Grant: $449,852 - National Science Foundation - Aug. 20, 2009
100% voted satisfied - 0% voted not satisfied - 1 vote(s) cast
Award Description: 'This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).' What Tlingit conversations do birth speakers of Tlingit use to carry on their daily lives? What record of daily functional language will learners and scientists look to in the future? The Tlingit language is a branch of the Na-Dene language family indigenous to Southeast Alaska, the interior of British Columbia and Yukon Territory, Canada. Of the 45 languages in the Nuclear Na-Dene language family, there are two branches; Tlingit is one; all the others arise from the other branch. There are approximately 200 Tlingit birth-speakers, most in their 70s and older. During the last two years, this group has suffered a 13% mortality rate, a rate which will accelerate since the population of birth-speakers is aging. Recordings of Tlingit common, everyday conversation are scant but crucially important for language documentation; everyday conversation is the means of functional communication. We need a record of conversation for analysis, learning, and preservation. With support from the National Science Foundation, Drs. Alice Taff, Richard L. Dauenhauer and the project team of Tlingit faculty and students at the University of Alaska Southeast will produce a video record of spontaneous Tlingit conversation with bilingual, time-aligned annotations, and make the results available to scientists and the language learning community. A second result will be increased Tlingit language and literacy skills, knowledge of linguistic concepts, and experience in language documentation and archiving for members of the Tlingit language community, highly active in its language revitalization efforts. To make recordings, birth speakers will be videoed talking in groups of two or more while carrying out common daily activities. Then teams of birth-speakers and students will transcribe the conversations in Tlingit and broadly translate them into English. The videos will be post-produced as QuickTime subtitled movies for use by the regional and international Tlingit language-learning community. The team will catalogue the recordings with their transcription/translations and archive them for discovery and access for scientific analysis. Community and scientific collaboration will inform the project at all stages of work so that as many different people, dialects, topics of interest, and grammatical forms as possible are documented. Advances in information technology will be exploited in all phases of the project.
Project Description: See Award Description. Current Activities: We have recorded 2.1 hours of conversation to date (actually 2.8 hours has been recorded but we have concluded that one recording does not fit within the parameters set for this project) and translation/transcription is progressing on each of the recordings. In order to improve the quality of the project videorecordings, we have organized with Sealaska Heritage Institute, a workshop, 'Language Documentation Videography', to be held on Nov. 9-11, 2009. Project personnel will attend to improve their own skills and to recruit additional project workers amongst the other participants.
Jobs Summary: PI Dauenhauer is ultimately responsible for the project, supervising Taff. He advises all aspects of the work, reviews, and signs off on the required reports. PI Dauenhauer develops UAS courses to teach translation/transcription philosophy, approaches, and methods, regularly monitors student translation/transcription work to correct patterns of error, and performs final proof reading for translation/transcriptions generated by the project. CoPI Taff reports directly to Dauenhauer. Taff: * directs the day-to-day project activities and personnel * designs, implements, and tracks workflow * manages the budget * selects equipment, supplies, and materials for purchase * sees that team members are hired and paid * travel to outlying villages to record and t/t * develops travel schedules for self and other team members * make audio/video recordings and trains others to do so * teaches ELAN electronic transcription/translation process * designs and maintains spreadsheet to document metadata and workflow * teaches best practices in metadata documentation * formats, edits, duplicates, and disseminates media to project teams and language community members * tends and tracks hard drive, tape, CD, and DVD versions of the data and metadata * communicates with the language community and larger communities about the status of the project * makes agreements with repositories and archives materials * write project reports * oversees project website. The Research Assistant (RA) arranges recordings sessions, video-records conversations, and does most of the transcription annotation (in Tlingit). An RA was hired over the summer but because we were not certain of our funding, only receiving word of the award on Sept 22, 2009, two weeks ago, we were directed to spend minimally so the RA did not work to capacity. The Research Assistant is now back at his FT academic year job as an elementary teacher. We will be hiring Research Assistants throughout the region for the remainder of this academic year but it will be difficult to find people who are competent writers of Tlingit. Note that, to address this need, Dauenhauer is teaching a beginning Tlingit spelling class at UAS this fall which has 11 registered students and frequent visitors. Advanced Tlingit spelling will be offered next semester. Speakers, fluent Tlingits who are willing to record, serve as ?talent? for videorecording sessions, then help translate and transcribe the recordings. Translator/transcribers (t/ters) are learning to translate and to transcribe. Their annotations will require the most correction. Their learning curve is steep and their work is carefully monitored by Dauenhauer. Some of the t/ters are UAS students, others are language community members who are not taking classes. T/ters, working with fluent speakers, will do most of the translation annotation (in English). When useful they assist in engaging speakers, setting up recording sessions and equipment, and making recordings. Taff is in the process of hiring student assistants t/ters. (Total jobs reported: 0)
Project Status: Less Than 50% Completed
This award's data was last updated on Aug. 20, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.