Major Players

  1. The Linguistic Society of India (LSI)

Founded in 1928 at Lahore (in undivided India) during the 5th Oriental Studies Conference, the Society, popularly known as the LSI, has the following objectives: To advance the cause of Indian Linguistics, and to carry on Scientific Study of Indian Languages. The LSI Office was shifted in 1938 from Lahore to Calcutta. There was already an Indian Philological Association functioning since 1945 at Poona. The two were merged in 1955, and was called the Linguistic Society of India. While a wing remained in the Department of Comparative Philology (& Linguistics) at the University of Calcutta, the main office was shifted to the Department of Linguistics, Deccan College Post-graduate & Research Institute at Pune.

The LSI is also known for its flagship journal, Indian Linguistics, published since 1931. It has had so far 82 volumes. The other important activity has been to organize All India Conference of Linguists (AICL). Currently, the Conference is called International Conference of Linguistic Society of India (ICOLSI). The 42nd Conference was held in the GLA university at Mathura.

The LSI was initiated at the instance of great linguists of yester-years: Principal A.C. Woolner in Lahore, Dr Isaac Taraporewala from the University of Calcutta, and Sir George Abraham Grierson, besides Prof S.K. Chatterji and Sukumar Sen. Indian Linguistics has had very illustrious editors, including Professors S.M. Katre, S.M. Ghatage, Ashok Kelkar, Peri Bhaskararao, and others. The Society holds election to choose its office bearers every three years.

The current President is Prof G. Uma Maheshwara Rao (Formerly from the CALTS, University of Hyderabad), Vice-President being Prof Shobha Satyanath (University of Delhi), and the Secretary is Prof Shailendra Mohan (now Director, CIIL, Mysore).

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2.Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL)

CIIL, set up on July 17, 1969, is a major Indian research and teaching institute based in Mysore, Karnataka and is part of the Language Bureau of the  Ministry of Education, Govt. of India. It is dedicated to the development of Indian languages and it does so by conducting various researches, studying these languages and working on their growth, especially protecting and documenting the minority and tribal languages of India. This organisation and its members serve as prominent and central advisors for all matters of language, to the Centre as well as State Governments in India. It has seven regional centres covering the length and breadth of India. These centres aim to provide trained teachers who can implement the three-language formula that requires every student to learn at least two native languages of India among the three they must learn in school. By facilitating this, CIIL wishes to support linguistic minorities. The institute has brought out many learning and teaching materials in various languages of India and also offers courses at different levels in these languages.

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3. The Dravidian Linguistics Association (DLA) and the International School of Dravidian Linguistics (ISDL)

A “Call Notice” regarding the formation of an Association for the study of Dravidian languages, and all aspects of Dravidian culture and people, was issued jointly by late Prof. V.I. Subramoniam (Kerala University), R.C. Hiremath (Karnataka University), and Mahadeva Sastry (SV University) on 15th March 1971. A two-day Conference was held at Thiruvananthapuram, presided over by Prof. Suniti Kumar Chatterji, the then doyen of Indian linguistics. The DLA was born, with Prof. Chatterji as its first President. Even before the registration of the DLA, the learned bi-annual, International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics (IJDL), was established with the issue of its first number in 1972. This first issue carried articles from world-renowned scholars like M. B. Emeneau and others. Since then, without break, two issues have appeared every year. Prof. Subramoniam was the Editor for 28 years until 2000 when Prof. B. Gopinathan Nair took over this task. As the membership of DLA increased, it became necessary to keep in touch with them by the issue of a Monthly Newsletterthe DLA News.

In order to attract researchers and scholars, it was decided to transfer these functions to a learned body. The International School of Dravidian Linguistics (ISDL) was accordingly formed on 25th February 1977 with Prof. R.C. Hiremath of Dharwad as the first Internal Director, and Prof. F.C. Southworth, USA as the External Director. A Council of Direction with Prof. George Jacob, the then Vice-Chancellor of the Kerala University, as the President, was also constituted.

The Late Sri. C. Achutha Menon, as the then Chief Minister of Kerala, wanted to emulate the great strides in other countries like Russia, U.S.A., in Linguistics. He solidly supported the work of DLA and sister institutions, especially ISDL, which had a humble beginning. Later a whole campus came up in the 27 acre land that was allotted for the ISDL.

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4. The Centres for Endangered Languages in India (CFELs)

 CFEL/CEL or Centre for Endangered Languages are research units funded by The University Grant Commission on nine Central Universities of India . 

The CFEL of Visva Bharati University , located in Shantiniketan, Birbhum is the nodal centre. The Centres are an Initiative by UGC to protect the dying languages in India via field surveys, research, and Language documentation. The other universities in this initiative are Central University of Karnataka, Central University of Kerala, India Gandhi National Tribal University in Madhya Pradesh, Guru Ghasi Das University in Chhattisgarh, Central University of Jharkhand, Tezpur University in Assam, Rajiv Gandhi University, in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim University. 

