Pangloss Collection

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The Pangloss Collection is a digital library whose objective is to store and facilitate access to audio recordings in endangered languages of the world. Developed by the LACITO centre of CNRS in Paris, the collection provides free online access to documents of connected, spontaneous speech, in otherwise poorly documented languages of all continents.[1]


A sound archive with synchronized transcriptions[edit]

For the science of linguistics, language is first and foremost spoken language. The medium of spoken language is sound. The Pangloss collection gives access to original recordings simultaneously with transcriptions and translations, as a resource for further research. After being recorded in its cultural context, texts have been transcribed in collaboration with native speakers.

A structured, open architecture[edit]

The archived data is structured in accordance with the latest data-processing standards, as open architecture, in an open format, and may be downloaded under a Creative Commons license. The software used to prepare and disseminate it is open-source. The Pangloss collection is a member of the OLAC network of archival repositories.


The collection was initially called the LACITO Archive.[2][3] The project originated in 1996 from the collaboration of Boyd Michailovsky, linguist at LACITO, with John B. Lowe, engineer;[4]:15 they were later joined by Michel Jacobson, engineer, who developed some tools for the project, and brought it online.[1]:124 [4]

The purpose of the archive was “to conserve, and to make available for research, recorded and transcribed oral traditions and other linguistic materials in (mainly) unwritten languages, giving simultaneous access to sound recordings and text annotation.”[4] The earliest archived corpora in the collection were languages from Nepal, from New Caledonia, from eastern Africa and French Guiana.[5]

The archive has grown steadily since the end of the early 2000's,[6] incorporating corpora from various linguists, whether members of LACITO or not. In 2009, the archive had 200 recordings in 45 languages.[7] In 2014, the (newly renamed) Pangloss collection had 1,400 recordings in 70 languages.[1]:121

As of April 2021, the Pangloss archive contains 4,663 recordings[8] in 176 languages,[9] totalling 780 hours of audio and video recordings.[6]


  1. ^ a b c Michailovsky, Boyd, Martine Mazaudon, Alexis Michaud, Séverine Guillaume, Alexandre François & Evangelia Adamou. 2014. Documenting and researching endangered languages: the Pangloss Collection. Language Documentation & Conservation 8, pp. 119-135.
  2. ^ Jacobson, Michel; Michailovsky, Boyd (2002). The LACITO Archive : its purpose and implementation. Int'l Workshop on Resources and Tools in Field Linguistics. Las Palmas, Canary Is., Spain.
  3. ^ Screen capture of LACITO's archive homepage — 27 February 2001.
  4. ^ a b c Jacobson, Michel; Michailovsky, Boyd; Lowe, John B. (2001). "Linguistic documents synchronizing sound and text". Speech Communication. Special issue: “Speech Annotation and Corpus Tools”. 33: 79–96.
  5. ^ Screen capture of LACITO's archive contents — 22 April 2002.
  6. ^ a b “About us” section of the Pangloss Collection (retrieved 24 April 2021)
  7. ^ Screen capture of LACITO's archive contents — 26 November 2009.
  8. ^ Source: list of all Pangloss resources on the “CoCoON” homepage (retrieved 24 April 2021).
  9. ^ Source: number of language entries in its list of corpora (retrieved 24 April 2021).

External links[edit]