Blackfoot Language Research

Blackfoot Lullabies

Shirlee Crow Shoe

The lullaby project was conducted in summer 2007 with the support of the Phillips Fund for Native American Research at the American Philosophical Society. Five of the collected lullabies are posted. The posting of other songs recorded at the time of the project is currently in-progress. Many thanks to Ms. Shirlee Crow Shoe (photo above) for serving as my research associate and conducting interviews with elders in Blackfoot. 

  • Miyashita, M. 2011. Five Blackfoot Lullabies. Proceedings of The American Philosophical Society. Vol. 155, No. 3. 276-293.
  • Miyashita, M. & S. Crow Shoe. 2009. “Blackfoot Lullabies and Language Revitalization. In Indigenous Language Revitalization: Encouragement, Guidance & Lessons Learned, eds. by J. Reyhner & L. Lockard, pp. 183-190. Flagstaff: NAU.

Blackfoot Prosody

This is an ongoing project. Its initial stage was funded by the Phillips Fund for Native American Research and the DEL grant of the National Science Foundation [BCS-1251684]. This is the first NSF (DEL) funded linguistics research in the state of Montana. 

This project included development of materials that can be used for research and teaching: list of conjugated verbs with pitch accent indication with sound samples. I would like to thank Ms. Rosella Many Bears for providing the pronunciation samples. 

In investigating Blackfoot prosody, there were some issues that had to be addressed prior to focusing on research in prosody. These pre-prosodic research projects as well as the first step of the prosodic research are published in Papers of the Algonquian Conference. 

  • Miyashita, M. 2018. Vowel-consonant coalescence in Blackfoot. Papers of the Forty-Seventh Algonquian Conference. Eds. by M. Macaulay & M. Noodin. pp 217-235.
  • Miyashita, M. 2019. Pitch and Intensity of Lexical Accent in Blackfoot. Papers of the Forty-Eighth Algonquian Conference. Eds. by M. Macaulay & M. Noodin. pp 173-190.

DEL grant!



Ongoing collaborative and interdisciplinary project, Melodic Transcription for Indigenous Language Documentation and Application (MeTILDA) exemplifies a Community-Based Research. This online tool is being developed by computer science students at the University of Washiington-Bothell (UW) supervised by Min Chen, professor of computer science at UW. 

This project is motivated by the development of Pitch Art designed and used by the Blackfeet community collaborator. MeTILDA assists the language teacher create Pitch Art images in one application. It also incorporates psychoacoustic scale in drawing the images. This project is transformative and has the potential to be useful for other languages in which pitch movement is considered the important element in the language's pronunciation systems.

Derived Verbs

One of the challenges that learners face is to successfully produce verb forms with tense, aspect, and modality (TAM) affixes. While it is common for learners to cover person and number inclusion, TAM affixes are not learned at the beginning levels though these are very important factors for languages to be used as the means of communication. This project was part of the funded prosody study (2013-2019). There were approx. 20 verb roots inflected in 1st person singular and 3rd person singular with multiple TAM affixes. The sample words are available in PDF and PowerPoint files. The PowerPoint slides embed pronunciation samples.  

Connected Speech Transcripts


This project was supported by The Jacobs Research Funds (2008), Humanities Montana (2009-11) and Documenting Endangered Languages (DEL) fellowship at the National Endowment for the Humanities (2011-12). Its aim is to provide interlinear analysis of connected speech including narratives, stories and conversations. I would like to thank Ms. Rosella Many Bears for serving as my research associate and language consultant. The picture in right are Rosella Many Bears and myself (Mizuki Miyashita) meeting at the Piegan Institute in 2008. Transcripts are available from this page. More transcripts will be added when they become available. For the recordings made available, the researcher obtained permission from the contributors at the time of the recording. (Note to the contributors: If you wish to take down these recordings from this website, contact Mizuki Miyashita by email.) 

Jacobs Research Funds Jacobs Research Funds

Humanities Montana

NEH DEL fellowship