The main objective of CFELs is to incorporate Interdisciplinary research to protect the Endangered Languages from extinction. The study includes researchers from Anthropology, Folklore, Sociology, Field Linguistics, Literature and other related subjects.


United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, through its expertise in Communication and Information is geared towards taking measures that are in line with its mandate to “promote the free flow of ideas by word and image”. Under its many initiatives, two very important ones are universal access to information and knowledge and promoting multilingualism in the cyberspace. It has been steadfast in working towards linguistic rights especially those of the minorities as well as the preservation of the linguistic and cultural diversity of the world. Major conferences and conventions under UNESCO have successfully churned out many important Declarations on this front. The UN General Assembly stated in February 2002 that it “pursues multilingualism as a means of promoting, protecting and preserving diversity of languages and cultures globally.” as well as how it “promotes unity in diversity and international understanding.”

6. Transparent Language 

Transparent Language is a US organization founded in 1989 and is headquartered in Nashua , New Hampshire. Transparent Language develops innovative technologies and unique methods to make language learning convenient. The mission of this organization is to encourage Language Learning. They have created efficient tools for every language that helps a student to learn proficiently. Their products are available in more than 12000 libraries. The instructors at Transparent Language are provided with comprehensive reporting features which are required to improve language program management.

7. Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages

Living Tongues Institute is a non profit organization founded by Dr. Gregory D.S. Anderson in 2005. The organization is headquartered at Oregon, United States. The main objective of this institution is to document endangered languages scientifically in order to ensure survival of Endangered Languages. Their research team does digital workshops, publish scientific studies and document the languages and cultural practices. They have created a mobile friendly web tool called the Living Dictionary. The dictionary contains numerous words along with audio and video recordings, also images. The mission of Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages is to encourage the preservation and revitalization of Endangered Languages world wide. They train community members in the use of writing systems and digital media which helps in language documentation and creates a legacy for the future generation. The Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages has spotted about 24 language hotspots on the basis of 3 factors: Language Endangerment, Linguistic Diversity and low level of Documentation. The current projects are going on in these regions. The Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages plans to create story, literary, lexical and grammatical materials in the future.

8. Our Golden Hour

Our Golden Hour is an organisation founded by researchers of Harvard University. The mission of this organisation is to protect the threat of Language and Culture extinction. They are focusing on educating the children of the indigenous communities, which they believe is the only way of language revival. They are currently working on the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh and publishing children’s books in their native Language. In future they are trying to make a model that could save the dying Languages and Culture World Wide.

9. The Foundation for Endangered Languages 

This is a not-for-profit organisation that is registered in England, Wales and the USA and was founded in 1996. The charitable organisation supports the documentation and protection of endangered languages by encouraging their use in all contexts such as home, education, in the media and other social, cultural and economic domains. It monitors language policies and initiates language preservation, literacy and language maintenance programmes in endangered language communities. The knowledge is created and disseminated effectively through regular conferences that also invite scholarly papers to discuss language documentation for language preservation and other ideas that promote linguistic diversity in the world. The organisation, through its membership fee model and donations provides financial assistance and training to assist and support language documentation programmes all over the world.

10. Bhasha Research and Publication Centre
Founded in 1996, Bhasha Trust from the very beginning has aimed at studying, documenting and conserving marginal languages. Their work extends to all the states and UT’s of India. Their main research focus lies in the  linguistic and cultural preservation of the Adivasis, nomadic and denotified communities of India. Bhasha believes that when any language is lost, the associated traditional knowledge, oral history, myths, legends, stories, songs etc. are also lost with it. Bhasha has organised many international, national, regional conferences, workshops and literary meets, undertaken collaborations with cultural organisations to bring these endangered languages and the unique culture that is associated with them into the public domain. This centre has received ‘Centre of Excellence’ status by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Govt. of India and won awards such as Magsaysay Award, Padma Vibhushan, Jnanapith and many more.  It also provides advisory services to UNESCO on Intangible Cultural Heritage.

11.  Linguistic Society of America (LSA)

LSA was founded in 1924 with an aim to study languages and their application in society and is an organisation of great repute in the U.S. in the arena of linguistics. Its members work extensively on matters related to Advocacy, Research, Professional Recognition and even Public Education in the field of linguistics. It hosts a Standing Committee known as the Committee on Endangered Languages and their Preservation (CELP). Established in 1992, the committee works for the documentation of endangered languages and promotes strategies to save languages at the individual, institutional and community level. The committee actively engages with similar organisations and even educational institutions to offer assistance in conducting training programmes and degrees for the preparation of grammars and dictionaries of languages that are facing the threat of extinction and in need of increased documentation. It sponsors and cosponsors events with similar organisations such as workshops, symposia, tutorials, enlightening sessions on language documentation and revitalization. The LSA was also an official partner of the International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019.

