Arctic Field Projects

Project Title: Koniag Alutiiq (EMS) Orthography Project (Award# 1153156)

PI: Counceller, April (
Phone: (907) 486.7004 
Institute/Department: Alutiiq Heritage Foundation, Language Department 
IPY Project?
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\ASSP
Program Manager: Dr. Anna Kerttula (
Discipline(s): | Social and Human Sciences |

Project Web Site(s):

Science Summary:
The Koniag Alutiiq Orthography project will compile and complete existing, unpublished research to develop a stable, standardized orthography system for Kodiak Alutiiq. The PI, Dr. April Counceller of the Alutiiq Museum and University of Alaska - Kodiak College, will work with renowned Alutiiq Linguist Jeff Leer, who is recently retired from the Alaska Native Language Center at UAF. Counceller will compile Leer's previous research notes and articles on the Alutiiq writing system, collect new data from the few remaining fluent speakers (less than 50, all elderly and scattered throughout Alaska), and create a writing system book that will be accessible to heritage speakers. This data will be of great interest to language scholars developing orthographies for endangered languages and for comparative linguistics. In addition the project will create materials that this will assist in the preservation of the Alutiiq language for future heritage speakers. The project PI correctly states that this project is appropriate for RAPID funding because many factors have converged to make this project successful and timely: 1) the availability and willingness of Dr. Leer to participate; 2) the waning availability of a few fluent first-language speakers; 3) The Alaska Native Corporation, Chugachmiut's willingness to support Dr. Counceller through sharing of similar-dialect materials, and 4) the urgent need in the community for the orthography in order to produce language revitalization texts.

Logistics Summary:
Beginning in 2011 the Koniag Alutiiq Orthography Project (KAOP) will compile existing research and materials related to the Koniag Alutiiq writing system, and combine them with new data from the last remaining fluent Alutiiq speakers, into a single, formalized, well-documented orthography. In 2012 four fluent speakers from Kodiak’s rural village of Old Harbor and two representatives from the Chugach Alutiiq region will travel to Kodiak for 3 days to support a more inclusive and complete orthography. In 2013 the project will create of a Kodiak Alutiiq Orthography booklet, that will be completed with community input, published (500 copies), and distributed widely through the Alutiiq Museum and the Alaska Native Language Center – two leading Alaskan cultural and linguistic organizations. Since the elders are traveling to the PI's home institution there is no fieldwork being conducted by the PIs.

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