Current Projects
























































































Project Coordinator Brenda McKenna with UNM grad students Steven Menefee and Evan Ashworth presenting on the Nanbé Tewa project at the 2006 LSA.


Nanbé Tewa Language Revitalization Project: Production of an Electronic Archive

National Science Foundation, BCS-0505107.

PI Melissa Axelrod. With Cora McKenna, Brenda McKenna, Evelyn O. Anaya Hatch, and Quella Musgrave, Nambé Pueblo, NM.

Project Assistants: Evan Ashworth, Susan Buescher, Briony Jones, Brittany Kubacki, Ana Medina Murillo,  Steven Menefee, Katy Pieri


The goal of this project is to produce a multimedia digital database of Nanbé Tewa. The database will consist of two components: 1) a database of natural discourse including conversations, stories, historical narrative, and description of traditional practices such as baking bread, making pottery and traditional dress, and farming; and 2) a dictionary database with full lexical and grammatical coverage. The database will be central in the third component of the project, teacher training and curriculum development.

Collaborative Research: Multimedia Database of Ixil Mayan Narratives

National Science Foundation, BCS-0504904/5.

PI Jule Gómez de García, Co-PI Melissa Axelrod. With María Luz García and members of the Grupo de Mujeres por la Paz, Nebaj, El Quiche, Guatemala.


                              This project aims to produce a web-based database of elicited and spontaneous narratives, of spontaneously occurring conversations, and of oral histories produced by Ixil (Mayan) speakers in Nebaj, El Quiche, Guatemala.  During the past five years, PI, Dr. Jule Gómez de García, the co-PI, Dr. Melissa Axelrod, and doctoral student María Luz García have been working with a team of thirty Ixil Mayan women in Nebaj, El Quiche, Guatemala.  The women are members of the Grupo de Mujeres por la Paz, a cooperative formed by women who were widowed or left fatherless by genocide during the Guatemalan Civil war.  At their request, we have been documenting, through digital audio and video recordings and digital photographs, the women's narratives and conversations about their experiences during and after the war, and the progress of their weaving and agricultural cooperative. 

Feliciana Cedillo Matom and her daughter Marta, Ixil speakers from Nebaj, Guatemala, reading Frog, Where are You?

Abáachi Mizaa Láo Ilkee' Shijai: Dictionary of Jicarilla Apache

National Science Foundation, BCS-0094373. (PI Melissa Axelrod, Co-PI Jordan Lachler)

Authors: Mrs. W. Phone, M. Olsen, and M. Martinez, Jicarilla Apache Nation, Dulce, NM.

Editors: Melissa Axelrod, J. Gómez de García, J. Lachler, and S. Burke.

                  This project resulted in the Dictionary of Jicarilla Apache, which will be available from UNM Press in October 2006. The Abaachi Mizaa Ilkee' Siijai: Dictionary of Jicarilla Apache is intended to be the first edition of this dictionary written by and for the Jicarilla Apache Nation in Dulce, New Mexico.  It contains four sections:  1) an introductory grammatical sketch, 2) the Jicarilla Apache to English dictionary, 3) an English to Jicarilla index and glossary, and 4) the thematic lexicon, arranged alphabetically according to semantic field.

                  The authors, Mrs. Wilhelmina Phone, Mrs. Maureen Olson, and Mrs. Matilda Martinez, spent innumerable hours working to provide a huge body of words and language samples for this dictionary.  They have spent yet more hours reading through several drafts of the dictionary, standardizing the spelling of thousands of words, providing current pronunciations and translations for older forms drawn from the texts collected by Harry Hoijer in the 1930’s, and directing the construction of this dictionary of their language.  The Dictionary was produced under the auspices of the Jicarilla Apache Culture Center and according to a Tribal Resolution from the Jicarilla Apache Nation Tribal Council (August 2000).

Dr. Phone and Mrs. Martinez                                           Maureen Olson

Poster presentation on the  project at the 2006 LSA.


Handbook of Linguistics for Native Language Revitalization Programs

Authors:  Evan Ashworth, Susan Buescher, Melvatha Chee, Grandon Goertz, Steven Menefee, Lisa Pacheco, Katy Pieri, Hien Tran, Simoni Valadares, and Melissa Axelrod.


                     Intended as a useful reference tool on linguistics for community-centered language program staff and teachers in Native American communities, this handbook includes non-technical and jargon-free descriptions of the various areas of linguistics with exercises, activities, and examples to help teachers and language program planners understand how to apply the principles of language patterning and the techniques of linguistic analysis to their language revitalization efforts. We use examples from a wide range of North American native languages in order to point out the differences among these languages as well as the differences between American Indian languages and English.