12. Wikitongues

It is a non-profit organisation based in New York, USA which attracts language activists, anthropologists, linguists and other interested volunteers  to participate in language documentation and revitalization. Wikitongues hosts a seedbank of linguistic diversity on its website where it aims to capture all the endangered languages in the world, in the form of videos, audios, lexicon documents and this language archive is supported by a great number of generous donors. The organisation also works towards language revitalization by accelerating many language  revitalization projects around the world by providing the necessary resources. To guide revitalization activists on how to kickstart this endeavour, Wikitongues has published a Language Sustainability Toolkit, a free resource with an open-ended framework that the organization customises according to the needs of the particular language and its community of origin and helps in drawing out a plan to revitalize the language.

13. International Mother Language Institute (IMLI), Dhaka

International Mother Language Institute’s aim is to preserve languages in Bangladesh. It is a body under the Government of Bangladesh, established in 2010. In 2015, UNESCO recognized the Institute as a Category II institution. In a historic meeting commemorating this achievement on 7 December 1999 the honourable Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina announced that an international mother language institute would be established in Dhaka for the research and the preservation of the dignity and the rights of augmenting/expanding as well as nearly extinct languages of the world. According to that declaration, she laid the foundation of the International Mother Language Institute (IMLI) at 1/ ka Segunbagicha, Dhaka on 15 March 2001. The then Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi A. Annan was present on that occasion. Since then, the International Mother Language Institute is moving ahead with its set mission and vision. The institute has 40 officials and researchers at present, devoted to promotion, preservation and documentation of all mother tongues in Bangladesh.

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14. The Nepal Academy (formerly, Royal Nepal Academy)

The Nepal Academy is an autonomous apex body in Kathmandu, Nepal, established for the promotion of the languages, literature and culture of Nepal. It also works in the areas of philosophy and social sciences. The academy commissions research and aims to promote the development of cultural and intellectual endeavour by coordinating national and international activities.

A movement for a national cultural academy of Nepal began during the 20th century, with national figures calling for its establishment, including the Nepali poet and former Minister of Education, Laxmi Prasad Devkota. It was finally established in June 1957 as the Nepal Academy of Literature and Art, later named as the Royal Nepal Academy following the passage of the Royal Nepal Academy Act, 1974. After Nepal became a republic in 2008, it was renamed the Nepal Academy, by provision of the Nepal Academy Act 2007.

The academy annually organises the National Folk Music and Dance Festival, the National Cultural Festival and promotes research on languages and literature. Out of its eleven departments, two Departments of Language devote research on mother tongue, dictionary and grammar. Prof Yogendra P Yadav had received an LL99 Project (as a Languages Legacies Grant recipient) from the Endangered Languages Foundation to study and document Dhangar language.

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15. The Linguistic Association of Pakistan (LAP) 

LAP, established in 1988, is a non-profit and non-government organization working in Pakistan. It aims to promote scientific study of all languages of Pakistan as well as the advanced languages of the world. It also strives for and supports the development of linguistic resources for the indigenous languages of Pakistan and their utilization for the betterment of communities.

The idea of LAP had been there when the  Linguistic Society of India (LSI) was founded in Lahore in 1928. After Pakistan was established in 1947, the Linguistic Research Group of Pakistan (LRGP) emerged in 1960s. The LRGP organized conferences on linguistics and published their proceedings but it could not continue for long.

In 1988 the then faculty of the Department of English at Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, after their utmost efforts, succeeded in establishing the Linguistic Association of Pakistan (LAP). The purpose was to convene the linguists and language enthusiasts from all over the country on a single platform and promote the scientific study of the languages of Pakistan alongside other modern languages of the world. It also began publishing a journal titled ‘Pakistan Journal of Language,’ and three volumes came up. Currently, LAP has launched JoLAP, or Journal of the Linguistic Association of Pakistan.

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16. The Linguistic Society of Pakistan (LSP)

The Linguistics Society of Pakistan (LSP) was founded in Lahore to advance the scientific study of language. It plays a critical role in supporting and contributing to both theoretical and experimental approaches to language, including computational linguistics. Its main objectives are to provide a platform to students with research opportunities in language and linguistics and hence to promote social and scientific study of language in the country. Towards that goal, LSP organizes the National Linguistics Olympiad as a contest in which high-school students solve linguistic puzzles. It is a contest for high-school (and younger) students to solve linguistics problems drawn from a variety of languages. It organizes various projects, presentations, meetings, and other activities. LSP tries to capture the inherent breadth of the discipline by exploring the cognitive, interactional, cultural, and developmental aspects of language. Members and students explore language structure, history, knowledge, behavior, and use and work on the exposure of Linguistics

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17. National Institute of Language Education & Training (NILET)

National Institute of Language Education and Training ( NILET) was formally established by act no. 26th of 2007. Core programme staff assist the Director General in handling administrative matters. NILET operates from No:321/1, High Level Road, Makubura, Pannipitiya, Sri Lanka. National Institute of Language Education and Training possesses unique features conducive for educational activities in furtherance of its mandate promoting language education and training. Teachers take their courses to become a language educator or a bilingual trainer etc. It also offers 200-hours of Tamil Language Program. Second Language Courses for public officials is a regular activity here.

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