Bruce Nevin of Edgartown recently received a $200,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to complete a linguistic database of Achumawi, the language of the Pit River people in northeastern California. The award is part of the Documenting Endangered Languages (DEL) program, a joint program of the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities to develop and advance scientific and scholarly knowledge concerning endangered human languages.
Mr. Nevin plans to use the grant to incorporate available archival materials on the language together with his own extensive collection of text, songs and other language data recorded from the last fluent speakers, beginning in 1970 and extending to the early 1990s. He described the challenging phonology of the language in his 1998 dissertation at the University of Pennsylvania, and has been developing a database since the mid 1980s with software specialized for linguistic analysis.
He traces his Island ancestry to 1630.