Published On: Tue, Sep 17th, 2013

WCU Cherokee language program director conducting research at Yale

CULLOWHEE –Hartwell Francis, director of Western Carolina University’s Cherokee language program, won a fellowship to study 19th– and 20th-century Cherokee language texts archived at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Hartwell Francis (WCU photo)

Hartwell Francis (WCU photo)

As the Archibald Hanna, Jr. Fellow in American History, Francis is spending the month of September in residence at the library, which is home to the Kilpatrick collection of nearly 2,000 Cherokee manuscripts. There, he is working with a team committed to determining the range of genres of Cherokee writing, identifying significant Cherokee written texts and developing a grammar of written Cherokee.

Francis said one of the most significant finds has included a mid-19th-century printed primer that has short articles about animals, including fox, squirrel and cow, and stories about 19th-century life.

“We should be able to develop these into early readers for the Atse Kituwah Cherokee Language Immersion Academy and for our classes at WCU,” said Francis.

At WCU, Francis teaches courses on Cherokee grammar, language death, language revitalization and linguistic anthropology. He and Thomas Belt, coordinator of WCU’s Cherokee Language Program, work together to develop the WCU Cherokee language curriculum.

Info: www.media.wcu.edu/groups/cherokeelanguage or WCU Cherokee Center 497-7920

– WCU

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