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Grant number like: FN-50001-06

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Linda A. Cumberland
Trustees of Indiana University (Bloomington, IN 47405-7000)

Dynamic Language Infrastructure-Documenting Endangered Languages - Fellowships
Research Programs

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2006 – 8/31/2007

Assiniboine Texts

This project will transcribe, translate, analyze, and disseminate texts from one of the last fluent speakers of Assiniboine, a Siouan language of the northern Plains. Today there are fewer than one hundred fluent speakers of Assiniboine, all elderly. Recent efforts to document the language include a dictionary and Cumberland's own grammar. However, there are few published texts available. The proposed corpus includes twenty narratives encompassing the experiences of four generations of a single family, from the pre-reservation period to the present, plus shorter narratives, including advice/exhortation, legends, folk tales, and songs. The texts will be presented in printed format and as part of a digital library at the American Indian Studies Research Institute (AISRI) at Indiana University. In addition to transcribing and translating the texts, the project director will provide cultural and historical annotations, to enable users to understand the texts more fully as cultural, historical, and literary documents. The project will substantially increase the body of linguistic data currently available for this severely endangered language, expand the recorded lexicon, and allow enhancement of the grammatical analysis. It will provide a more complete view of the Assiniboine that illuminates contrasts with other Plains tribes; it will permit an improved analysis of Assiniboine in particular and Siouan languages in general; it will promote further refinement of the Indiana Dictionary Database and its Annotated Text Processor; and it will return to the Assiniboine people an extraordinary account of their own history and traditions. (Edited by staff)