Traditional Ecological Knowledge Workshop in Papua New Guinea

In October 2014, Dr. Gregory D. S. Anderson led a successful workshop at the Papua New Guinea University of Technology (Unitech) in Lae, Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea. The event was the first in a series of workshops on digital literacy skills for documenting traditional ecological knowledge and landscape stewardship of tok ples in Papua New Guinea.

The Living Tongues team consisted of Dr. Gregory D. S. Anderson, Rudolf Raward and Jonathan Anderson. During the course of the workshop, a total of twenty-one local students participated, along with Mr. Yat Paol, speaker of Waskia tok ples, who served as a participant observer. The event was made possible by a grant from the Christensen Fund.

png2Students hard at work during the data processing practical at the Living Tongues Unitech workshop. Photo: Jonathan M. Anderson, Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages.

png1Some of the Unitech students who participated in first Living Tongues workshop. Front Row (L to R): Yat Paol (Waskia tok ples), Simon Mark (Sau Enga tok ples), Echo Yawip (Weri tok ples), John Cowan (Nakane elders tok ples among Kuman); Second Row: Maiga Gerega (Garihe Nego tok ples), Apolion Beba (Woodlark Muyuw tok ples), Caspar Smakus (Kuman tok ples), Nelson Tololo (Nakanai tok ples), Regina Kiele (Idio Manus tok ples), Lovelyn Kila (Melpa tok ples), Rudolf Raward (Living Tongues Institute and Panau tok ples); Back Row: Unitech IT Assistant Maliso Lero, Israel Timi (Samo Kundi Arapesh tok ples), Living Tongues Institute Director Dr. Greg Anderson, Unitech Professor Dr. Garry Sali, Paul Mark (Narak tok ples), Isaac Karts (Wahgi tok ples), Jason Yonai (Aren Aiome tok ples), Sam Kumao (Kamano Kafe Kanaitu tok ples), Unitech IT Officer Elvis Jack. Photo by: Jonathan M. Anderson, Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages. Missing: Chevastrine Somu (Yabem tok ples), Christie Paskalis (Nalik tok ples), Mark Kamananaya (Trobriand Islands tok ples), Melissa Brosnan (Naasioi tok ples), Susan Madana (Tunggak tok ples), Valentine Kekele (Mekeo tok ples), Walai Gairo (Mindi Korakaro (near Hiri Motu) tok ples). Photo: Jonathan M. Anderson, Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages.


Talking Dictionaries of Latin America

We are pleased to announce that 14 new Talking Dictionaries for Latin America are now under development and are available for online viewing and listening. The new dictionaries were created in collaboration with indigenous speakers, linguists and technical specialists at two recent digital skills workshops in South America.

Screen Shot 2013-02-27 at 12.50.50 PMThe Mam, Mapudungun, Mazahua, Miahuatec Zapotec, Monkox Besiro, Pipil (Nahuat), Quechua Chanka, Tsesungun and Yanesha were produced in Chile at our digital skills workshop called “Voces Duraderas” that we held at the Biblioteca de Santiago in Chile. Dr. Gregory D. S. Anderson and Anna Luisa Daigneault traveled to Chile to teach the workshop in January 2013. We would like to acknowledge the great work of the following indigenous speakers who attended the event and learned the digital skills necessary to build these new dictionaries:

– Andres Ozuna Ortiz (Yshyr-chamacoco, Paraguay)
– Anselmo Nuyado Ancapichun and Jonattan Laoiza Ancapichun (Tsesungun, Chile)
– Espíritu Bautista and Elmo Bautista (Yanesha / Amuesha, Peru)
– Judith Condori Gavilán (Quechua Chanka, Peru)
– María Inés Huenuñir Antihuala (Mapudungun, Chile)
– Emiliano Cruz Santiago (Miahuatec Zapotec San Bartolomé Loxicha, México)
– Verónica Fidencio Núñez (Mazahua, México)
– Carlos Enrique Cortez (Pipil / Nahuat, El Salvador)
– José Reginaldo Pérez Vail (Mam, Guatemala)
– Ignacio Tomicha Chuve (Monkox Besiro, Bolivia)

Many thanks to Eddie Avila from Rising Voices who helped us facilitate the workshop, and to Cristian Maturana and the rest of the staff at Biblioteca de Santiago who helped us make the “Voces Duraderas” workshop a success for all who took part.


