Dynamic Language Infrastructure - Documenting Endangered Languages Fellowships

Division of Research Programs

Grant Snapshot

Maximum award amount

$60,000 ($5,000 per month)

Funding Opportunity for


Expected output

Archival Documentation;
Book Section;
Digital Resource or Publication;
Grammar Book;
Language Learning Resource

Period of performance

Six to twelve months, full-time equivalent

Application available

Optional draft due


Expected notification date

Project start date


Updated guidelines will be posted in advance of the next deadline, which is September 11, 2024 . In the meantime, please use the guidelines below to get a sense of what is involved in assembling an application.

NEH and NSF logos

The Dynamic Language Infrastructure – Documenting Endangered Languages (DLI-DEL) Fellowships are offered as part of a joint, multi-year funding program of NEH and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop and advance scientific and scholarly knowledge concerning endangered human languages.

Addressing the imminent loss of linguistic knowledge is a major concern and a priority for both agencies. The broad range of human languages are vital for understanding human behavior and cognition, but roughly half of the world's seven thousand languages are endangered and at risk of extinction. These endangered languages constitute an irreplaceable resource, not only for the communities who speak them, but also for scientists and scholars.

DLI-DEL Fellowships support individuals who are junior or senior linguists, linguistic anthropologists, and sociolinguists to conduct research on one or more endangered or moribund languages. DLI-DEL Fellowships prioritize scholarly analysis and publication, including but not limited to lexicons, grammars, databases, peer-reviewed articles, and monographs. Awards also support fieldwork and other activities relevant to digital recording, documenting, and sustainable archiving of endangered languages.

For projects involving collaborating scholars affiliated with an eligible institution, project directors should consider applying for a Senior Research Grant through the DLI-DEL program offered by NSF in collaboration with NEH’s Division of Preservation & Access.
What’s New for 2023  

  • DLI-DEL Fellowships program supports individuals who work between half time and full time on their projects. You may combine part- and full-time work, but you must work at least half time (50%), and you can split your term into two separate active periods. The active periods must be at least three months each.
  • If you work full time on your project, you must forgo teaching and other major activities. 
  • If you combine a part-time award with teaching or another job, you must carry a reduced class load, or work load, during the period of performance. Awards will be reduced to reflect the smaller time commitment when you work part time or for fewer than the equivalent of 12 full-time months on the NEH project. 
  • The length of attachments for resume, samples, speaker community support, data management, and archive support is now suggested instead of mandatory.

2023 Pre-Recorded NEH DLI-DEL Fellowships Webinar

A free online information session was pre-recorded on June 6, 2023 and posted online on July 7, 2023. The recording is provided below. The webinar introduces the program, describes the application process and eligibility criteria, and offers application writing suggestions. It consists of a 60-minute presentation, and you can download the slides here.

Feel free to schedule a 30-minute meeting with staff to chat about your project, answer your questions, and discuss suitable NEH programs you can apply for. 

Interested applicants are welcome to join weekly Open Q&A meetings for DEL and other Research Programs, held every Tuesday from 3:00 pm-4:00 pm Eastern Time.

Step 1 Review your application package

Read the Notice of Funding Opportunity and study the application to ensure you understand all the expectations and restrictions for projects delivered under this grant and are prepared to write the most effective application.

Application Materials

Dynamic Language Infrastructure -- Documenting Endangered Languages Fellowships Notice of Funding Opportunity, 2023-2024 (PDF)

Dynamic Language Infrastructure -- Documenting Endangered Languages Fellowships Grants.gov application package

Program Resources

Dynamic Language Infrastructure  Frequently Asked Questions, 2023-2024 (PDF)

Recently-funded Documenting Endangered Languages Fellowships

Samples Application Narratives

The narrative samples below should not serve as models but should give you a sense of how you might craft a successful application. Note that these applications may not follow the current guidelines. Follow the requirements in the current Notice of Funding Opportunity to ensure that your application is complete and eligible.

Narrative Sample: Turning Phrases: Exploring Expressive Potential in Morpheme Combinations of Nuwä Abigip (PDF)

Narrative Sample: Conversations of the Meskwaki People: Today’s Voices Recorded and Published with Audio (PDF)

Narrative Sample: Coeur d'Alene (cda) Narratives Project (PDF)

Step 2 Register for an account on Grants.gov

When you are ready to apply, register for a Grants.gov account. If you already have registered, make sure the account is current. After registering, you must add an “individual applicant” profile. Click on the “My Account” link, then on “Manage Profiles” and “Add Profile.” Refer to Grants.gov’s instructions for adding a profile.

Step 3 Complete your application package

Follow the instructions outlined in the Notice of Funding Opportunity and the Grants.gov instructions.

Step 4 Submit your application package on Grants.gov

You will receive a confirmation from Grants.gov when you’ve successfully submitted your application. Subsequently, you will receive up to five more notices confirming different stages in the application process. Verify that you have received all confirmations. Note that email filters may send these messages to your spam or junk folder. 

Program Statistics

In the past three years, this program received
43 applications
This grant has a
32.55% funding ratio
NEH made
14 awards in the last three years