Volkswagen & DoBeS
Our language documentation team has been working toward the goal of documenting the Dane-zaa (Beaver) language from a place names' perspective.
The DoBeS program was developed by the Volkswagen Foundation in order to document languages that are at risk of dying out within the next two generations. At this time there are approximately 50 documentation projects working around the world.
I have been a participant of the Beaver documentation team since it was first funded, beginning in August 2004. The principal investigator is Dagmar Jung (University of Köln). Other team members include: Gabriele Müller (University of Münster), Patrick Moore (University of British Columbia), Carolina Pasamonik (University of Köln), Kate Hennessy (University of British Columbia), and Olga Lovick (First Nations University, University of Regina).
Beaver (Dane-zaa) Project home page
The data we have collected has been deposited in a digital archive, managed by the DoBeS team at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen. Materials consist of audio and video recordings, as well as academic studies and various products developed for community needs. Much of the recorded materials are undergoing the continuing process of annotation and linguistic analysis. For further details, visit the Beaver archive by clicking on the link below:
Virtual Museum of Canada
Dane-zaa youth and elders worked together with ethnographers (Kate Hennessy, Amber Ridington, Peter Biella) and linguists (Patrick Moore and myself) in the summer of 2005 in order to document oral histories of place, movement, survival and the Dane-zaa Dreamer traditions.
My contributions to the project:
This project was started as a means to create an alternative access point to the Beaver materials in the DoBeS digital archive. Building upon the geographic knowledge of the Dane-zaa, Gabriele Schwiertz (formally Müller) and I created a portal that takes a specific geographic point on a map and allows one to visit media associated with it.
These two .kmz layers can be downloaded and viewed using Google Earth. You need to have Adobe Flash Player on your computer to view the media.
These are some projects I am currently working on for the Dane-zaa communities of Canada:
Dane-zaa Language Workshop
In May 2008, elders from five of the seven Dane-zaa speaking communities of NE British Columbia and NW Alberta came to discuss the state of their language and to start planning for future collaboration of language documentation and revitalization efforts. The following reserves were represented: Doig River (BC), Blueberry River (BC), Halfway River (BC), Boyer River (AB) and Child Lake (AB).
We collected many hours of incredible stories and conversations in the Dane-zaa language. Now, we embark on the long journey of translation and transcription. These materials will be transformed into usable formats for the Dane-zaa communities to aid in their language documentation and revitalization efforts, as well as provide linguists with recordings of connected speech for continuing analysis.
Participant photo, Treaty 8 offices, Fort St. John, BC, Canada
Dane-zaa FLAS Fellowship
Through the Canadian Studies Center at the Jackson School of International Studies, I have had the fortune of being awarded the Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship for the past three years for the study of Dane-zaa. I designed this independent study coursework, overseen by my Ph.D. advisor, Sharon Hargus. The goal has been to bring together the work I have been doing with the VW language documentation team as well as my own dissertation. I have included .pdf versions of the syllabi for the academic year courses.
Send mail to: jcmiller at u dot washington dot edu
Last modified: 25 February 2010 5:05 PM