Documenting Alaskan and Neighboring Languages

Michael Krauss

Michael KraussPrincipal Investigator
Eyak texts, grammar, lexicon

Alaska is the original home of two great American language families, Eskimo-Aleut and Athabascan-Eyak-Tlingit.

Both families have spread far beyond Alaska with Eskimo-Aleut through Canada to Greenland and parts of Athabascan-Eyak-Tlingit almost to Mexico.With the exception of Central Alaskan Yup'ik, the number of children speaking these languages in Alaska is minimal.

The present project is the lexical documentation of this acutely endangered diversity. Prioritization is on lexicon because lexicon is less structured or cohesive than grammar, so it is more difficult to document comprehensively and easier to forget. A good dictionary, including affixes and textual examples will document more grammar than a good grammar will document lexicon.

Alaska Map
Compiled by Michael E. Krauss, 1974, revised 1982

Our project documents a wide breath of knowledge practical for scientists, students and communities which are home to these languages.