This talking dictionary is intended to include and empower our L2 Tuscarora language students by giving them a voice on a digital platform that represents the Tuscarora language as it exists today. This talking dictionary will include audio clips of members of our language program and students of the language on a digital platform to ensure accessibility and ease anxieties that come with trying to pronounce a sometimes impenetrable orthography.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Describe the specific community with whom you will be working.
The Tuscarora language has fewer than 5 L1 speakers and the majority of the language community are beginning or intermediate L2 speakers; there is no internet or telephone infrastructure available on the reservation. I want to work with them on this project because I have seen the benefits of the engagement in participation with their language, and the problems that come with feeling inadequate because of inaccessible documentation.
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
The main media that will be produced by myself and members of the community would be utterances of Tuscarora words and phrases. Many of these words would be already extant in print form in our dictionary or other documents: however, there are many words and phrases pertinent to our daily lives that have not been recorded or noted, and would be re-discovered or re-forged in collaboration with the elders that we have now.
What technologies and digital tools do you plan to use in the trainings?
Linguistic Corpora (Story Databases)
Describe the connections that you or your organization have already established that will contribute to the success of the project.
Currently, I am in partnership with the Tuscarora Language Revitalization Program (TLRP) on the reservation: we are a collaborative group of teachers, linguists, elders and students of the Tuscarora language who work to create educational materials and engage in various language revitalization practices such as adult language classes, immersion programs and master-apprentice field work sessions.
How many participants do you think will be involved in your project?
Minimally, I could count on the participants of the TLRP– at least 6 or 7 people for contribution to the talking dictionary, but much of the funding provided will be used to hold open meetings to engage and bring in other, perhaps more reticent community members that, that have felt ‘disconnected’ from our language and language program. Realistically, I would hope for at least forty participants contributing new audio on a semi-regular basis.
Besides the microgrant funding, what other resources and support are you seeking for your project to ensure its success?
The engagement of our language project with this funding organization gives us the ability to bring a larger portfolio of language work supported by technology and outside sources that will help us make an argument for both funding for TLRP efforts on our reservation from our tribal government, and urge our government into further consideration for investing in technological infrastructure to help modernize our nation further.
Tuscarora Language Revitalization Program