Penobscot Language Dictionary

Penobscot Language Dictionary

View the National Endowment for the Humanities press release of the project.

The Maine Folklife Center is proud to announce that it is part of a three year project in partnership with the Penobscot Nation and American Philosophical Society (APS) “to create a comprehensive printed version of the Penobscot Dictionary, complete with an English index and searchable online database.”

The UMain press release states: “The project, which was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities grant of $339,411, aims to provide resources and linguistic training to the Penobscot Nation’s language revitalization community, which aims to keep the language alive and in use, through the creation of the language’s first published comprehensive dictionary.

“I think it is important for the university to reach out to communities, aiding their cultural efforts, and in particular to the Penobscots, who are our neighbors,” Pauleena MacDougall, director of the Maine Folklife Center and faculty associate in anthropology at UMaine, says. …

Co-principal investigators MacDougall and Conor Quinn, a linguist who earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2006, and a project advisory committee will oversee the compilation and implementation of the dictionary. MacDougall and Quinn … have extensive backgrounds working with the Penobscot language. …

“It’s going to be a constant interaction,” MacDougall says. “We’re going to be meeting with the Penobscots regularly and hopefully provide them with resources for their language program as we prepare the dictionary for publication.” …

The project, which will take place from September 2013 through August 2016, will start by archiving the original dictionary in database form and providing linguistic training. By the second year, researchers hope to edit and add entries, continue training and user-test the database. By the third year, the group hopes to have a final version of the dictionary ready for printing.

We also thought we’d use this opportunity to share links to two very informative website about endangered languages: The Smithsonian Folklife Festival’s “One World, Many Voices” and Smithsonian’s “Recovering Voices.”