Talking Dictionaries

A Talking Dictionary takes the traditional paper dictionary to a whole new level. It is an interactive online tool that digitally preserves words and phrases, and it allows the user to hear high-quality audio recordings of words in their language, as well as record and upload new content as well as images.

We build the dictionaries in collaboration with speakers of endangered languages at specialized workshops that we facilitate. Speakers learn the necessary digital skills to catalog, record, edit and upload words and phrases in their native languages. Here is an example of how the words in a Talking Dictionary are recorded.

Espíritu Bautista and his son, Elmo Bautista Mariño, are recording digital audio clips to create the Yanesha Taking Dictionary. Yanesha is spoken in the Peruvian Amazon.

Explore the Talking Dictionaries below.

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The Talking Dictionaries help create visibility for minority languages on the Web. They are a virtual space where speakers can go to listen to their language, no matter where they are in the world.

These dictionaries are powerful educational tools for communities that are working to revitalize their endangered languages. An online dictionary is programmed to be bilingual so that speakers of the local dominant language can easily use it. It serves as a resource to help fluent speakers teach words and phrases in their native language to a new generation of speakers.

Why We Can Make a Difference

At the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages, we are a small and dynamic team with a low overhead. We coordinate long-term projects, such as the Talking Dictionaries, on a modest budget. Supporting us is a great way to ensure the creation of tools that will preserve threatened languages for future generations of speakers. Here are ways you can support our work.

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We are a non-profit research institute dedicated to documenting endangered languages around the world.