What we do

The goal of the Endangered Language Documentation Programme (ELDP) is to preserve endangered languages globally. To this end we give grants worldwide to individuals to document endangered languages. We provide funding for documentation projects led by individuals such as linguists, linguistic anthropologists and community members with skills in linguistic documentation.

The funds allow grantees to undertake fieldwork to record speakers of endangered languages on audio and video, compiling a documentary collection of an endangered language or genre. These documentary collections are then archived and preserved and are made freely available through the digital online Endangered Languages Archive (ELAR), which is part of the library of SOAS, University of London.

You can explore the results of our work by browsing the preserved collections at ELAR. Many of these collections contain the only recordings of last speakers of an endangered language, recordings of languages which have already fallen silent or which will fall silent in the next few years.


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, social science, and the language communities
• to make the documentary collections freely available

To achieve our goal of preserving endangered languages we provide training, run outreach events and provide support and expert advice on all aspects of documentation. See below for a list of our activities.

OUTREACH

We run annual outreach events informing the public about language endangerment and our work responding to the loss of human linguistic diversity. We give talks and organise events such as film showings, public lectures and workshops.

TRAINING

We provide training in the theory and methods of modern language documentation. We run an annual training session for our grantees in London. We also run in-country training courses targeting local scholars and documenters.

EXPERT ADVICE

We provide expert advice on all aspects of language endangerment, including the theory and methods of modern language documentation, and in digital archiving of born-digital material as well as of analogue materials and the necessary digitisation

SUPPORT

We support language documenters, speakers and researchers globally through our network of grantees, alumni, colleagues and supporters who are experts in many geographic areas of the world and in all aspects of language documentation.