Linguistics Students Awarded Undergraduate Research Prize

01 June 2018

The Department of Linguistics is pleased to announce two of our Undergraduate Majors have been awarded the Roger S. Smith Undergraduate Researcher Award. This award is intended to cultivate and support research partnerships between undergraduate students and faculty members. There are approximately 15 awards given to Undergraduate researchers each year, each worth $5000.00. The amount is intended to provide for 15 weeks of research based activity over the summer months (May - August).

Erin Hashimoto's project is "A Digital Corpus of Makah Oral Stories"

Historic and continued oppressive policies and attitudes have contributed to the endangerment, and in some cases loss, of many North American indigenous languages. Makah, a Southern Wakashan language spoken in the area known today as Neah Bay in Washington State, USA, is considered dormant by some because it no longer has any first-language fluent speakers but as of 2013, the language can be considered as awakening given the work of the tribe's Makah Language Program in creating new speakers through elementary and high school language programs.

With Linguistics Assistant Professor Jorge Rosés Labrada's guidance and using archived materials created by Mr. Ralph LaChester (Makah community member), Mrs. Mabel Robertson (Makah community member), and the late Dr. William H. Jacobsen in the 1960's, Erin's project will transform handwritten field notes, currently archived at the California Languages Archive (CLA) at the University of California, Berkeley, into digital resources which may be more easily adapted and mobilized for use in a language classroom and for linguistic research. Upon completion, this corpus will be deposited at the CLA where the original resources are archived and shared with the Makah Tribe in hopes that the resources can help in the community's current revitalization efforts.

Congratulations, Erin!

Bryce Wittrock is working with Dr. Benjamin V. Tucker on "Canadian Prairie Dialects: An Exploration of Alberta and Saskatchewan Vowels"

Bryce explains, "my project aims to document and describe differences in the English of the Canadian Prairies. I am currently both creating and dissecting a corpus of colloquial English as spoken in Southern Alberta and Saskatchewan".

Congratulations, Bryce!