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Grant number like: PD-50013-10

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University of Wisconsin System (Madison, WI 53715-1218)
Monica Ann Macaulay (Project Director: January 2010 to September 2014)

Documenting Endangered Languages - Preservation
Preservation and Access

$375,000 (approved)
$374,993 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2010 – 5/31/2014

Potawatomi Language Documentation, Lexical Database, and Dictionary

The documentation and preservation of the Potawatomi language, an endangered Algonquian language spoken in the Midwestern United States, through preparation of a database of lexical materials and an online and hardcopy bilingual dictionary.

Potawatomi, also known as Neshnabémwen, is a critically endangered Algonquian language spoken primarily in the Midwestern United States. At the height of Potawatomi's historical influence and geographical spread in the late 18th century, there were as many as 10,000 speakers in villages surrounding Lake Michigan. Estimates are that 15 or fewer fluent native speakers of this language remain, all in their 70s and 80s. The goals of the project are the documentation and preservation of the language through the compilation of a database of lexical materials from which a bilingual dictionary will be published in both hardcopy and electronic format. The project draws upon a wide variety of written and recorded language documentation that has been collected by missionaries, speakers, students, and scholars over the years and would make these existing materials more generally available, supplementing them with newly collected linguistic data, consolidating them into a database, and producing a dictionary for the first time. A collaborative effort between community language speakers and linguists, the project would benefit Potawatomi language teachers and learners as well as linguists, especially those interested in comparative and historical Algonquian. The project builds upon a previously funded NSF project to document the related Menominee language.