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.


12 hours left!

We have 12 hours left to raise $2750 on Indiegogo. Our goal with those funds 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.

Please help us out by chipping in! Thanks for your support!


ImageLanguage Documentation Fieldwork in Papua New Guinea: John Agid (left) speaking to Dr. Gregory D. S. Anderson in Matugar village. Photo by Chris Rainier.

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



Mapudungun poetry by María Inés Huenuñir Antihuala


Great news! We are organizing our first-ever media skills workshop for speakers of Latin American endangered languages. It will take place in Chile in January 2013. One our invited participants is language activist María Inés Huenuñir Antihuala (pictured above, on the left).

Maria is a Mapuche teacher and poet who writes beautiful bilingual poetry in Mapudungun and Spanish. Here is an example of one of her bilingual poems, “Mapuche Domo” with the English translation by Living Tongues researcher Anna Luisa Daigneault. If you are a Mapudungun or Spanish speaker and see ways to improve the English translation, please leave us a comment. Thanks! A video recording of the poem can also be viewed below.


Weñankley kiñe domo,
kiñe Mapuche ñuke,
kisu ka lelikeyantu
lelikey ximiñ pun
tukunefi, kisu ñi kupam meu
welu kume tukukey.
Ñi xapelakucha kañi xariloyko
amun rellmu felekey ñi chape
ka kiñe kelu xariwe tukunekey,
pa yomillkey ñi age yewekelu.
Wellu kume kidaukey
cheu ñi amun amukey
kisu ni sungu yengu
Mapuche ñuke.
Amun manke reke feleaimi
fey ta yewekelay ñi kurigen
kume uxapralekey wente escudo mev
eimi niemi kume piuke.
kume molfiñ
poyeneimi kom mi puke puñeñ
amuaimi emi mi lelfiñ mev
kiñe koskilla rayen elumeaimi
chaltumai ñuke.


Triste suspira una mujer,
es una mujer Mapuche,
ella también puede ver,
luz de día, oscuridad de noche.
La oscuridad se asemeja
a lo oscuro de su ropa
y aunque triste ella maneja,
sus lindas joyas de plata.
Cintas de colores, en sus trenzas,
lleva una roja faja también
ya ¡No quiere más ofensas!
ella trabaja muy bien.
Se acompleja por su piel oscura,
se siente falta de comprensión,
pero quiere defender su cultura,
llevar su costumbre por tradición.
Mujer Mapuche, ¡has como el condor!
él, pese a su plumaje oscuro
se siente feliz y con gran honor,
orgulloso se luce sobre el escudo.
Tú tienes corazón sincero y tierno
que rebosa de sangre pura,
mujer de cariño eterno…
proteges a tus hijos con gran ternura.
Amada madre ¡no te sientas mal!
vive tranquila, con serenidad
allá, siempre cerca de lo natural,
te daré un copihue, gracias a tu bondad


The sad sigh of a woman,
she is a Mapuche woman.
She can see both
the light of day, the dark of night.
The darkness blends
with the dark color of her clothes.
Although she is sad, she proudly wears
her beautiful silver jewelry.
Laces of all colors, in her braids,
she wears a red belt as well.
She wants no more insults!
She works so hard.
Troubled by her dark skin,
No one understands her.
But she wants to defend her culture,
Carry on with her traditional customs.
Mapuche woman, be like the condor!
Despite his dark feathers,
He feels happiness and great honor
He shines proudly on the coat of arms.
You have a sincere and tender heart
That overflows with pure blood
Woman of eternal tenderness
Protect your children with great care!
Beloved mother, don’t be hard on yourself!
Live peacefully, with serenity
There, near the natural world
I will give you a kopiwe flower
To thank you for your kindness

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!