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PD-266988-19

University of Alaska, Fairbanks (Fairbanks, AK 99775-7500)
Anna Mary Sophia Berge (Project Director: November 2018 to present)
Language Documentation, Description, and Maintenance Activities for Sugpiaq (ISO 639-3) in Nanwalek

Documentation and description of Sugpiaq, a highly endangered Yupik language spoken on the Alaska Peninsula, Kodiak Island, and the Kenai Peninsula. The project would result in documentation of the language and would include collaboration with local teachers in the creation of language-learning materials.

Sugpiaq (ems) is a highly endangered Yupik language (of the Eskimo-Aleut language family) traditionally spoken on the Alaska Peninsula, Kodiak Island, and on the Kenai Peninsula in the lower Cook Inlet region. It consists of several distinct dialects, including Alaska Peninsula Alutiiq, Kodiak Alutiik, Kenai Sugpiaq, and Chugach.  While documentation of its closest relative -- Central Alaskan Yup'ik -- has been comparatively extensive, little systematic work has been done on Sugpiaq, and many assumptions about the language are based on our understanding of its relative, Central Alaskan Yu’pik. While there has been some documentation of Sugpiaq, it is unpublished, and as a result, study of Sugpiaq is disadvantaged in a number of important ways, including the community's ability to maintain or revitalize the language. This project addresses these problems in the following ways: two summers of fieldwork will focus on the documentation of Sugpiaq syntax. The results of fieldwork will inform: a) a description of syntactic aspects of contemporary spoken Sugpiaq, b) an investigation of prehistoric contact between the Sugpiat and the Unangan (a.k.a. Aleut) and Athabaskan-Eyak-Tlingit language groups, and c) a collaboration with local language teachers in the production of language learning materials for the language maintenance and revitalization programs. The latter involves regular discussions on methods of adapting the results of fieldwork to language lessons and training in elicitation techniques to expand these lessons.

Project fields:

Program:
Documenting Endangered Languages - Preservation

Division:
Preservation and Access

Totals:
$284,428 (approved)
$284,428 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2019 – 6/30/2021