Language Research

The mission of the Language Research Office is to continue to further our level of knowledge of the Miami-Illinois language. The research undertaken by this office will supplement the cultural and educational initiatives of the Myaamia Center, as well as feed directly into the language and cultural programs undertaken by the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. Some of the specific educational projects to be undertaken by the Language Research Office include development of an online learner’s dictionary and teaching grammar of the Myaamia language. Additional results of the Language Research Office’s research will be made available to the tribal and general public on the Myaamia Center website.

Moreover, the Language Research Office will also make the findings of its research accessible to the linguistic community, specifically to the field of Algonquian studies. This research will be made available by continued print publications pertaining to aspects of the grammar of the Miami-Illinois language, as well as public presentations at the annual Algonquian Conference.

The current linguistic research goals of the Language Research Office include a database of the LeBoullenger Illinois dictionary, ongoing study of the word order, syntax and morphology of Miami-Illinois, and a full annotated collection of all native texts in the Miami-Illinois language. Longer-term projects include full grammatical analysis and comparative annotation of the data in the LeBoullenger dictionary, and possible inclusion of data from the other Illinois dictionaries. Also envisioned is a digitization of later sources on the Miami-Illinois language, such as the materials of Trowbridge, Gatschet, Dunn and Michelson, with an eye toward making analyzed versions of this data available online.

A long-range project of the Language Research Office will be a comprehensive, annotated dictionary of the Miami-Illinois, including data from all sources and time periods, with comparative documentation placing the language within its context in the larger Algonquian family.

Finally, the Language Research Office will make itself available to help or train any members of the Myaamia community who wish to learn the language more extensively, or who wish to learn to do their own linguistic study of Miami-Illinois.

 

Research & Development

Miami-Illinois Digital Archive (MIDA): a primary responsibility of the Language Research Office is updating and maintaining the data in MIDA. Currently the entire eighteenth-century LeBoullenger French-Illinois manuscript dictionary is uploaded into MIDA; the Language Research Office is engaged in analyzing this data, with the other Illinois dictionaries expected to be added in the next few years. The ultimate goal of the Office is to enter the entire corpus of the Miami-Illinois language into this database, including the extensive manuscript sources from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with complete linguistic analysis and annotation. The purpose of this project is to make this vast amount of raw data maximally useful for both the Center’s language programs and linguistic research. The project of analyzing all the data in the original manuscripts as they are uploaded into MIDA is expected to continue for several years to come.

Grammatical research of Miami-Illinois: The Language Research Office is also continuing its ongoing linguistic study of Miami-Illinois. This especially includes continued research into the word order, syntax and morphology of Miami-Illinois, as well as the completion of a full annotated collection of all native texts in the Miami-Illinois language from the nineteenth- and twentieth-century manuscript collections.

Office Staff

Dr. David J. Costa, Director

Carole Katz, Language Document Transcriptionist

 

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