All posts by LivingTongues

We are a non-profit research institute dedicated to documenting endangered languages around the world. Since 2005, Living Tongues Institute has reached more than one hundred endangered language communities in fifteen countries. Our researchers have also created more than eighty Talking Dictionaries to support these languages, and provided valuable digital skills training to dozens of local collaborators.

Dr. Greg Anderson interview: Global Journalist

Global Journalist interviewed our Director, Dr. Greg Anderson, on the topic of reviving North America’s endangered languages.

Here is a quote from his interview: “These [languages] are the cultural libraries, the legacies of an entire lineage of history that stretches back millennia. [Language] is an unbroken window into the past; it helps shape people’s identity, their religion, their personal narratives, their cultural narratives… it’s really the main vector of identity for indigenous people.” View full video here:

Dictionaries for Endangered Languages in Nigeria

Help us publish the first-ever dictionaries for Olùkùmi and Owé 

Nigeria is home to hundreds of languages, many of which are endangered. This project supports two local minority languages, Olùkùmi and Owé (a dialect of Yorùbá). This is first-ever attempt to put the words, definitions and usages of these two languages into print. Contribute to the fundraising campaign. 

These dictionaries are bilingual with English, and each contain 2000 words and phrases. They will become tools for language preservation, promotion and revitalization initiatives, and will serve local speakers, language enthusiasts as well as researchers.

This publication project is led by Nigerian linguist Dr. Bolanle Elizabeth Arokoyo, who holds a PhD in Linguistics, and has been documenting the grammar of Olùkùmi and Owé since 2011. Dr. Arokoyo is a Lecturer at the Department of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages, University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria. She has collaborated with Dr. Greg Anderson and Dr. K. David Harrison at Living Tongues Institute on the Olùkùmi Talking Dictionary.

#GivingTuesday is today!


What is Giving Tuesday? 
Giving Tuesday (Nov 29, 2016) is a global day of action, celebrating community collaboration by encouraging people to contribute to great causes online.

Give a gift to Living Tongues Institute and help us continue our work documenting endangered languages. The funds we raise go directly towards our programs.

Since 2005, our research teams have reached endangered language communities in fifteen countries. We have collaborated with speakers to create more than one hundred Talking Dictionaries. With your help, we can increase our impact.

2016 was a busy year!
Read on to learn more about our recent work documenting languages around the world.


So far, 2016 has been a great year for expanding our research in the Pacific region, particularly in Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu. Check our our update on Pacific Ethnobotany and Languages to see what we’ve been working on.


This year, much progress was made collaborating with local speakers and researchers to document endangered languages in India.
  • For the Munda Languages Initiative, Dr. Gregory D. S. Anderson travelled to India to lead community trainings, and continued weekly digital collaboration sessions with Living Tongues project coordinator and Mundari speaker Dr. Bikram Jora, as well as Sora speaker and Munda researcher Mr. Opino Gomango. Read more here about our recent Munda projects.
  • For the languages of Arunachal Pradesh, community-led documentation projects for the Tibeto-Burman languages Koro Aka and Hruso Aka moved along smoothly during 2016. Lexical and grammatical data collected by speakers massively expanded the linguistic resources available for both of these under-documented languages. Read more here about our progress in Arunachal.

Thanks for your support!


Pacific Ethnobotany and Languages Online: 2016 Update


Field surveys of the ethnobotanical knowledge of Matukar Panau, Yoidik and Bargam in Madang Province are nearing completion. These documentation efforts were led by Living Tongues Associate and indigenous Matukar speaker, Rudolf Raward, under the supervision of Dr. Gregory D. S. Anderson. Madang Province is recognized as one of the most bio-diverse areas in the world.

Rudolf Raward travels in Madang Province, Papua New guinea, conducting field surveys of local languages and plant knowledge.
Rudolf Raward (center, bottom row) travels in Madang Province, Papua New Guinea, conducting field surveys of local languages and plant knowledge.

Also in Madang Province, collaborator and Aren speaker Jason Yonai has collected some excellent data from his nearly unknown tok ples of Aren (Aiome) that will contribute to an ethnobotanical study of the area, as well as the Aren Talking Dictionary.

Indigenous collaborator and Kuman speaker Caspar Smakus continued work on his Kuman Talking Dictionary.


Dr. K. David Harrison and Dr. Gregory D. S. Anderson embarked on a project in Vanuatu with a team of botanists, linguists, and indigenous experts. Over the next four years, they will be documenting plants, plant names, words and knowledge in several southern Vanuatu languages.

Dr. Greg Anderson and Martial Wahe building the Nafe Talking Dictionary
Dr. Greg Anderson and Martial Wahe building the Nafe Talking Dictionary. Oct 2016
Dr. David Harrison with Nafe language experts Mr. Jean Eskar, Joe and Martial
Dr. David Harrison with Nafe language experts Mr. Jean Eskar, Joe and Martial. Oct 2016
Travelling by boat in Port Vila, Vanuatu
Travelling by boat in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Oct 2016
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