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Irene Appelbaum
University of Montana (Missoula, MT 59801-4494)
Completing Phase I of Making Kutenai Tales Accessible: Searchable Text, Interlinearized Narratives, and Audio Recordings

An annotated edition, in digital and audio form, of nine folktales in the endangered Kutenai language, spoken in the northwestern United States and southeastern British Columbia, Canada.

Kutenai (also Kootenai, Kootenay, Ktunaxa, and Ksanka) is a language isolate spoken in the northwest of the United States and in southeast British Columbia by no more than a handful of fluent speakers. The effort to document Kutenai folktales was begun a century ago by Franz Boas, and his student Alexander Chamberlain, who transcribed 77 such stories, leading to the 1918 publication, Kutenai Tales. This project seeks funding to make nine of these stories accessible as a lasting documentary, cultural, pedagogical, and analytic resource. The goals of this project are: 1) to complete the in-progress creation of searchable text from image files of nine of these stories; 2) to convert a number of these stories into modern Kutenai orthography and spelling, in order to 3) create audio-recordings of these stories, first being read by one of the few remaining fluent and literate native speakers, and then being retold in his own words; 4) to complete an interlinear database with linguistically annotated and glossed versions of these stories; and 5) to perform preliminary analysis on the interlinearized texts to investigate the relation between grammar and discourse structure. The data produced for this project—searchable text files, interlinearized texts, audio-recordings, and metadata spreadsheets—will be archived at the American Philosophical Society Library in Philadelphia.

[Grant products]

Project fields:

Dynamic Language Infrastructure-Documenting Endangered Languages - Fellowships

Research Programs

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

Grant period:
8/1/2018 – 7/31/2019