National Science Foundation grants recently awarded to Colleen Fitzgerald,
professor of Linguistics and TESOL, are elevating UT Arlington’s growing reputation
and expertise in Native American language documentation and revitalization.
is currently principal investigator on three separate NSF grant projects
totaling more than $270,000: the 2014 Institute on Collaborative Language
Research, which will be held at UT Arlington next summer; the Oklahoma Breath
of Life workshops with Mary Linn, associate professor of anthropology and
associate curator at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History at the
University of Oklahoma; and the Chickasaw verb documentation and analysis
project with Joshua Hinson, director of the Chickasaw Language Revitalization
of the projects draw on participatory models, where training indigenous
community members constitutes a vital part of Fitzgerald's research.
a synergistic relationship between teaching and training,” she said. “It’s not
only about training community members, but training students to do the research
ethically and responsibly. The projects are all tied together in that way.”
Chickasaw project, funded for nearly $100,000, is the first NSF award for the
Chickasaw Nation. Their former homelands were centered around present-day
Tupelo, Miss. until the Chickasaw people were forcibly removed by the U.S.
government to Indian Territory in the 1830s.
Wright, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said Fitzgerald’s work is a
critical link between preserving important cultures and ensuring that
endangered languages survive.
is living culture,” Wright said. “Dr. Fitzgerald’s research is allowing us to
help preserve knowledge of the life and culture of indigenous populations for current
generations, who at times have been stripped of their native language, and for generations
the fourth time, the National Science Foundation will fund the Institute on
Collaborative Language Research, or CoLang 2014, which is scheduled June
16-July 25 and will include students, instructors and linguists from Nigeria,
Kenya, Japan and Canada, as well as from across the U.S. Fitzgerald will
direct the biennial training workshop that will address documentation,
revitalization, teaching, ethics and community collaboration. A number of
events will be open to the public.
Linguistic Society of America is an official sponsor of CoLang 2014. Visit www.linguisticsociety.org/content/colang-2014 for more details.
noted that there has been much discussion in recent decades about the global
crisis of endangered languages and how linguists can respond.
are a number of people who have advocated training community members as
linguists,” she said.
training is central to Fitzgerald’s latest project, the Chickasaw verb
documentation and analysis, which will enable researchers to catalogue nearly
500 Chickasaw verbs and to analyze texts in the language. Their work
will record Chickasaw speakers' traditional knowledge, which is essential to
indigenous language revitalization.
Breath of Life workshops have helped Native American communities in Oklahoma
organize language classes, set up language databases, create dictionaries and
translate stories into bilingual formats. The news of the research has appeared
on Think (KERA/NPR Dallas), the Indian Country Media Network, Diverse Issues in Higher Education and in The Oklahoman.
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more than 33,000 students and more than 2,200 faculty members in the heart of
North Texas. It is the second largest institution in The University of Texas
System. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.