Language Endangerment

Today there are about 6,500 languages spoken worldwide and at least half of those will have fallen silent by the end of this century. In many areas of the world, globalisation creates economic, political and social pressures on people who in response give up their traditional ways of life, find new sources of income and move to cities. This causes speakers to cease speaking their traditional languages, and turn to other, typically more dominant languages to foster economic and social mobility for their children.


While throughout human history speakers have shifted to other languages, the speed of this development has increased dramatically over the past century. Each of these languages expresses the unique knowledge, history and worldview of their speaker communities, and each language is a specially evolved variation of the human capacity for language. Many of these disappearing languages have never been described or recorded and so the richness of human linguistic diversity is disappearing without a trace.

The Endangered Languages Documentation Programme responds to this loss by supporting researchers to document endangered languages worldwide.


Our key objectives are
• to support the documentation of as many endangered languages as possible
• to encourage fieldwork on endangered languages
• to create a repository of resources for linguistics, the social sciences, and the language communities themselves
• to make the documentary collections freely available

What we do

We give grants to individuals like linguists, linguistic anthropologists and community members to document endangered languages and to archive and publish them publicly accessible globally.

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About us

The Endangered Languages Documentation Programme was founded in 2002 with a donation from the Arcadia fund to SOAS University of London and has funded over 380 language documentation projects globally so far.

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Our Grants

We fund world wide and individuals regardless of nationality or host institution can apply. We offer four different grant types and run one granting cycle per year opening 15th October each year.

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Projects

Our focus is the linguistic documentation of endangered languages and making the digital collections freely available online. In addition we support capacity building through training in London and in country.

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ELDP DOCUMENTATION PROJECTS

TO MAP

NEWS AND EVENTS

August 10-20, 2018

Capacity Building in Africa: ELDP training in Documentary Linguistics
In collaboration with NIMAR and WOCAL9, ELDP is sponsoring and running a 10 day training in Rabat, Morocco for African scholars and students. Training will take place right before WOCAL 9 conference: African Languages in a Global World.

December 16-22, 2017

Training in Language Documentation Technique, Oaxaca, Mexico
ELDP, in collaboration with Roberto Zavala (Ciesas) and Michael Swanton (UNAM), is running a one week long training for local researchers, students and language documenters in Oaxaca, Mexico.

October 23-24, 2017

The first workshop on Developing Metadata Editing and Collection Management Tools for Linguistics (MEaCoM 1) will be held at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Social and Language Documentation (CIDLeS) in Alcanena, Portgual, immediately following the annual meeting of the Communities in Control conference.

October 19-21, 2017

The Mercator Research Institute, SOAS World Languages Institute, the Interdisciplinary Centre for Social and Language Documentation and the Foundation for Endangered Languages cordially invite scholars, community organisations and community members working on the revitalization of endangered languages, its documentation and archiving to join the International Conference on “ Communities in Control” that will take place in Alcanena, Portugal, on October 19-21 2017.

September 6-13, 2017

ELDP training session:
One week of training in language documentation theory and practice for ELDP grantees.
New ELDP grantees will be trained in theory and methods in language documentation. Ulrike Mosel will be delivering special sessions in semantics and dictionary creation.