The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has added to its Memory of the World register 64 collections from The Language Archive at the MPI. These materials contain documentation from 102 different languages spoken around the world.

The Language Archive (TLA) at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics preserves language materials for the future, and makes them available for scientific research and use by the wider public, among other things. The complete archive holds more than 20.000 hours of audio-visual materials from over 200 different languages. The collections added to the Memory of the World register contain unique recordings and texts of minority languages, many of which are in danger of becoming extinct. The majority of these collections were created within the DOBES (Documentation of Endangered Languages) programme funded by the Volkswagen Foundation. The UNESCO Memory of the World register is a prestigious list that contains documentary heritage of exceptional value to the world, including Anne Frank’s diaries and the original “Wizard of Oz” film negatives. TLA’s additions to the register are the first to contain materials that were originally created in digital form, such as digital photographs and videos.

The collections can be found via the following link: (user registration or an explicit access request is required for some materials).


A speaker of the Kilivila Language spoken on the Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea, which is part of the added collections. (Photo: Gunter Senft)