Saturday, August 22, 2009

IPY grant receives supplement

The IPY Documenting Alaskan and Neighboring Languages project has received supplemental funding from the National Science Foundation. Under the leadership of PI Michael Krauss, the additional funding will support two new documentation efforts.

The first part of the project will digitize, process and publish Siberian Yupik texts collected in 1940-1941 by Rubstova and kept in manuscript form in the archives of Institute for Linguistic Research, Russian Academy of Sciences, in St. Petersburg. The texts give priceless data on the now extinct dialectal differences unparalleled in the published materials. The project will help return to the Yupik communities of both Chukotka and Alaska part of the heritage of their ancestors, and will contribute to language preservation and revival.

The second part of the project will transcribe and translate recordings made with the last speakers of Alaskan Sami. In 1980 Pekka Sammallahti, of University of Oulu, Finland, taped interviews in Sami with the last two Alaskan speakers of that language: Mary Barr of Unalakleet, born in Alaska; and Clement Sara of Bethel. These interviews contain not only the only recordings we have of Alaskan Sami speech, but important accounts of that colorful chapter in Alaskan history.

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