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Grant number like: PD-271355-20

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Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (Choctaw, MS 39350-4224)
De Laura Saunders (Project Director: December 2019 to present)

Documenting Endangered Languages - Preservation
Preservation and Access

$393,363 (approved)
$387,258 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2020 – 5/31/2024

Mississippi Choctaw Dictionary and Comparison of Community Dialects

The documentation of Choctaw, a Western Muskogean language spoken primarily in east-central Mississippi by approximately 6,000 people and in southeast Oklahoma by fewer than 500 people. The applicant would produce a dictionary in print and electronic formats, as well as a collection of recorded interviews of speakers representing different generations and community dialects that would be partially transcribed/translated. All materials would be archived in the MCBI tribal archives and at the American Philosophical Society.

This project will document modern Choctaw in eight communities on the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (MBCI) reservation, in order to publish a Mississippi Choctaw dictionary, and to increase the collection of Choctaw texts from Mississippi. The project has two language documentation objectives: 1) To create a new dictionary of Choctaw in print and electronic formats, by checking approximately 5,000 Choctaw dictionary entries with highly fluent community members and having them audio record each word and a sample sentence. 2) To audio- and video record 32 hours of conversational interviews between Choctaw speakers in eight MBCI communities. Sixteen hours of the recordings will be selected for transcription/translation in the modern Choctaw orthography. The compilation of video and audio recordings and text transcriptions/translations collected for the project will be archived in two locations at the end of each project year: the tribal archives of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians at the Chahta Immi Cultural Center in Choctaw, Mississippi, and the American Philosophical Society (APS) in Philadelphia.