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Cumberland, Linda A.

Grant Type
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation
Indiana U., Bloomington
Completed Grant
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Project Title
Cumberland, Linda A., Indiana U., Bloomington, IN - To aid research on 'A Grammar of Assiniboine,' supervised by Dr. Douglas R. Parks

LINDA A. CUMBERLAND, while a student at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, received funding in January 2001 to aid research on a grammar of Assiniboine, under the supervision of Dr. Douglas R. Parks. Cumberland conducted 12 months of research at several Assiniboine reserves in Saskatchewan, Canada, in order to write a grammar of this severely endangered member of the Siouan language family. Most of the research was conducted at Carry The Kettle reserve, near Regina, Saskatchewan, where the majority of Canada's 50 remaining native speakers of Assiniboine live. To create a temporary speech community where none existed, Cumberland created what she called 'language circles,' bringing together small groups of fluent speakers for a day and recording their conversation. This method of producing spontaneous speech yielded a wealth of forms and information that would have been unattainable in formal elicitation interviews. Portions of the dialogues were transcribed and analyzed, revealing grammatical particles previously unknown and pragmatic use of known forms in novel ways. Cumberland also conducted methodologically standard elicitation sessions in which she recorded a range of stories and songs, including a set of local histories of supernatural events. Data collected during this project were to be compared with data collected in the 1980s and 1990s by Douglas R. Parks (Indiana University) at Fort Belknap, Montana, to write a culturally informed grammar of Assiniboine that reflected regional variations.