Endangered archives blog

News about the projects saving vulnerable material from around the world

21 February 2011

International Mother Language Day

"Languages are the best vehicles of mutual understanding and tolerance. Respect for all languages is a key factor for ensuring peaceful coexistence, without exclusion, of societies and all their members."

Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO, Message on the occasion of International Mother Language Day 2011

Today is International Mother Language Day, established by UNESCO in 1999 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. The theme this year is Information and Communication Technologies for the safeguarding and promotion of languages and linguistic diversity.  Over half of the world's languages are endangered, and UNESCO aim to raise awareness of the role new technologies can play in promoting linguistic diversity.


The Endangered Languages Project (also funded by Arcadia) at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London aims to document endangered languages, train language documenters, preserve and disseminate documentation materials, and support endangered languages. It runs three programmes: a documentation programme (ELDP) which provides research grants; an academic programme (ELAP) which runs postgraduate courses in language documentation and description, and an archiving programme (ELAR) which seeks to preserve and disseminate endangered language documentation.

Several EAP projects have digitised material written, spoken and sung in endangered languages, scripts and dialects, including:

EAP051 Bamum script and archive project: saving Africa's written heritage

Led by Dr Konrad Tuchscherer, EAP051 provided additional funding to the Bamum Script and Archives Project, to enable digitisation and listing of documents written in the Bamum script. The project was also heavily involved in the creation of a Unicode font for the script. 

APRB2 15 

EAP089: Reconstruction of sound materials of endangered languages in the Russian Federation for sound archives in Saint Petersberg

The project digitised material in the following languages: Azerbaijan, Balochi, Chagatay, Chatror, Dari (Farsi-Kabuli), Enets, German, Kati, Kerek, Mendzon, Nenets, Nganasan, Parachi, Pashai, Pashto, Russian, Shugni, Tajik, Udeghe, Vaygali, and Wakhi (Vakhan).

There are other EAP projects which deal with endangered languages and scripts; more information can be found by searching our webpages.






Most of my reads are on the web it looks as there are rapid changes of standards and technologies saving/retrieving/processing data .So the new knowledge are endangered more than hard copies (you remember the 1.44 or the 3.5 discs ) what about word processors and now the "smartphones" data/app.)so on the web you makes them accessible as long as you have the right "machine" ( just try to be hundreds of years from now you find a cd you look closely and you see "micro holes arranged how? what it is? what dose it mean )
I'll make a hard copy to be on the save side

Hello, do you have any archives from anywhere in the world(but particularly China) which cover obscure natural history records?I am a professional cryptozoologist,that is to say I study "unknown" animals eg animals rumoured to exist,I suspect there must be some ethnographical records that are covered in endangered archives.Yours sincerely Richard Muirhead

Hello Richard. Thank you for your enquiry regarding material copied by EAP Projects, in particular obscure natural history records. Nothing springs to mind, but details of all EAP projects are available on our website: http://eap.bl.uk

You can search these by region or by free text. If you find anything you would like more information on, please email me.

EAP Curator

Languages are the best vehicles of mutual understanding and tolerance. Respect for all languages is a key factor for ensuring peaceful coexistence, without exclusion, of societies and all their members.

Thanks from Southern Azerbaijan

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