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.
Dr. David J. Costa is the Program Director for the Language Research Office. He has been studying the Miami-Illinois language since 1988, and has worked extensively with the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma on language revitalization since 1995.