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The Language Materials Project

The UCLA Language Materials Project (LMP) is an on-line bibliographic database of teaching and learning materials for over 150 Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTLs). Funded by the US Department of Education's International Education and Research program, the LMP was created in 1992. It is affiliated with the UCLA Center for World Languages. Both groups are members of the UCLA International Institute.

  • What this site offers
  • Contacting Us
  • How we select materials
  • Intellectual Property
  • Disclaimers
  • Publishers and distributors
  • Funding
  • Project history
  • People
  • Institutional Affiliations
  • Consulting

     

    What this site offers

    Bibliographic Database of Teaching Materials:

    We provide full bibliographic information for each item in the database, including detailed annotations that describe the content and other features of the material, intended to help you find the most appropriate materials to meet your individual teaching and learning needs. When possible, we provide information on how to order materials. The LMP does not sell the materials found in the database. Please locate them from a bookseller or library.

    Language Portals:

    Each language portal contains information specific to a language on the LMP website, including links to the LMP citations for the language, links to relevant external websites, and a language profile. The profile provides a map, a description of key dialects, grammatical features, and a brief linguistic history.

    K-12 Gateway:

    Find communicative lesson plans and tools, information on foreign language frameworks and standards, and links to US resources for K-12 foreign language teachers.

    Materials Reports:

    These reports provide a summary of the types of teaching materials cited for each language in our database and can be used to assess the availability of teaching materials for the languages we cover.

    Authentic Materials:

    The LMP database includes sources of Authentic Materials. The Authentic Materials page of this website provides more information about the materials, and a guide to their use in the classroom.

    CARLA Institutional Database:

    We have collaborated with the University of Minnesota's LCTL project to link to their database of institutions that offer less commonly taught languages. This database represents over 2,000 North American institutions.

    CAL Database:

    We have collaborated with the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington, DC and host their database of Teaching Materials for the less commonly taught languages on the LMP site.


    About the Language Materials Project

    Project History

    In 1992, UCLA Professor of Political Science professor Michael Lofchie initiated the LMP bibliography in response to a request from the Defense Academic Research Support Program. At the time, the first Gulf War had raised awareness of the national need for expertise in less commonly taught languages. Professor (now Emeritus) of Linguistics Thomas Hinnebusch, originally the language consultant to the project, became its academic director in 2001.

    The languages on which LMP focuses are not rare in the world – in fact, over 1 million native speakers speak each of the languages featured in its online bibliography. However, these languages are not commonly offered in U.S. colleges and universities, and almost never in primary or secondary schools. Teachers of these languages may have less experience, fewer colleagues and associations for support, as well as limited teaching materials.

    Initially, the Project distributed its bibliography to subscribers via CD-ROM. Eventually, a server was established under Dr. Lofchie’s desk that permitted simultaneous access by three online users – except for those nights when the custodian turned off the computer to save electricity!

    Since 2002, the LMP has published its bibliography on a website, an online database with modern search capabilities. Under a series of grants from the U.S. Department of Education, we have added new languages, along with authoritative language profiles and maps, plus a completely new portal for K-12 language teachers.

    People

    Professor Emeritus Thomas Hinnebusch has been with the Project since its inception and directed it since 2001. A specialist in Bantu languages, he taught Swahili at UCLA for 32 years. He lived for three years in Tanzania, and has also done research in Kenya, Ruanda, Swaziland, and the Comoro Islands. In 2007 he received the Walton Award of the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages for his noteworthy contributions to the field. Besides gardening, birding, and hiking, his current activities include a project to document endangered Swahili coastal dialects, and a project to develop a citation dictionary of Swahili classical poetry

    Linguist Barbara Blankenship coordinates research and content creation for the LMP website. A former opera singer who became smitten with languages, she retired from the stage to grad school, earning a Ph.D. in acoustic phonetics from the UCLA Linguistics Department.  She was co-principal investigator of a project funded by the National Science Foundation, to digitize rare fieldwork tape recordings of endangered languages and offer them online through the UCLA Library Digital Collections. Earlier she worked as a programmer and database designer, and more recently as a language specialist at Language Weaver, a company that creates automated translation software for unusual languages.

    Researcher Arturo Díaz maintains contact with academic and professional developers of language teaching resources in order to cite new materials for the bibliography. A language enthusiast and writer, he works at the UCLA Center for World Languages as a program assistant providing support for community programs targeting heritage speakers of various language groups in Los Angeles. He also works in the UCLA Smart Grid Energy Research Center, providing technical writing support for research aimed at developing innovative and sustainable technologies for the next generation smart grid.  In his spare time, he enjoys playing guitar and piano, drawing, studying languages, and cooking.

    Institutional Affiliations

    UCLA, which offers instruction in over 40 world languages, is the ideal home for Language Materials Project (LMP). The project is part of the UCLA Center for World Languages (CWL), one of the many programs of the UCLA International Institute. LMP’s website is maintained by the IT staff of the International Institute and hosted by UCLA’s Social Sciences Computing.

    The magnificent UCLA Charles E. Young Research Library provides the LMP with books to review, either directly or via interlibrary loan from other libraries across the country. (We rely on the WorldCat union catalogue of U.S. libraries and its national interlibrary loan system.)

    Our staff draws on the experience of professors in UCLA’s many foreign language departments and on the pedagogical expertise of the UCLA Center for World Languages and the UCLA Language Alliance. LMP also works with consultants from the UCLA Department of Applied Linguistics and the Cal State Long Beach program in foreign language pedagogy to create the pedagogical portions of our website.

    The Language Materials Project maintains close ties with the federally funded National Foreign Language Resource Centers in the United States, as well as the major commercial publishers in the field, who send us their new publications for inclusion in the LMP bibliography.

    LangScape at the University of Maryland partners with the LMP to provide content for their geographical information system on languages.

    National Advisory Committee

    Our National Advisory Committee comprises recognized experts in foreign language pedagogy across the country. Their role is to evaluate, monitor, and validate the LMP's scope and research methodology. The Committee members are:

    The LMP is funded by the US Department of Education, Title VI International Research and Studies Program (Program Officer: Tanyelle Richardson.) Support for work on Italian materials was initially provided through a grant from the National Italian American Foundation. Support for work on Authentic Materials was initially provided through a grant from the US Department of Education, Title VI Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information Access Program (Program Officer: Susanna Easton).

    Consulting

    The Language Materials Project staff is available to consult on language demography, usage and pedagogy, and to assist our website users in locating learning resources. We regularly answer language questions from the public; for example, we frequently handle appeals for speakers of unusual languages for court cases, medical situations and movies.

    Since 2010, we have advised Kaiser-Permanente’s program on Culturally Competent Care to identify the less commonly taught languages spoken by their immigrant patients and determine the best ways to meet their needs.

    LMP has also advised Google on the selection of languages for its special Endangered Languages website.