The Catalogue of Endangered Languages in context

Heaton, Raina
Okura, Eve
Heaton, Raina
Okura, Eve
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The Catalogue of Endangered Languages, phase 1, was launched in June 2012 at This paper puts the Catalogue in context, explaining how it was developed, its relationship to the Endangered Languages Project website, what these two offer, a brief report of what has been achieved so far, and goals and procedures for phase 2 of the project. This presentation also provides context for other papers and posters submitted to ICLDC related to the Catalogue of Endangered Languages. Not just a website, the Catalogue of Endangered Languages and the Endangered Languages Project together represent an extensive network of individuals and organizations. Through the efforts of the University of Hawaii at Mānoa (UHM) and the Eastern Michigan University (EMU) teams, the project’s Regional Directors, Google, and website users, only two months after launch we can report the following: • 3,142 languages have been entered into the Catalogue, with information from multiple sources; • Over 10,000 website visitors have created user profiles; • Hundreds of suggestions have been sent in by users contributing information to the site; • Hundreds of examples of language materials (video, audio, text) have been uploaded by users, doubling the number at the time of launch. In an NSF- sponsored workshop in 2009, the Catalogue of Endangered Languages was designed. Teams of students and faculty at EMU and the UHM compiled the data upon which the Catalogue is based, the central feature of the Endangered Languages Project website developed by Google. The project’s structure and function are unique, offering fields of information and samples of language materials not provided by other sources. By compiling data from multiple sources, the Catalogue provides details on what is known about the world’s endangered languages and for the languages for which data are lacking or the existing information is outdated, or for which there are conflicting claims. The kinds of information provided include but are not limited to the number and age speakers, intergenerational transmission, speaker number trends, domains of use of the language, locations where it is spoken, etc. The site also invites users to make suggestions and to contribute language both information and language materials (called “samples”). All suggestions for the catalogue undergo rigorous review, explained in this paper. Phase 2 begins now; it focuses on obtaining current data for the languages, filling in missing information and correcting errors in the sources.
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