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The Lenape Talking Dictionary

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Item Summary

Title:The Lenape Talking Dictionary
Authors:James Rementer,Bruce Pearson
Contributors:James Rementer,Bruce Pearson (speaker)
Date Issued:14 Mar 2009
Description:Lenape (also known as Delaware), an important language of the Algonquian family, was spoken originally in all of New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, northern Delaware, and southeastern New York. The tribe was relocated in stages through western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, central Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, and finally Oklahoma. Members of the tribe preserved the language into the 20th century, with the last native speaker remaining fluent until her death in 2000. The author was adopted informally into a Delaware-speaking household in 1963 and over the years gained increasing fluency in the language. The co-author began working with the author’s adoptive aunt, Nora Thompson Dean (Touching Leaves Woman)1907-1984), as a graduate student and continued working jointly with another fluent speaker and with the author after the aunt’s death. Over his years of working with the aunt and other speakers, the author compiled a library of tape recordings which have become the nucleus of the Lenape Talking Dictionary website ( The site provides information about the speakers whose voices are heard and offers a practical orthography, as well as a survey of grammatical patterns. The site currently has about 13,000 entries, 4,650 of which are accompanied by sound files, and over 1,100 sentence sound files. Most entries include a grammatical analysis showing how individual words are formed. We also have been adding lessons about the language as part of the website. Our original grant funds ran out over a year ago, but additional entries are constantly being added on a daily basis. The site is available to members of the Delaware tribe who are interested in their ancestral language and to scholars and members of the general public who wish to learn about the language. The author and co-author will show images from the site and demonstrate how the site is set up, and how it offers a self-guided learning opportunity. The project was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
Rights:Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Appears in Collections: 1st International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)

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