2020 Undergraduate Research Showcase

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Tim Thornes


Philip Canestrelli’s grammar of Kutenai (a language indigenous to northern Idaho), A Kootenai Grammar, was originally published in Latin in 1894. The grammar’s few English translations have not been linguistically informed, which has rendered the grammar, the earliest documentation of Kutenai, unavailable for revitalization effortss. To make Canestrelli’s work accessible to English speakers, I am referencing multiple editions of the grammar, a partial translation, and modern linguistic work on Kutenai to produce an English translation that is true to Canestrelli’s original meaning but still useful for modern linguists.

A Kootenai Grammar contains 144 pages. By May 2020 I will have completed translation of approximately 50 pages. I am supplementing the English translation with notes that compare Canestrelli’s analysis of Kutenai, which is based on Latin grammatical categories, to modern analyses of Kutenai. These annotations include notes on Canestrelli’s interpretation of various proximate and obviative morphemes —key features in the grammar of Kutenai. The translation and annotations I provide are equally informed by knowledge of Latin and modern linguistics so that A Kootenai Grammar, a key part of the documentation of the Kutenai language, is accessible in English.