Making a dictionary for community use in language revitalization: The case of Mutsun

Natasha Warner, Lynnika Butler, Quirina Luna-Costillas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


How one writes a dictionary of a language can be greatly affected by what information is available about the language, and by who the intended users of the dictionary are. This article describes the making of a dictionary for Mutsun, a Native American language which currently has no speakers (it is dormant). The Mutsun community is attempting to revitalize their heritage language, and the creation of this dictionary is one part of that project. We discuss the issues of making a dictionary for use by community members rather than linguists, issues that are similar to those for dictionaries of endangered languages. We also address questions of how to make a dictionary when the information about the language is incomplete and based on a variety of archival sources, and no new information can be collected. This problem is similar to that of dictionaries for dead languages. We address the lexicographic issues we have encountered with Mutsun as an example.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-285
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Journal of Lexicography
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics


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