de lenguas indigenas de Mexico: a project by the Colegio de Mexico (COLMEX)
  • SIL Mexico: Dictionaries, grammars and analyzed texts in Mexican Indian languages
  • ILLA: Instituto de Lenguas y Literaturas Andinas Amazónicas
  • AAIC: Archivo de los Idiomas Indígenas de Chiapas [site under construction]
  • Digital Mesoamerica: Wired Humanities Projects, University of Oregon
  • Indigenous Language Dictionaries: online, multimedia, searchable dictionaries of indigenous languages of Mesoamerica (Wired Humanities Projects)

NORTHERN AND CENTRAL AUSTRALIA

  • Paradisec: The Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures
  • ASEDA: The Aboriginal Studies Electronic Data Archive holds computer-based (digital) materials about Australian Indigenous studies collected from the late 80’s to early 2009 by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  • AUSIL: Australian Society of Indigenous Languages
  • ANGGARRGOON: Australian Languages on the Web
  • Our Languages: A site dedicated to Australian Aboriginal Languages
  • AIATSIS: The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  • Banma Kiya – Queensland Indigenous Languages Advisory Committee
  • ABC Indigenous – Indigenous Language map of Australia
  • CLC: Central Land Council – Aboriginal Languages of Central Australia
  • RNLD: Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity.
  • Virtual Library: Aboriginal Languages of Australia, Virtual Library by D. Nathan
  • PAK: Papuli Apparr-Kari Aboriginal Corporation Language Center
  • Katherine Regional Language Centre
  • Wangka Maya – Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre
  • Handbook of Western Australian languages
  • CDU Yolngu studies
  • David Nash’s site on Australian languages

WESTERN NORTH AMERICA

OKLAHOMA

  • Native American Languages Collections Division at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History: The archives house over 6,000 media and print resources in languages of Oklahoma and North America
  • OHS: Oklahoma Historical Archives Audio Collection

AFRICAN HOTSPOTS

GLOBAL LANGUAGE ARCHIVES

Endangered Languages Project: a project by the Alliance for Linguistic Diversity (which includes members of Living Tongues Institute) in collaboration with Google, this world-wide site seeks to compile up-to-date information on threatened languages.

Ethnologue: This is a database for endangered language documentation maintained by the Summer Institute for Linguistics (also known as the “SIL”).

OLAC: The “Open Language Archives Community” (OLAC) is a multi institutional database of language resources that can be searched to find all kinds of data and links to archives.

UNESCO: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) maintains the Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger.

WALS: The “World Atlas of Language Structures” (WALS) is a database of structural information about languages, maintained by the Leipzig-based Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

Rosetta Project: This is a collaborative digital library of language research. (Note: use “advanced search” to search by all media types).

DOBES: A project of the Volkswagen Foundation, the “Dokumentation Bedrohter Sprachen” [Documentation of Endangered Languages Programme] is a great online archive. You can search by Projects / Language Areas.

ERIC Database: The Education Resources Information Center is an online digital library of education research and information.

DELAMAN: Digital Endangered Languages and Musics Archive Network

ELAR: Endangered Languages Archive

GLOTTOLOG / LANGDOC: This vast site provides comprehensive bibliographical and other reference information for the world’s languages, especially the lesser known languages.

