Omaha and Ponca Digital Dictionary update

Jill Greer Greer-J at MSSU.EDU
Tue Oct 27 16:38:30 UTC 2009

Aloha, Mark,
Congrats to you, Catherine and the 3 dedicated students for this great undertaking!!  Wonderful stuff!

>>> Mark J Awakuni-Swetland <mawakuni-swetland2 at> 10/26/2009 3:10 PM >>> 

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 approval. 

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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