With National Science Foundation support, Dr. Monica Macaulay and Ms. Marianne Milligan will conduct three years of research on Menominee, an endangered Algonquian language spoken in northeastern Wisconsin. They will create and publish a set of bilingual dictionaries. These will be derived from a computer database with grammatical notes, morphological analysis, and cultural information on Menominee. Because much of this information is unnecessary and even potentially distracting for some audiences, the database will be coded in such a way that several different dictionaries can be produced from it. At least three will be produced: one serving child learners, one serving language teachers and adult learners, and one serving scholars interested in the complete analysis of the entries. Each format will be produced in both printed and electronic form. The electronic versions will offer versatility unavailable in the printed versions. But because some audiences do not have access to computers, printed versions of the dictionaries are necessary, especially for the classroom.
This project will contribute significantly to scholarly work on Algonquian languages and, at the same time, provide the Menominee tribe with a much-needed tool for preserving their highly endangered language. There is currently no satisfactory dictionary resource available for language learners, teachers, and scholars interested in Menominee and historical or comparative research on other Algonquian languages. Thus, development of dictionaries for different audiences is urgently needed. The flexibility of the database will maximize the usefulness of this project, enabling the production of dictionaries for different levels and types of users.