Talking Dictionaries of Colombia

The Talking Dictionaries for Nasa Yuwe, Sáliba, Embera, Uitoto and Wayuunaiki were produced by a team of linguists, indigenous specialists and language activists at a workshop at the Instituto Caro y Cuervo in Colombia. Dr. K. David Harrison traveled there in October 2012 to help facilitate the workshop and produce these dictionaries, which are still under construction. Check out our blog posting about his trip.

Screen Shot 2013-02-27 at 2.17.18 PM

These online dictionaries are a powerful educational tools for communities that are trying to revitalize their endangered languages. Each site 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.

These Talking Dictionaries were created by the Enduring Voices Project funded by the National Geographic Society and Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages. Additional support and hosting by Swarthmore College. Interface and database design under the direction of Jeremy Fahringer.

If you love Talking Dictionaries as much as we do, please consider donating to our fundraising campaign to build 12 new Talking Dictionaries in Papua New Guinea.

Thanks for reading!

Enduring Voices Media Skills Workshop in Chile, Jan 7-11, 2013

We are pleased to announce we are teaming up with National Geographic to produce a digital media skills workshop for speakers of Latin American endangered languages.

The event is called “Voces Duraderas” (part of our “Enduring Voices Project“) and it will take place from January 7th to 11th, in Santiago, Chile. Twelve indigenous participants from seven different countries will be taking part in the workshop. We are really looking forward to this! The program (in Spanish) is available here.


And, we are happy that our upcoming Latin American workshop has already received some great press coverage! Read about it in TIME Magazine’s Newsfeed, This is Chile (Chile’s official website), and on the Rising Voices blog.

ImagePhoto caption from “This is Chile” article about the workshop.

Thanks for reading and supporting endangered language documentation!

If you are in Santiago, feel free to join us for the closing day of the workshop:


Siletz Talking Dictionary featured in New York Times article


At Living Tongues Institute, we have collaborated with the Siletz Dee-ni tribe in Oregon for the past 7 years, to create the Siletz Dee-ni Talking Dictionary. This project, along with other Siletz language revitalization efforts, was recently featured in the New York Times. Check out the full article here. We recommend listening to the audio clips on the left side of the screen, so you can hear Bud Lane’s English translations of some very interesting Siletz terms!

“Vanishing Voices” in National Geographic Magazine, July 2012

Great news! An in-depth article about endangered languages is in this month’s issue of National Geographic Magazine. Written by journalist Russ Rymer, with amazing images by photographer Lynn Johnson, the article explores global language loss, with profiles on language revitalization efforts among speakers of languages such as Tuvan, Aka, Chemehuevi, Wintu, Euchee and Seri.

Living Tongues Director Dr. Gregory D.S. Anderson and Director of Research Dr. K. David Harrison were interviewed for the piece, and their documentation work in Arunachal Pradesh (India), among Aka speakers, is discussed. Pick up a copy in news stands before the end of the month! Here is the cover, which features coverage on Easter Island, and in the top left-hand area, you can see that “Saving Lost Languages” is one of the featured topics of the issue.


38 hours left!

Dear Living Tongues supporters,

Hello, this is David Harrison reminding you that we are currently raising funds to support language revitalization projects around the world.

Your gift will allow Living Tongues to support language warriors in Chile, Papua New Guinea, India, and Peru, with technology and training they need.

There are 38 hours left days left on our fundraising campaign
for Language Technology Kits on Indiegogo.

To those who have already contributed, I want to extend a sincere thank you for your help in safeguarding cultural and linguistic diversity.

Please consider making a gift today.

Thank you!
K. David Harrison

ps: Stay tuned for upcoming news about our upcoming fieldwork to Siberia, events at the United Nations and other new projects!

Mark Franco on language revitalization among the Winnimem Wintu

Today we bring you the message of Mark Franco, language activist from the Winnimem Wintu Nation of northern California. He tells his story about how receiving equipment, training and support from the Living Tongues Institute has helped him create new, vital educational materials in his language.