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Grant number like: FN-50060-09

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Connie Dickinson
University of Oregon (Eugene, OR 97403-5219)

Dynamic Language Infrastructure-Documenting Endangered Languages - Fellowships
Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2009 – 5/31/2010

Distribution, Archiving, and Completion of Tsafiki Documentation Materials

The fellowship will complete the final stage of a five-year project to document Tsafiki, the language of an indigenous group--the Tsachila--who live in seven communes near the city of Santo Domingo de los Colorados in Ecuador's western Andean lowlands. Knowledge of the language, spoken only by some 2,000 people, is threatened by the incursions of the dominant Spanish-speaking culture. The dominance of television and radio programming in Spanish, departures from the Tsachila enclaves for employment reasons, increasing intermarriage with the wider population, and Spanish language instruction in schools have resulted in the narrowing of Tsafiki language use to addressing elders within the community. The project has four interrelated goals: 1) web-based distribution of an electronic lexical database of approximately 10,000 words with standard dictionary information (e.g., definitions in Tsafiki, Spanish, and English; examples with translations; pronunciation guides; and grammatical category information), encyclopedic information, pictures, and sound files, 2) completion of the archiving of some 200 hours of translated and transcribed video and audio files in the Netherlands and at the University of Texas at Austin, 3) completion of a comprehensive, descriptive grammar of Tsafiki, and 4) completion of a manuscript describing verbal classification systems in Tsafiki, to be published by Brill. Upon the project's completion, Tsafiki will be one of the few endangered South American languages to be thoroughly documented. (Edited by staff)