Foundation for Endangered Languages

Home | Manifesto | Membership details | Proceedings | Grant Applications | Newsletter | Links | Bibliography


8. Places to Go - On the Net and in the World

Endangered Languages on Film and Video

On May 5 I (Ole Stig Andersen) posted the following query

"I am looking for TV documentaries and films about Endangered Languages, or where language endangerment or revitalization is part of the story told."

The query yielded some 80 films, ranging from 2 minute TV spots over many classic half-hour documentaries to a handfull of full-length feature movies that may not be documentaries proper as much as revitalization projects in their own right.

Most of them portray the situation of a single language and/or a variety of revitalisation efforts. A few tell the history of the destruction of a particular language.

A third of the films are part of a a single impressive production: the Canadian Finding Our Talk series of 26 half-hour films, all available in four languages. There are some ten further films from the Americas, about a dozen on Finno-Ugric languages of Norteastern Europe and similarly for Australia.

Except for the Archives of Babel series of small TV spots the query did not elicit a single pointer to films about endangered African or South Asian languages. In general, the list leaves the unoffshakable impression that (some) endangered languages of the Rich are somewhat better off, publicitywise at least, than the Rest, which is of course no wonder.

About a quarter of the films are (also) available online. Others are on VHS, DVD and 35 mm film. A few are probably not available.

I have put up a webpage with detailed information ¬ as far as I have it now - on the 80 films: a tiny presentation of each, the language(s) featured, language versions available, format, duration etc. There you'll also find links and contact information on the film, the producer or distributor.

I believe this overview lists the majority of available TV/Film-documentaries on endangered languages. I'm looking forward to corrections, additional information, further films etc.

I thank those who responded to the query and have credited them on the web page.

Sixth Native American Symposium
November 10-12, 2005
Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, Oklahoma.

Our featured speakers this year will be Buffy Sainte-Marie and Winona LaDuke. The symposium's theme is Native Women in the Arts, Education, and Leadership, but papers and presentations welcomed on all Native American topics and issues, including history, literature, autobiography, film, cultural studies, education, religion, politics, the social sciences, and fine arts. For more information, write to Dr. Mark B. Spencer, Department of English, Humanities, and Languages, Box 4121, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Durant, OK 74701-0609, mspencer at

Endangered Voices Endangered Voices is an exhibition exploring the themes of language endangerment. The installation features 7 boards traversing issues and instances of Language and Culture, Languages in Competition, Language and Literacy, Language and Technology, Language Revitalisation (Revitalization) and Language Documentation. The exhibition will be held at the Brunei Gallery in London from 28th June - 23rd September 2005, Monday to Friday 10.30am - 5pm, Free Admission. For more information visit:

Archive of Choctaw Language Classes
An archive of Choctaw language classes is available online here:

Aboriginal Studies Electronic Data Archive

The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) holds computer-based (digital) materials about Australian Indigenous languages in the Aboriginal Studies Electronic Data Archive (ASEDA). ASEDA has materials including dictionaries, grammars, teaching materials, and represents about 300 languages. ASEDA offers a free service of secure storage, maintenance, and distribution of electronic texts relating to these languages. The Archive is available to language community members and to researchers in the field of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.

Virtual Library for Australian Aboriginal Languages Update
David Nathan

The WWW Virtual Library for Australian Aboriginal Languages has undergone a major update, with about 100 updated listings (40 new items, about 60 moved sites re-traced). It now lists 224 resources for about 70 Australian languages. Interestingly, the proportion of sites from Indigenous authors or publishers is now about 33%, up from about 25% in 2003. It's at:

Frisian Academy Research on Endangered Languages

Work on endangered languages (phonetics and ethnolinguistics) at the Frisian Academy focuses on the study of language contrasts, language contact and language change. The phonetic aspects of languages and dialects of minority and indigenous languages, in particular those of the Russian Federation and neighbouring countries, are investigated. This portal features websites related to the diverse range of research:

Wordcorr: Demo Software for Archiving Comparative Data

Joseph E. Grimes, SIL International and University of Hawai'i at Manoa

This software is available for free download at

Some metadata for linguistics are fairly simple. Metadata for collections of many word lists and their analyses, however, are not so simple. Wordcorr is a computational tool for managing word list data for comparative phonology, in both research and teaching. It also takes in annotations that reflect linguists' or students' judgments about the data, and from them tabulates and organizes all the correspondence sets implied by those judgments. It provides for different views of the same data to permit investigating conflicting hypotheses.

Members of the Wordcorr community will soon be interacting with each other by emailing files with the aid of the Web site. Currently they email them without help from the site, and also interact through the Wordcorr forum on SourceForge and personal messages. Since analyses are in continual flux, and data get expanded or corrected from time to time, the actual data sets are distributed rather than centralized, and are in the hands of the originator of each collection. But the metadata for each collection that has been made public will be on the Web site and can be searched through regular OLAC protocols.

Let's Speak Kumeyaay
"My name is Samuel Brown. I am reservation born and bred. I am a resident enrolled member of Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians and I look like an Indian…"

This is a web-site for the Kumiái language of Southern California east of San Diego, previously often known as Diegueño.