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FN-271111-20

Clarissa Forbes
University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ 85721-0001)
Documentation and speech corpus development for Gitksan [git]

Translation and annotation of audio recordings for a community- and scholar-accessible online repository of the Native American Gitksan language spoken in Alaska and British Columbia.

Gitksan is the traditional language of the Gitxsan people of Alaska and the northern interior of British Columbia. It is the easternmost member of the Tsimshianic family and highly endangered, with an estimated 300-500 native speakers in their late 50s, at the youngest. Language shift toward English is well underway, in large part due to the effects of the Canadian residential school policy of the 20th century, making the need for language documentation increasingly urgent. Essentially, all documentary work on Gitksan has been conducted in the last 40 years; existing resources include an unpublished grammar, a few short lessons and stories, and several wordlists and phrasebooks of varying levels of detail. There are many areas yet undocumented.
The project's primary goal is the development of a online text repository with several functions:
1) a community-accessible body of narratives and conversations,
2) a base of sample sentences for an existing community-accessible online dictionary in active
development at the University of British Columbia, and
3) a corpus for linguists working on Gitksan to view long-form narrative or conversational data. (Edited by staff)

Project fields:

Program:
Dynamic Language Infrastructure-Documenting Endangered Languages - Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2020 – 9/30/2021