Preservation and Access: Documenting Endangered Languages - Preservation

Period of Performance

7/1/2014 - 12/31/2016

Funding Totals

$172,290.00 (approved)
$169,462.48 (awarded)

Arapaho Lexical Database and Dictionary

FAIN: PD-50033-14

Regents of the University of Colorado, Boulder (Boulder, CO 80303-1058)
Andrew Cowell (Project Director: December 2013 to April 2017)

Documentation of the Arapaho language, an endangered language of the Algonquian family that was originally spoken on the Great Plains of the United States. The project would produce a lexical database and a bilingual dictionary in print and electronic formats.

This proposal is for an Arapaho language documentation project that will also involve infrastructure development and development and application of computational methods. The overall goal is to build a lexical database of Arapaho and produce a bilingual dictionary. The project will involve usage-based lexicographical approaches, possible thanks to the existence of a corpus of 55,000+ lines of natural discourse in Arapaho, all transcribed, translated, and annotated, with most of the material already deposited at the Endangered Language Archive Repository, University of London. This natural discourse corpus, along with additional field research, will be the basis of the usage-based lexical database, fully documenting the lexicon. A lexical glossary and an associated text database will be developed which will include both complete part-of-speech labeling and also syntactic parsing information. Lexicographical tools within the program Sketch Engine, plus some additional computational work, will allow for usage-based study of word frequency, various meanings, common collocations, and syntactic relationships. This information will then be used to create full-word definitions and other usage information, and supplemented by field elicitation and manuscript/archive investigation.