working with an endangered language

An endangered language is one that is likely to become extinct in the near future, if it is no longer spoken or known by anyone. 

Linguists around the globe actively work with communities to document and revitalize endangered languages. The Committee on Endangered Languages and their Preservation (CELP) promotes interest in this topic through its Facebook, Twitter, and discussion blog

This page includes the following information relevant to Endangered Language Preservation:

LSA Activities

Endangered languages have always been a part of the LSA's advocacy work for human rights. Below are news items related to the documentation, preservation, and recognition of endangered languages and their cultures and communities. For current and on-going events, we encourage you to visit our Public Policy Page, and for past and recent legislative updates on Native American languages, we encourage you to visit our Archive Page of Native American Language Revitalization Legislation in the U.S. Congress.


Organizations and Funders

There are hundreds of other sites and organizations dedicated to documenting and promoting endangered languages. A few of these include:

Conferences and Workshops

Other Resources

Special Events and Projects Related to Endangered Languages

2019 – International Year of Indigenous Languages

In 2016, the UN declared 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages. The LSA was thrilled to be an official partner of the International Year of Indigenous Languages, and along with the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas (SSILA) is deeply committed to continued support of the UN's mission of raising awareness and support of Indigenous groups and their languages.  LSA efforts to tailor our events and media presence to actively contribute to the International Year of Indigenous Languages were spearheaded by its Committee on Endangered Languages and their Preservation (CELP), and can be reviewed on this page.

HELP for Endangered Legacy Collections

A project sponsored by CELP and led by Kate Lindsey ([email protected]) and Jorge Emilio Rosés Labrada ([email protected])

HELP for Endangered Legacy Collections is an initiative from within the Committee on Endangered Languages and their Preservation (CELP) to assist in the digitization, archiving, and processing of endangered language data. This initiative attempts to tackle two concerns within our field: (1) the fact that many senior researchers nearing retirement need assistance in digitizing, archiving and processing their legacy collections of endangered language data and (2) the fact that there is an increasing number of graduate students who wish to undertake work on endangered languages but are not able to collect their own data due to a variety of reasons, e.g., travel restrictions (especially in the wake of the current global pandemic), lack of funding, family obligations, health concerns, and so on. Click here to learn more. Applications for the pilot phase of this new initiative have closed. Check back for updates.

CoLang (Institute on Collaborative Language Research) 

Members of CELP fully support the CoLang summer institute, which provides undergraduates, graduate students, practicing linguists, and community members access to the latest information on methods in language documentation and revitalization. CoLang 2022 will be held from June 13th to July 8th at the University of Montana, click here for more information.