Endangered Language Linguist awarded prestigious MacArthur Fellowship

Jessie Little Doe Baird, a linguist who has worked for years on reviving the Wampanoag (Wôpanâak) Language, has just been awarded a 02010 MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship in honor of her work and research.

Baird, who is of Wamponoag heritage, studied at MIT under the indigenous language scholar Kenneth Hale. By immersing herself in the language, she has achieved fluency, effectively reviving in herself the spoken use of the long-silent language. Her research is focused on developing a dictionary of Wampanoag, which now includes nearly 10,000 words, as well as language teaching resources, through which she hopes to help usher the language into modern use in the Wampanoag community.

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