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The Endangered Languages Archive (ELAR) was created in 2002 together with the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme in response to the dramatic decline of linguistic diversity with a generous donation by Arcadia, the charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. ELAR is the archive for endangered language materials for grantees of the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme a grant-making programme supporting documenters and linguists all over the world in their documentation work.

Linguistic diversity is in decline because of fast-paced modernisation. The way people live is changing rapidly because of the effects of climate change, globalisation, and urbanisation. Fewer and fewer children are learning to speak the language of their heritage and as the majority of the world’s over 7000 languages are unwritten languages only existing in the minds of its speakers, humanity is losing its linguistic diversity at a rapid pace. In response to this development linguists, documenters, and speakers are creating multimedia collections of endangered languages establishing a documentary record of these languages.

At ELAR, we preserve and publish collections of audio and video recordings, transcriptions and translations, dictionaries, and primers in and of endangered languages created with and by speakers of the endangered languages. We also digitise legacy collections in analogue formats saving them from deterioration and making them accessible to the speaker and their descendants, scholars, and the public.

ELAR currently holds materials for over 550 endangered languages recorded in over 70 different countries. Visit our Blog, VimeoTwitter, and Facebook to be up to date with our activities.


Archiving and publishing

ELAR is the home archive for projects funded through the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP).  We are committed to safeguarding endangered languages materials and are happy to assist you in finding the right archive for your materials and discuss possible collaboration for archiving with ELAR. We welcome deposits from language community members, researchers, and field workers from all disciplines, as well as retired people who may have materials that they collected in the past.

Get in touch with us to discuss the safe keeping of your materials.


Training and Advice

We provide training in all aspects of the creation of digital collections to archiving collections. These entail metadata creation, data management, formats, curation as well as digitisation of analogue formats.

We deliver short courses on transcription software like ELAN but also deliver one to two-week training on the theory and method behind linguistic documentation.


Networking and Service


ELAR is a founding member of the Digital Endangered Languages and Musics Archives Network (DELAMAN). Established in 2003 as an international umbrella body for archives and other initiatives. DELAMAN members aim to document and preserve endangered languages and music worldwide.

CLARIN K-Centre LogoELAR is one of three partners of the CLARIN Knowledge Centre for Linguistic Diversity and Language Documentation (CKLD), providing its expertise to researchers and community members across Europe. The K-centre offers advice and training in digital corpus creation and archiving.


Our Team

Mandana Seyfeddinipur

Mandana Seyfeddinipur heads ELAR and provides strategic direction. Trained as a linguist, her interests are language documentation, linguistic and cognitive diversity, multimodality with a focus on manual gesture, visual mode of language, language use and language documentation, pragmatics, psycholinguistics, the role of video in language documentation.

Stephanie Petit

Stephanie Petit is a senior archive assistant and is responsible for advising depositors, curating and uploading collections. She is a graduate of SOAS University of London. Her main areas of interest are Arabic, Modern South Arabian languages, Translation Theory, and the politics and societies of the Middle East.

Leonore Lukschy

Leonore Lukschy is a senior archive assistant working on collection curation and ELAR’s communication officer. She takes care of ELAR’s social media channels and organises our outreach events. Leonore recently completed an MA in Language Documentation and Description from SOAS University of London. Her main research interests are the languages of Latin America, linguistic rights, and how archival resources can serve as a basis for creating community materials.

Vera Ferreira

Vera Ferreira, as Archive Support and Development Officer,  oversees the digital development of the archive and its services. She also provides training on all aspects of data management, metadata preparation, and digital archiving. Vera is a trained linguist with a background in language documentation and field research. Her main research interests lie in European endangered languages and the connection between documentary data and language revitalisation.

Sydney Rey is an archive assistant with ELDP and ELAR. She supports the archive staff with everything from data processing and curation to social media. Sydney recently completed an MA in Language Documentation and Description from SOAS University of London. Her research interests lie in the syntax of endangered North American languages, data accessibility, and community-centric language documentation.

Isabelle Meindl is an archive assistant while studying information science at the Hochschule der Medien in Stuttgart. In doing so, she focuses on data and information management. As part of her course, Isabelle is studying the various areas of the archive and supports the team with data processing.

Stefan Strache is a digital archive intern who supports the team with data processing and curation work. Currently he is studying information science at the Hochschule der Medien in Stuttgart, Germany. His studies are focused on programming as well as data and information management.

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