Dogrib Language Documentation and Revitalization in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Regions: North Slave Region

Tags: social sciences, Dogrib, language, culture, educational development

Principal Investigator: Jaker, Alessandro M (9)
Licence Number: 14568
Organization: Stanford University
Licenced Year(s): 2014 2013 2012 2009 2008 2007 2005
Issued: Jul 16, 2009

Objective(s): The goal of this research is to produce an intermediate-level Dogrib language reader, for young people who have some basic knowledge of the language but are still struggling with more difficult or complex forms.

Project Description: The goal of this research is to produce an intermediate-level Dogrib language reader, for young people who have some basic knowledge of the language but are still struggling with more difficult or complex forms. The stories themselves will focus on local legends, and local history of the Yellowknives Dene. Thus, the goals are both to increase young people's competence in Dogrib, and make traditional stories accessible to them in the original language.

The elders who will tell the stories will be recruited through the Goyatiko Language Center, by word of mouth. Interviews will be conducted at the language center, and will be recorded on a Marantz CDR-300 digital recorder, which records onto CD's. The principal researcher will then transcribe the stories with the help of the Goyatiko Language Center staff, and then compile them into a format that is accessible to intermediate-level Dogrib learners, as described above.

One of the main goals of this project is to work on an intermediate-level Dogrib language reader for Dogrib language learners. This will contain traditional legends and local history, told by local elders, and will be presented with a glossary and notes to help students still learning the language. Local elders will be involved in telling the stories, and the staff of the Goyatiko Language Center will help with editing and transcribing. Finally, the finished product will be beneficial to local youth trying to learn the language, as well as providing a record of local legends and local history.

All of the materials produced, including original recordings, text with interlinear glosses, word lists, and verb paradigms, will be shared with the Goyatiko Language Center in Dettah. It is intended that the finished product, the Dogrib language reader, be used in language classes at the language center and in local schools, when it is complete. Eventually they hope to distribute these materials more widely (i.e. to other communities in the NWT), once they have been tried out and thoroughly edited for any errors.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from July 15 to September 30, 2009, in Yellowknife, Ndilo, and Dettah.