About the Catalogue

Table of Contents

    Introduction to the catalogue

    Many languages of the world are at risk of becoming extinct soon. The crisis of endangered languages is one of the most serious issues facing humanity today, posing moral, practical, and scientific problems of enormous proportions. This catalogue informs users about the plight of endangered languages and encourages efforts to slow the loss. It provides information on the endangered languages of the world as a resource for the public, scholars, those whose languages are in peril, and funding agencies able to deploy limited resources.

    Until now, with this Catalogue of Endangered Languages, there has been no single reliable source of information on the endangered languages of the world that describes how endangered each language is and to what extent it has been documented. For many of the languages in this catalogue, little or no accessible information exists yet. For others, the existing sources are often inaccurate, unreliable, or inaccessible. For those seeking to understand where documentation efforts and resources might most effectively be directed, and where language conservation or revitalization efforts are most needed, it is important to know not only how critically endangered a language is, but also how well it has already been described, how different or unique it might be, and how further description might contribute to our understanding of human language in general. It is this kind of information on the endangered languages of the world that the Catalogue presents.

    Google oversaw the development and launch of this project with the long term goal for it to be led by true experts in the field of language preservation. As such, oversight of the project transitioned to First Peoples’ Cultural Council and the Institute for Language Information and Technology at Eastern Michigan University. The project is now managed by First Peoples’ Cultural Council and the Endangered Languages Catalogue/Endangered Languages Project (ELCat/ELP) team at University of HawaiÊ»i at Mānoa in coordination with the Governance Council.

    About the Language Information on this Site

    The languages included in this project and the information displayed about them are provided by the Catalogue of Endangered Languages (ELCat), produced by the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and Eastern Michigan University, with funding provided by the U.S. National Science Foundation (Grants #1058096 and #1057725) and the Luce Foundation, and supported by a team of global experts.

    ELCat is being shared through this site so that feedback from language communities and scholars worldwide can be incorporated to update the world’s knowledge about its most at-risk languages. This means that the languages included on this site and the information presented about them is intended to change over time.

    This is a header