About Living Dictionaries

Living Dictionaries are mobile-friendly web tools that support endangered, under-represented and diasporic languages.

Led by community activists around the globe, Living Dictionaries are collaborative multimedia projects that help languages survive for generations to come.

Originally known as “Talking Dictionary” software, our platform was first launched in 2006 by Living Tongues linguists Gregory D. S. Anderson and K. David Harrison. In 2020, Living Tongues Institute updated the name of the tool to Living Dictionaries.


Current Dictionary Features

Manage Dictionary: View & Edit Entries in Real-Time

Record & Playback Audio

Photo Upload

Offline Data Access

Search

Entry Count

Semantic Domains

Set Dictionaries as Private or Public

On-Screen Keyboards for Glossing Languages

Import Data (CSV, JSON formats)

Development Roadmap

Invite Contributors

Import/Export
(FLEx, Standard Format)

Geo-tagging Entries

Flashcard View for Language Learners

Peer Review of Spellings

Suggestions from Users

Push Notifications to Contributors

Contributor Community Awards

Video Upload


man in front of alphabet and storyboard drawing

Why document endangered languages?

Languages are humanity's living history; they encode centuries of ancestral wisdom related to the environment, local culture and much more. Language is the vital, creative lens through which we perceive the world and express ourselves. There are over 3,000 threatened and endangered languages in the world, and it is up to our current generation to address this urgent problem before it's too late.

Not only is it important to scientifically document and preserve endangered languages, but from an educational standpoint, learning one's heritage language is a boost for communities who wish to conserve and celebrate their cultural identity, locally as well as internationally. Knowing about one's linguistic and cultural origins has significant, positive health impacts, and this translates to better well-being of the community in the long-term.

Recording language data

What is Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages?

Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages is a leading research organization dedicated to documenting endangered languages. Founded by linguist Dr. Gregory D. S. Anderson, Living Tongues Institute is a non-profit research institute based in Salem, Oregon, with remote researchers and collaborators located around the globe.

With nearly two decades of fieldwork experience, researchers at Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages have the skills and methods in place to help communities document, protect, and promote their languages.

Recording plant words

Help Us Launch More Living Dictionaries

With your help, we can continue to improve our software and make it available for any community that wishes to create their own Living Dictionary. Donate today and make an impact!

Donate