MULTITREE: A Digital Library of Language Relationships

Language Documentation & Citizen Media Resources

  • Talking Dictionaries Portal: digital dictionaries by Living Tongues Institute in collaboration with National Geographic Society and Swarthmore College
  • Enduring Voices Project: Living Tongues’ collaborative project with the National Geographic Society
  • World Oral Literature Project: a project by researchers at Yale and University of Cambridge
  • Recovering Voices: Documenting & Sustaining Endangered Languages & Knowledge (a project by the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History)
  • The Language Documentation Crowd: Crowd-funding language and culture documentation before it’s too late. Professional linguists and concerned global citizens dedicated to preserving endangered languages through crowd-funding language and culture documentation projects.
  • UCLA Phonetics Archive
  • Numeral Systems of the World’s Languages: includes many numeral systems from endangered languages around the globe
  • LL-MAP: Language and Location – Map Accessibility Project
  • CTLDC: Consortium for Training in Language Documentation and Conservation
  • The CTLDC’s Clearing House: A great collection of “Tools, Methodology and Training Resources for Documenting Languages”
  • LACITO: An interdisciplinary research unit whose members carry out fieldwork-based research in societies whose traditions are primarily oral.
  • OLD: The Online Linguistic Database is software for creating web applications that help people to document, analyze and learn Native American languages.
  • Rising Voices: A project of Global Voices Online, Rising Voices aims to extend the benefits and reach of citizen media by connecting online media activists around the world and supporting their best ideas.
  • Wikimedia Indigenous Languages: A project to support smaller, less empowered, language communities to have access to their at-risk knowledge
  • The Ethnos Project: Digital Humanities & Indigenous Knowledge
  • National Anthropological Archives: Human Studies Film Archives
  • Center for Language Diversity: Research and Fieldwork on Altaic Languages, by the Altaic Society of Korea
  • Lakota Documentaries is the first cultural documentation project designed and implemented by a Lakota person, Don Moccasin, on the Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota, USA. It is currently housed at the Great Plains Art Institute, at Sinte Gleska University. A video about the project can be viewed here. Thanks to Project Director Dr. Jurgita Antoine for sending us the links.

For prospective students looking for universities that offer college degrees in specific subjects such as linguistics and anthropology, check out the BestCollegesOnline.com. Thanks to Corinna Meier for sending us the link. For new on President Obama’s accreditation reforms on higher education, check out this link, sent to us by Irene White.

The online resources were compiled by Living Tongues volunteers and edited by project coordinator Anna Luisa Daigneault. If you have any suggestions or find any errors, please leave us a message in the comments section below, or send us an email at annaluisa@livingtongues.org
Thanks for reading, and happy exploring!
Editor’s note: with the language documentation / citizen media section, we know we are just barely scratching the surface of what is out there on the web. Feel free to share links with us on our Facebook page.
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16 thoughts on “Endangered Languages Resource Page

    • Hello Dan, this page focuses on resources for Language Hotspots, which are places where there are a lot of under-studied languages. There are many endangered languages in Europe, but Europe is not one of our hotspots because the languages have been well-documented. We are focusing our efforts in places of the world where languages are rapidly disappearing but there is little documentation available.

    • Hello, I will add that we from Balkans, Europe, have couple of dying languages like my native Aromanan, then Meglenoromanian, Istroromanian, Palchen…. we work on their promotion, documentation and preservation last 10 years…..
      This Institute, site and all informations… is very important to all of us and hope that our work is a part of global initiative ….. thank you

  1. I spoke with an Australian educator, and he told me that in Australia, preservation of Aboriginal languages, is not the responsibility of the federal government, but is handled strictly on a state or territorial level. Unlike in the United States, where preserving and teaching Native American languages is the responsibility of the federal government. Is Living Tongues Institute lobbying places like Australia, to make it the responsibility of Canberra? I know in the Russian Constitution it outlined that all forms of education and media, can be handled in other languages, besides Russian.

  2. Pingback: Ethnos Project » Living Tongues Endangered Language Resources

  3. Perhaps you would consider linking to The Language Documentation Crowd (http://www.thelanguagedocumentationcrowd.org/) in the Language Documentation & Citizen Media Resources section. We are a non-profit website devoted to crowd-funding language and culture documentation. We currently feature three documentary projects from around the world and hope to have more up soon. Two of the featured projects fall within your EASTERN MELANESIA + PAPUA NEW GUINEA hotspot; the third, within your WEST AFRICA hotspot. Thanks!

  4. Pingback: Top 10 Things You Need To Know About Endangered Languages | Living Tongues

  5. Pingback: Le 10 cose principali da sapere sulle lingue in pericolo | Living Tongues

  6. I have enjoyed going through the features you have included in your rich website.

    I am a language activist, Director of a community based project documenting, promoting and advocating for indigenous languages in Kenya. We recently authored the Ekegusii-English Dictionary together with its sister on-line talking dictionary and encyclopedia: http://www.ekegusiiencyclopedia.com

    My ultimate aim is to link with other equally minded linguists and language activists in this noble work of coordinating synergy towards promotion, preservation and advocating for endangered languages.

    How do you advise?

    K M Bosire

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