working with an endangered language

Read the LSA’s pamphlet What is an Endangered Language? (download pdf)

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

Special Events and Projects

Logo of the UNESCO 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages

The UN has declared 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages. The LSA is thrilled to be an official partner of the International Year of Indigenous Languages. The LSA and the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas (SSILA) are deeply committed to supporting the UN's mission of raising awareness and support of Indigenous groups and their languages. We will be tailoring our events and media presence to actively contribute to the International Year of Indigenous Languages. The LSA's efforts are being spearheaded by its Committee on Endangered Languages and their Preservation (CELP). Our planning efforts are well underway, and updates will be added to this page as they become available.

Symposia and Education

CELP regularly addresses methodology and ethics by planning and co-sponoring events at the LSA’s Annual Meeting:

In 2006, CELP helped develop a web-based resource Linguistic Fieldwork Preparation: a Guide for Field Linguists.

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 2020 will be held at the University of Montana. 


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:



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

Organizations and Funders

Conferences and Workshops

Other Resources

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

Field Reports

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