Digital Resources for Blackfoot Language Documentation and Revitalization: Canadian Studies Colloquium

Colloquium | April 18 | 2-3:30 p.m. | 109 Moses Hall

 Prof. Inge Genee, Associate Professor of Linguistics, University of Lethbridge

 Canadian Studies Program (CAN))

Blackfoot is an endangered Algonquian language spoken by several thousand people in Southern Alberta and Northern Montana. Most fluent speakers are now elderly and, with very few exceptions, young people no longer learn the language as a mother tongue in the home. Many community members learn some Blackfoot as a second language in school, but this does not usually produce fluent speakers. As in many other Indigenous communities across North America, awareness of this precarious situation has grown in recent years, and efforts are underway to turn the decline around. In this presentation a collaborative project under way at the University of Lethbridge to create digital resources in support of Blackfoot language documentation and revitalization work will be introduced. A central element of this project is a digital dictionary. By back-digitizing an existing dictionary we have created a lexical database that is much easier to use than the print version. In collaboration with Blackfoot speakers, learners and teachers we have designed a user- friendly interface and are adding additional elements such as images, audio and video as well as relevant cultural information. The Blackfoot resources are part of the larger Algonquian Linguistic Atlas project, which develops integrated web resources to support documentation, revitalization and investigation of Algonquian languages