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Grant number like: FN-50002-06

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Jeffrey E. Davis
University of Tennessee, Knoxville (Knoxville, TN 37916-3801)

Dynamic Language Infrastructure-Documenting Endangered Languages - Fellowships
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
6/1/2006 – 12/31/2007

Preservation of Plains Indian Sign Language: Developing a Digital Archive at the Smithsonian

Plains Indian Sign Language is used within the Plains cultural and linguistic groups of the USA and in Canada. Sign language has been documented at every level of social interaction within most Native American groups and as a widespread medium of communication between members from distinct language groups. The focus of the proposal is documentation of sign language among Indians from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, carried out in large part by some of the first ethnologists and anthropologists connected with the Smithsonian Institution. The best known documentation is found at the Smithsonian's National Anthropological Archives. The goals are to develop an online digital language archive from the 1870s illustrations and 1930s films; create annotations, translations, and captions to accompany the materials; generate additional annotations for the Smithsonian's online catalog; and make it possible to add to the linguistic corpus as more documentation is digitized. The proposal is endorsed by the Smithsonian, which will provide work space for the applicant, and supported by the University of Tennessee, which will also host the digital archive. (Edited by staff)