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.

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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:


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