compilation of a comprehensive online dictionary of Saanich, a dialect of Northern Straits Salish spoken in Vancouver Island, British Columbia, together with a digital audio collection of transcribed and translated speech. The dictionary would also be available in print format.
Saanich is the most vital dialect of Northern Straits, a severely endangered and under-documented Salishan language of North America. Although there is great interest among the Saanich people in preserving the language and a growing number of speakers of Saanich as a second language, Saanich is today spoken fluently as a first language by only a small number of elders living on southern Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. I have investigated Salishan linguistics for over 30 years focusing primarily on the languages and dialects of the Straits-sub group. From 1980 to 1991, I conducted field work and published on the Saanich dialect. In 1992, I was asked by the Klallam people to help in their efforts to preserve and revitalize their language. For the past 20 years I have helped them develop language documentation and revitalization material and have just completed a large, comprehensive dictionary of the Klallam language that will be published in 2012. I have now returned to focus on Saanich with the intent of producing a dictionary similar to and exceeding the breadth and depth of the recently finished Klallam dictionary. The primary aim of this project is the production of such a dictionary together with a digital audio collection of transcribed and translated speech. The dictionary database will be built so as to be easily formatted for both print and on-line versions. It will be designed to be both accessible to Saanich language learners and useful to scholars of language and culture. The secondary aim of this project is the linguistic training of a group of Saanich tribal members for their efforts in the preservation and revitalization of their language.