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MAKE TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS TO LIVING TONGUES INSTITUTE - Your 100% tax deductible contribution can help us preserve valuable information for future generations in the specialized knowledge contained in endangered languages. Please consider Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, when planning your charitable giving. We rely solely on the generosity of donors and grants to fund our field expeditions, publications, and assistance to indigenous communities struggling for cultural survival.

Living Tongues Language Hotspots

Language Hotspots Project

Language Hotspots was conceived and developed by Dr. Greg Anderson and Dr. David Harrison at the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages. It is a radically new way to look at the distribution of global linguistic diversity, to assess the threat of extinction, and to prioritize research. We define hotspots as concentrated regions of the world having the highest level of linguistic diversity (see below), the highest levels of endangerment, and the least-studied languages. Rather than simply counting languages, Hotspots take into account the number of language families (which we call "genetic units") represented in an area to calculate linguistic diversity. Click here for more on Language Hotspots and our Enduring Voices Expeditions  and the Enduring Voices Expedition Team.

Language Hotspots are areas that are urgently in need of action and should be the areas of highest priority in planning future research projects and channeling funding streams. Language Hotspots represent areas where we find a concentration of three logically independent factors, a high average level of endangerment, a high degree of linguistic diversity (calculated on the level of language family not individual language) and a low average level of prior documentation.

Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages has identified roughly twenty such Language Hotspots. The Language Hotspots list became a major research agenda for 2005-2006 for Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages. A  white paper outlining the research program was written in 2006 and revised in 2007 by Dr. Greg Anderson and Dr. David Harrison. It was presented formally to National Geographic in September 2006 and is now the core part of the Society’s Mission Programs’ Enduring Voices Project.


In February 2007 the science behind the Eastern Siberia Language Hotspot was given a public presentation at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The Enduring Voices Project and the Global Language Hotspots List and map developed by Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages was announced formally in September 2007.


Enduring Voices Language Hotspots Map

Current Hotspots Map


National Geographic Magazine Map*



Language Hotspots Selected Materials

Anderson, Gregory D. S. 2010. Perspectives on the global language extinction crisis: The Oklahoma and Eastern Siberia Language Hotspots. In Revue Roumaine de Linguistique.

Anderson, Gregory D. S. 2011. Language Hotspots: what (applied) linguistics and education should do about language endangerment in the twenty-first century. In Language and Education 2.4: 273-289.
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