SOAS University of London

ELAR launches new archiving platform

23 February 2021

The Endangered Language Archive (ELAR) is excited to announce the launch of its new archiving platform powered by Preservica on February 21st 2021, International Mother Language Day - celebrating humanity's cultural and linguistic diversity. ELAR holds audiovisual collections of endangered languages recorded with and by communities all over the world, preserving their knowledge and languages, making them available for future generations.

Over 500 collections can be explored in ELAR, from languages spoken by communities in the Kalahari Desert in Namibia, South Africa and Botswana, over languages signed in India and Iran, to languages whistled in the Brazilian Amazon. You can find recordings of every-day conversations, instructions on how to build fish traps or boats, explanations of kinship systems and the use of medicinal plants, and learn about art forms like string figures and sand drawings. ELAR's collections are unique records of local knowledge systems encoded in their languages, described by the holders of the knowledge themselves.

The Endangered Languages Archive was created in 2002 in response to the dramatic decline of linguistic diversity with seed funding by the Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. Arcadia serves humanity by preserving endangered cultural heritage and ecosystems. ELAR was created together with the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme, a grant-giving organisation which funds language documentation projects and trains language documenters  globally.

In the week following International Mother Language Day, ELAR will hold a virtual celebration of the launch of its new archiving platform, showcasing the diversity of collections via the new ELAR Blog and ELAR's social media channels. Follow @ELARarchive on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Tsendee Yunger - ELAR
Tsendee Yunger recording a speaker of the Durvud dialect of Oirat, spoken in Western Mongolia
Zoque Roman Cruz - ELAR
Román de La Cruz working with Inocenta Paz Ocaña, the last semispeaker of the Zoque variety spoken in Tapijulapan, Tabasco, Mexico. Photo: Roberto Zavala Maldonado