Omaha and Ponca Digital Dictionary update

Mark J Awakuni-Swetland mawakuni-swetland2 at
Mon Oct 26 20:10:07 UTC 2009

Aloha All,

I wanted to share with you the status of the Omaha and Ponca Digital 
Dictionary project funded by the NEH as of 26 October 2009.

Undergraduate student worker Justin Hathaway has concluded scanning reel 
#1 of 3 reels containing the James Owen Dorsey 20,000 slip lexicon.

Approximately 4,700 images are available for your viewing and research 
pleasure at the URL, above.

This constitutes approximately one-quarter of the slip file.

Of the 4,700 images, Graduate Research Assistant Jianguo Wang, and 
Graduate student worker Jacob Hilton have entered 4,000 lexemes.

The graduate student data entry focuses on the lexeme, source (JOD's) part 
of speech, source (JOD's) translation, link to the scanned image, and 
dialect designation if any.

They fill in the comment field with observations that JOD makes, or to 
draw our attention to something being crossed out on the image.

In the problem field they note things they cannot read or decipher.

Catherine Rudin and I are checking each entry. 

We provide a dictionary English gloss (since many of Dorsey's explanations 
are lengthy prose). Catherine sorts out JOD's parts of speech and gives 
the contemporary equivalent, i.e. his adjectives are our stative verbs.

With this added information the lexeme receives a level one approval.

When we have a small mass of level one lexemes they will be mounted as a 
preliminary dictionary on the UNL Omaha language website. The Center for 
Digital Research in the Humanities is already working out a template for 
how the dictionary will appear. We have an internal release date 
tentatively set for the end of fall 2009 semester, with a public release 
in the spring semester 2010.

The remaining data on each image (Inflected Forms, Cognates, Sample 
Sentences, etc.) will be entered by Catherine and me. When all data from 
an image have been entered into the database it will receive a level two 

Level one and level two materials will be uploaded in blocks as they 
become available.

Further work on filling out paradigms and eliciting/field checking each 
lexeme with elder speakers is planned.

We thank you for your patience in this complex, exciting project.

Mark Awakuni-Swetland

Mark Awakuni-Swetland, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
and Ethnic Studies (Native American Studies)
University of Nebraska
Lincoln, NE 68588-0368
Phone 402-472-3455
FAX: 402-472-9642
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