Graduate-Grant Funded Research
Linda Konnerth received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant titled A Descriptive Grammar of Karbi. This grant is under the direction of her advisor, Scott Delancey. The award is for $11,995 to conduct field research for the period 2010-12. In addition to the research the grant has resulted in Linda presenting 14 papers at 11 different conferences. The purpose of this grant-funded research is to write a comprehensive grammar of Karbi, a Tibeto-Burman language of Northeast India. This grammar will, as a description of language use, be the basis for language development and preservation programs of the Karbi community, and a valuable work of reference for Tibeto-Burmanists and typologists. The historical-comparative emphasis of this grammar will also be of immediate use for historical linguists, who work on modeling the Tibeto-Burman genetic tree. Determining the position of Karbi in the genetic classification of Tibeto-Burman will be an integral step towards reconstructing the region’s history. Due to the descriptive approach taken, the grammar will present and be based on extensive data including a rich archive of oral literature.
Jaime Peña received a National Sciences Foundation (NSF) Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant for a project titled “A Grammar of Huambisa”. This grant is under the direction of his advisor, Doris L. Payne. The award is for $15,000 to conduct field research for the period 2012-14. This grant has allowed Jaime to spend a year in Peru doing fieldwork in several Huambisa communities, as well as working with speakers who have migrated to bigger Peruvian cities like Jaen, Bagua and Lima. The goal of this grant-funded research is to write a comprehensive grammar of Huambisa, a Jivaroan variety with very little documentation and no grammatical description spoken in the Peruvian Amazon. With that goal, transcription and translation of several hours of original data is currently being undertaken while on the field. Texts recorded include several types: conversations, myths/legends, traditional stories, personal stories, oratory discourse, historical accounts, formal salutations, procedural texts, songs, explanations of key aspects of Huambisa culture, tongue-twisters, and so on. The database will also contain a vocabulary which is being expanded as research goes on, as well as pictures of material culture. Since this project will result in the first extensive written grammar of Huambisa, this research will positively inform Jivaroan linguistics. Also, comparative and historical questions regarding Jivaroan languages may be answered with greater accuracy, and proposed typological patterns of languages of the greater Amazon and Andean areas may be confirmed or contradicted by this project’s findings.
Richard Griscom received a grant from the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP) to support the project “Documenting Isimjeeg Datooga”. This grant is under the direction of his advisor, Doris L. Payne. The award was for $40,000 and covers work from 20015 to 2018. Isimjeeg is a Southern Nilotic language variety spoken near Lake Eyasi in the northern region on Tanzania by about 5,000. The Isimjeeg are traditionally a cattle-herding ethnic group, but these days most speakers have relocted to engage in seasonal agricultural work. As a result, many speakers under the age of 25 only need to use Swahili to communicate with their neighbors and are thus no longer learning Isimjeeg. The language is now in danger of disappearing in the coming decades. This grant has allowed Richard to collaborate with the Isimjeeg community to create language materials in support of the presentation of their language and to systematically document their language for the purposes of future linguistics research.
The goals for this project include the creation of a tri-lingual dictionary (Isimjeeg-Swahili-English), a collection of audio and video recordings and photographs, and a short grammatical description. All of thee materials will be made available online to community members and researchers via the Endangered Language Archive (ELAR). This project will contribute to our understanding of one of the most linguistically diverse areas of Africa, as well as the historical developments of the Southern Nilotic family within Tanzania.