« Money and respect - Frank Baarda | Blog home | Words for new ideas: 'What's your age?' »

business learning training articles new learning business training opportunities finance learning training deposit money learning making training art loan learning training deposits make learning your training home good income learning outcome training issue medicine learning training drugs market learning money training trends self learning roof training repairing market learning training online secure skin learning training tools wedding learning training jewellery newspaper learning for training magazine geo learning training places business learning training design Car learning and training Jips production learning training business ladies learning cosmetics training sector sport learning and training fat burn vat learning insurance training price fitness learning training program furniture learning at training home which learning insurance training firms new learning devoloping training technology healthy learning training nutrition dress learning training up company learning training income insurance learning and training life dream learning training home create learning new training business individual learning loan training form cooking learning training ingredients which learning firms training is good choosing learning most training efficient business comment learning on training goods technology learning training business secret learning of training business company learning training redirects credits learning in training business guide learning for training business cheap learning insurance training tips selling learning training abroad protein learning training diets improve learning your training home security learning training importance

[From Peter K. Austin, Endangered Languages Academic Programme, SOAS]

On 28th and 29th February 2008 the CASTL,The Center for Advanced Study in Theoretical Linguistics, at the Universitetet i Tromsø organised a Workshop om dokumentasjon og revitalisering av samiske språk “Workshop on documentation and revitalisation of Saami languages”. The workshop was attended by 52 people from nine countries, including Canada, UK, Germany, The Netherlands, Russia, and all the Nordic countries, and brought together researchers and Saami scholars to create a network to support current and future work on documentation and revitalisation of all varieties of Saami.

I was invited to the workshop to talk about HRELP, the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project, including the training, archiving and granting work that the three components of HRELP are concerned with. Following my presentation, and in the general discussion session on Friday afternoon, there was a great deal of talk about how to apply for funds to support endangered languages work and to set up research networks (a topic also covered in the Training Course David Nathan and I ran in Japan that I blogged about here).

There are three main competitive funding sources that researchers and communities can apply to for funding:

  1. General research grant bodies for the Humanities and Social Sciences set up by governments, such as the UK AHRC and SSRC, Australian ARC, Norwegian Forskingsrådet, German DFG and so on;

  2. Non-government grant bodies such as Unesco, the Christensen Fund, the Endangered Archives Programme sponsored by Arcadia and managed by the British Library (this funds archival work which can include endangered languages materials)
    and so on;

  3. Endangered languages grant bodies which deal with research on endangered languages only, such as:

    • DoBeS project of the Volkswagen Foundation
    • ELDP Endangered Languages Documentation Programme sponsored by Arcadia.
    • DEL interagency programme of the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment of the Humanities
    • FEL Foundation for Endangered Languages
    • ELF Endangered Languages Fund
    • GBS, Gesellschaft für bedrohte Sprachen, whose current call for grant proposals is available in English here [pdf].

    I will refer to the second group as “NGO grant bodies”, and the last group as “EL grant bodies” below. Note that I am not discussing other funding sources that may be used to support language work such as local employment creation projects; these are usually specific to particular places and it is difficult to generalise about them.

Each granting body has its own rules and regulations, and its own particular areas of interest, however the specialist EL grant bodies do have some similarities in common (as well as a few differences):

  • they each have a selection panel of experts who decide on the grants – this means that applicants generally get a better treatment for their applications since many of the selection panels for general research grant bodies or NGO bodiescover a wide range of disciplines (eg. the ARC Humanities and Creative Arts Panel covers linguistics, languages, education, art, drama etc) and even if there are one or two linguists on the panel they may not be specialists in language documentation or the relevant language area. This also means that EL bodies are ‘fairer’ to applicants in that they understand the research area well and can identify errors or omissions more easily, and also often are able to identify technical inconsistencies (eg. an application that requests money for video equipment without demonstrating that the applicant has the required skills or research methods to use the equipment, or one that asks for a particular microphone which is incompatible with the recorder selected). Some bodies, eg. ELDP, publish their list of experts, others do not.
  • they all use a system of referee’s reports on applications as part of the decision-making process. Some bodies, eg. ELDP, invite the applicant to nominate referees and to have them send in references, others, eg. NSF and Volkswagen, only collect their own references (ELDP uses both types of references). Some provide the references anonymously to the selection panel (so they cannot be influenced by the name of the referee) while others name the referees. Some agencies allow the applicant to name persons who they do not want to referee an application, however no EL granting body does this to my knowledge.
  • they all provide a degree of feedback to the applicant, successful or not. Generally only a summary of the selection panel’s decision is given – several of the non-EL bodies provide the referee’s reports to the applicant, and the ARC, AHRC and ESRC allow the possibility of applicants to respond to the referee reports, but none of the EL bodies does.
  • it is generally worthwhile looking at the lists of successful grant applications to identify the kinds of projects which each EL grant body favours. While it is not advisable to mimic such applications and it is necessary for each project to justify itself in its own terms, the kinds of research not supported by particular bodies, eg. projects on sign language or projects with a major revitalisation focus, can assist in delineating the preferred focus of an application.

