working with an endangered language

Check out our updated Blog facility for the Committee on Endangered Languages, now hosted within the LSA website.

Want to know more? Read the LSA’s pamphlet What is an Endangered Language?

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 account and its discussion blog

Special Projects

New! LSA Awarded Grant on Building Capacity in Linguistics and Endangered Languages at Tribal Colleges and Universities

Symposia and Education

CELP regularly addresses methodology and ethics by planning panels at the LSA’s Annual Meeting:

  • "Documenting Variation in Endangered Languages" [2016]
  • Utilization of language archives in endangered language research, revitalization, and documentation” [2015]
  • "Documenting Conversation" [2014]
  • Posters and presentations: "Methodology and Practice in Collaborative Language Research" [2013, co-sponsored with SSILA]
  • Screening of We Still Live Here – Âs Nutayuneân; Panel: "From Language Documentation to Language Revitalization" [2012]
  • Documenting Endangered Languages: "NSF-NEH DEL Projects in Honor of the 20th Anniversary of the LSA Panel on Endangered Languages" [2011]
  • Plenary Symposium: “Documentary Linguistics: Retrospective and Prospective” [2010]
  • Panel: "Endangered Languages and Linguistic Theory" [2007]
  • Tutorial: "A Field Linguist’s Guide to Making Great Audio and Video Recordings"; Poster Session:  "More Challenges and Issues in Endangered Language Fieldwork" [2006, co-sponsored with OLAC]
  • Plenary Address:  Victor Golla: "The attractions of American Indian languages"; Poster Session:  "Challenges and Issues in Endangered Language Fieldwork" [2005]
  • Symposium: “Endangered Languages and Linguistic Theory,” screening of a new film on endangered languages [2004]

Members of CELP work closely with the CoLang summer institute to provide undergraduates, graduate students, practicing linguists, and community members access to the latest information on methods in language documentation and revitalization.

In 2006, CELP helped develop a web-based guide for field linguists.

Field Reports

CELP has begun inviting individuals to write field reports raising issues of ethics or methodology and sharing what different communities are doing:


Support for Native American Language Revitalization Legislation in the U.S. Congress

In recent years, CELP has worked with the LSA to issue a number of resolutions, statements, and endorsements:

CELP also initiated a letter-writing campaign in 2011 urging President Obama to sign a Draft Executive Order titled "White House Initiative on Native American Language Revitalization." The LSA works closely with the National Humanities Alliance to support humanities advocacy on behalf of funding for language documentation and revitalization.


The LSA promotes work on endangered languages by offering several awards:

Other News

More information

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


Looking for a book on endangered languages? Consider the LSA Book Exchange!