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Grant number like: PD-250040-16

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University of North Texas (Denton, TX 76203-5017)
Timothy R. Montler (Project Director: September 2015 to September 2021)

Documenting Endangered Languages - Preservation
Preservation and Access

[Grant products]

$300,000 (approved)
$299,942 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2016 – 12/31/2019

Saanich (str-saa) Texts and Grammar

The preparation of resources for Saanich, a severely endangered Salishan language now spoken by only a few elders living on southern Vancouver Island in British Columbia.  The project would produce the transcription, translation, and analysis of a set of texts and a comprehensive reference grammar for Saanich.

(edited by staff) Saanich is a severely endangered native North American language of the Salishan language family, one that is now spoken as a first language by only a few elders living on southern Vancouver Island in British Columbia.  During recent work on a dictionary, the project director acquired a set of recordings from the early 1970s of a well-known elder storyteller relating traditional tales, legends, community history, personal history, information about place names, descriptions of hunting and fishing techniques, and some short conversations, all in Saanich. The project proposed here would produce a set of completely analyzed texts from the recordings, forming the basis of a Saanich reference grammar. The project director would work with an award-winning poet, Philip Kevin Paul, grand-nephew of the Saanich elder who made the recordings, to provide a literary and cultural interpretation of the texts that goes beyond simple translation. The material produced by this project would make the traditional knowledge of Saanich elders and technical understanding of the Saanich language available to the Saanich people and to students and scholars of linguistics. It is urgent that this work be done now while there are still native speakers alive and willing to help preserve this important part of their common heritage. Aware of the importance of long-term data preservation, the project director would, as he has since 1978, deposit all of his data, recordings, and field notes in the Pacific Northwest Collection at the University of Washington Libraries.