The Guerrero Nahuatl Language Documentation and Lexicon Enrichment Project (NLDLEP) pursues four concurrent goals: documentation, revitalization, description, and education. Documentation will be accomplished by providing audio and text (transcriptions that have been parsed and glossed by electronic means) for permanent archiving and Internet display in recommended formats. Revitalization will be advanced by training native speakers in language documentation techniques and producing books and CDs for use in community schools. Description will be enhanced by continuing to elaborate a lexicon and reference grammar as the documentation and revitalization efforts proceed. Education will be attended to by creating electronic and printed materials that can be used by both nonspeakers (learning a new language) and young native speakers (learning to write their language). After three years, the NLDLEP will have produced approximately 200 hours of recorded texts on a variety of topics (stories, ritual speech, dialogues, ethnozoological knowledge) of which about 90 hours will be selected for transcription and publication locally and on the Internet as part of the Nahuatl Learning Environment Encyclopedia. The present project is interdisciplinary both in its conception and presentation. The documented corpus will explore endangered domains of cultural knowledge of interest to a wide range of scholars: (1) linguists will benefit from the immense corpus of material of a typologically unique Nahuatl language and the careful including of coded fields in the lexicon that permit searches on topics of interest to current linguistic theory; (2) anthropologists will find use in the encyclopedic documentation of material culture production and use as well as testimonials on migration and itinerant commerce; (3) historians will welcome the new lexicographic information that will help them translate colonial Nahuatl documents; (4) botanists and zoologists will benefit from the floristic and faunistic inventories and scientific nomenclature linked to recorded texts of local knowledge; (5) students will benefit from material that will provide a basis for continuing education in this language in Latin American Title VI centers across the United States; (6) native speakers and communities will welcome ongoing access to their disappearing and threatened language and culture. Moreover, the electronic interface tools that this project will develop will be generic and thus be applicable to documentation, revitalization, description, and educational projects in other languages.

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Gettysburg College
United States
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