How We Work

ELA works as a non-profit hub for linguists, language activists, speakers, volunteers, and others working in collaboration to sustain linguistic diversity.

Language Documentation

Language Documentation

Drawing on methods from Language Documentation, a subfield of linguistics that emphasize the creation of a "lasting, multi-purpose record of a language", ELA works with several communities on long-term, in-depth documentation projects.

Community Collaboration

Language documentation in diaspora contexts has advantages, especially in the long-term collaborations that are sometimes possible, as well as drawbacks that lead us to undertake "home region" fieldwork as well when possible.


ELA follows best practice ethical guidelines in its research, and a substantial portion of our work is explicitly collaborative, shaped from the beginning by community or speaker initiative and interest.


ELA uses a variety of tools, from specialized linguistics hardware and software such as Fieldworks Explorer (FLEx) and ELAN to more general tools for sharing materials with communities and the general public.


The following is a very abbreviated list of relevant references to books and articles arranged by topic on language fieldwork, linguistic diversity, endangerment, revitalization, and ethics.

Why ELA?

The acronym ELA echoes the Yahgan word aiala /aiawala/ [eɑala] ‘visible; light; knowledge; wise, intelligent; to know, to learn, to understand, to be conscious, to take in the meaning’.