Researchers and communities concerned with endangered languages currently have a range of possibilities for applying for funding support, however some prior research on what makes a successful application for each different granting agency can be very helpful. It may also be useful to contact sucessful grantees who currently have or recently had funded projects in the geographical area you are interested in to open up the possibility of sharing their experiences of applying for funds.

The Authors

About the Blog

The Transient Building, symbolising the impermanence of language, houses both the Linguistics Department at Sydney University and PARADISEC, a digital archive for endangered Pacific languages and music.

Recently commented on


Papua New Guinea FAQs from Eva Lindstrom Papua New Guinea (New Ireland): Eva Lindstrom's tips for fieldworkers

Australian Languages Answers to some frequently asked questions about Australian languages

Papua Web Information network on Papua, Indonesia (formerly Irian Jaya)

Hibernating blogs

Indigenous Language SPEAK

Langguj gel Australian linguistics and fieldwork blog

Interesting Blogs

Omniglot Writing systems and languages of the world

LingFormant Linguistics news

Language hat Linguistics news and commentary

Jabal al-Lughat Linguistics news and commentary on a range of languages

Living languages Blog with news items and discussion of endangered languages

OzPapersOnline Notices of recent work on the Indigenous languages of Australia

That Munanga linguist Community linguist blog

Anggarrgoon Claire Bowern's linguistics and fieldwork blog

Savage Minds A group blog on Anthropology

Fully (sic)

Language on the Move Intercultural communication and multilingualism

Talking Alaska: Reflections on the native languages of Alaska

Culture matters: applying anthropology Australian anthropology blog: postgraduates and staff

Long Road ethnography and anthropology blog - including about Australia

matjjin-nehen Blog on Australian linguistics, fieldwork, politics and the environment.

Language Log Group blog on language and linguistics


E-MELD The E-MELD School of Best Practices in Digital Language Documentation

Tema Modersmål Website in Swedish with links to sites on and in many languages

Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project: Language Documentation: What is it? Information on equipment, formats, and archiving, and examples of documentation

Indigenous Peoples Issues & Resources a worldwide network of organizations, academics, activists, indigenous groups, and others representing indigenous and tribal peoples

Technorati Profile

Technology-enhanced language revitalization Include ILAT (Indigenous Languages and Technology) discussion list.

Endangered languages of Indigenous Peoples of Siberia

Koryak Net Information on the people of Kamchatka

Linguistic fieldwork preparation: a guide for field linguists syllabi, funding, technology, ethics, readings, bibliography

On-line resources for endangered languages

Papua New Guinea Language Resources Phonologies, grammars, dictionaries, literacy, language maps for many PNG languages

Resource network for linguistic diversity Networking practitioners working to record,retrieve & reintroduce endangered languages


ACLA child language acquisition in three Australian Aboriginal communities

DELAMAN The Digital Endangered Languages and Musics Archives Network

PARADISEC The Pacific And Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures

Murriny-Patha Song Project Documenting the language and music of public songs and dances composed and performed by Murriny Patha-speaking people

PFED The Project for Free Electronic Dictionaries

DOBES Endangered language documentation and archiving, funded by the Volkswagen Foundation and sponsored by the Max Planck Institute, Nijmegen.

DELP Documenting endangered languages at the University of Sydney

Ethno EResearch Exploring methods and technology for streaming media and interlinear text