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 support the documentation and preservation of endangered languages through granting, training and outreach activities. The collections compiled through our funding are freely accessible at the Endangered Languages Archive.

READ MORE

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 450 language documentation projects globally so far.

READ MORE

Our Grants

We provide grants world wide for the documentation of endangered languages. Individuals regardless of nationality or host institution can apply to our programme. We offer four different grant types and run one granting cycle per year opening 15th July each year.

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

ELDP DOCUMENTATION PROJECTS

TO MAP

NEWS AND EVENTS

Joint Call for Applications: ELDP & DLCE

ELDP and the Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology are collaborating to document linguistic diversity with an initiative focusing on contributing data from languages of Latin America and Oceania to the Glottobank project.

The deadline for submitting an application is the 15th Septemeber 2022.

ELDP 2023 Grant Round is now open

The ELDP grant round for 2023 is now open. Information about grant types and application process can be found here. Visit our project pages for the types of projects we have funded and the Endangered Language Archive for the resulting digital collections.

Language Documentation training in Bolivia - 15-20 July 2022

Jointly with the Linguistics Summer School Bolivia ELDP will deliver language documentation training in Cochabamba for speakers of Indigenous Bolivian languages.

ELDP Grantee Training - 8 - 15 June 2022

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 in Berlin.

International Mother Language Day - 21 February 2022

ELDP and ELAR celebrate International Mother Language Day virtually. Whose Knowledge invited Mandana Seyfeddinipur to speak at the Launch of the State of the Internet's Languages Report to mark the occasion of International Mother Language Day 2022 in the first year of the UNESCO International Decade of Indignous Languages.