Event Title

Utilizing Archival Language Records for the Benefit of the O'odham Community and Linguistic Scholarship

Start Date

8-11-2017 1:30 PM

End Date

8-11-2017 5:30 PM

Description

During the early 1900s, a number of oral narratives were collected from speakers of Tohono O'odham, a language spoken across the US-Mexico border throughout the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and Mexico. Some of the narratives include personal descriptions of war and desert life in the 1800s and have either never been transcribed or are lacking complete translations; they exist only in wax-cylinder or hand-written forms. Given that O'odham is an endangered language, these documents carry both significant cultural and scholarly value. This presentation addresses how these materials are being developed to serve both community and scholarly interests. Ongoing efforts are being made to transcribe, type, translate and provide linguistic glosses of the narratives in collaboration with native speakers of O'odham. The final products will be in O'odham, English, and Spanish making them accessible to the O'odham communities on both sides of the US-Mexico border. O’odham educators and other tribal members have expressed the importance of creating O’odham curriculum based on their culture given that cultural knowledge is being lost along with the language. The desired goal for these improved archival records is that they be used to create educational materials serving as authentic examples of O’odham language, literature, and oral history. Finally, the narratives will be used for an examination of grammatical change in O'odham over the last 90-100 years, during which time intense pressures have been placed on the O'odham community to assimilate and adopt English, particularly in Arizona. Because historical data from Native American communities are extremely limited, difficult to access, and challenging to work with, very few studies have provided an in-depth comparative analysis of language change across time in indigenous languages. This study will contribute to our understanding of how endangered languages, in particular, may change over time.

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Nov 8th, 1:30 PM Nov 8th, 5:30 PM

Utilizing Archival Language Records for the Benefit of the O'odham Community and Linguistic Scholarship

During the early 1900s, a number of oral narratives were collected from speakers of Tohono O'odham, a language spoken across the US-Mexico border throughout the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and Mexico. Some of the narratives include personal descriptions of war and desert life in the 1800s and have either never been transcribed or are lacking complete translations; they exist only in wax-cylinder or hand-written forms. Given that O'odham is an endangered language, these documents carry both significant cultural and scholarly value. This presentation addresses how these materials are being developed to serve both community and scholarly interests. Ongoing efforts are being made to transcribe, type, translate and provide linguistic glosses of the narratives in collaboration with native speakers of O'odham. The final products will be in O'odham, English, and Spanish making them accessible to the O'odham communities on both sides of the US-Mexico border. O’odham educators and other tribal members have expressed the importance of creating O’odham curriculum based on their culture given that cultural knowledge is being lost along with the language. The desired goal for these improved archival records is that they be used to create educational materials serving as authentic examples of O’odham language, literature, and oral history. Finally, the narratives will be used for an examination of grammatical change in O'odham over the last 90-100 years, during which time intense pressures have been placed on the O'odham community to assimilate and adopt English, particularly in Arizona. Because historical data from Native American communities are extremely limited, difficult to access, and challenging to work with, very few studies have provided an in-depth comparative analysis of language change across time in indigenous languages. This study will contribute to our understanding of how endangered languages, in particular, may change over time.