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Online Exhibits - Penobscot Primer

The Penobscot Primer is an innovative, computerized Native American language resource for teaching and research.

text in Penobscot

Linguist Dr. Frant T. Siebert and Photographer Richard Garrett developed the Primer to use with the late Madeline Shay, the last Penobscot brought up speaking the native language. Inspired by slides, Madeline spoke in her native tongue about the Penobscot world. Penobscot teachers Carol Dana and Barry Dana employed the written phonemes of Dr. Frank T. Siebert to transcribe her words.

Listen to Madeline speak in Penobscot:


Madeline Shay

MP3 audio file (279 kB)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I don’t want to go to school. No! No!


birds on basket

MP3 audio file (66 kB)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The bird is going to fly away.


To appreciate the full scope of the Penobsot Primer Project, please visit the project’s website here.


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