Using the ALR Database

Word Search

This feature allows the user to match native word and their English translations over all the vocabularies simultaneously.

The English word search is used for returning native language translations of an English word:

                English word search:

Three search options are available from most to least restrictive:

              Exact Query only   Allow Phrases    Allow Compounding

  • Exact query only treats the input string as a standalone word, returning only those definitions which exactly match that word. When this option is checked, entering “man” will return only definitions of “man.” This feature will also check to see if the query is nested in lines with multiple definitions: “man, a male.”
  • Allow phrases also treats the input string as a standalone word, but returns any definition in which that word occurs, whether alone or as part of a longer phrase. When this option is checked, entering “man” will also return “old man”, “he is a man” and other similar phrases.
  • Allow compounding is the broadest search category, treating the input string as a sequence of letters  and returning any definition which contains that letter sequence. When this option is checked, entering “man” will return any entry which contains the letters m-a-n consecutively, such as “Englishman”, “many”, “woman”, and so on. A minimum of two letters is required for this type of search.
Native word searches match your search string to the original native-language entry.

                Native word search:

Two options are available with native languages searches: Exact Query only, and Allow compounding, which function as described above.

                Exact Query only   Allow Compounding

Word Searches can be further limited by time span and language family. Limiting the time span restricts the search to vocabularies that were collected (though not necessarily published) in the time frame indicated. The default values for these fields are 1500 and 1940, which span the entire time period of the database.

                Restrict time span: to    

Limiting by language family is another way of restricting the resultant data set. The default value is "ALL".

                Restrict by Language family:

Interactive Atlas

    The Interactive Atlas plots search words on one of seven topographical maps provided by the National Atlas of the United States.
    To use the Atlas, type an English word into the text field. The search algorithm for the Interactive Atlas is roughly the same as the "Exact Query Only" word search described above.While it will not match phrases or word fragments, it does check for words with the articles "a", "an", and "the", and the infinitive marker "to". So if the input string is "man", the Atlas will map "man", "a man", and "the man" but will not map "old man" or "Englishman." 

                English definition:    

    Next, select the map on which the native entries will be plotted. There are currently seven available maps, arranged according to scale (shown as the approximate distance in miles across the map lengthwise). The first maps listed cover the widest geographical extent, and the last maps cover the smallest geographic areas but in more detail.

                Select Map:

    The requested map is generated on the next page with all the native equivalents of the English word plotted on it. Positions on the map reflect where the the tribe was living at the time the data was collected. Note that for many tribes this location does not necessarily match their ancestral homeland, particularly after the 1700s when tribal displacements and resettlements became common.
    Because of space limitations, by default only select vocabularies will be plotted on the maps of 2500 miles or greater. This default setting can be overriden, however, by checking the "show all vocabularies" checkbox. If this checkbox keeps reappearing after it has been checked off, click on "Interactive Atlas" in the menubar to reset all the inputs to their default settings.
    The Interactive Atlas also allows search limiting by time span and language family, described above under Word Search.

    The appearance of plotted entries can be customized with the "Word color" and "Word Size" select menus.

                Word color:       Word size:
     Setting the word color to "by family" plots all entries from the same linguistic family in the same color (pink--Algonquian, green--Iroquoian, blue--Siouan, yellow--Muskogean, red--Timucuan, white--isolate/unclassified).
     Note that you may also be able to change the word size from your browser.

Custom Lexicons

    This feature allows users to combine multiple vocabularies into dictionaries and comparative tables ready for output as text files or direct to your printer.
    The first two options are to select the basic lexicon type:
Lexicon Type:
Dictionary Comparative Table
    "Dictionary" combines all the data into a single list, and is most useful for combining sources into a single organized unit: e.g. creating a dictionary of Unami Delaware incorporating all its  different vocabularies. Each headword in the resulting list is printed in boldface, followed by a translation in italics and the source citation in parentheses. "Comparative Table" lists each language in its own dedicated column, with the data printed in rows across the page.
    The second series of options determine how the lexicon is organized:
Headword Order:
English Alphabetical      English Topical:
Indian Alphabetical       Indian Reverse Alphabetical
    These selections each work as follows:
  • English Alphabetical: Lists the English translations of each native term in alphabetical order. 
  • English Topical: This feature organizes headwords by meaning rather than spelling and is useful for quick comparison across specific categories: e.g. bird names. The Swadesh 100-word list is a basic list of common words, composed by linguist Morris Swadesh for use in the studies of glottochronology and lexicostatistics. The remaining lists are broken down into various categories: Kin and Social terms, Material culture, Animals and Plants, Numerals and Verbs.
  • Indian Alphabetical: An alphabetical arrangement of the native terms. All accented letters are treated the same as their unaccented counterparts (e.g. "á" "à" and "â" are all equivalent to "a"), and spaces between syllables are ignored.
  • Indian Reverse Alphabetical: This feature is a variation on the Indian alphabetical arrangement described above, except that it alphabetizes words in reverse order, by their final letters rather than the initial ones. For example, the vocabulary starts with words ending in -aa, followed by -ba, -ca through all the words ending in “a", then -ab, -bb, -cb, and so on.
    Note however that reverse alphabetical arrangements are not available with comparative tables; if both buttons are selected, the comparative table button will be ignored and a reverse dictionary will be generated by default.
    Lastly, the user selects the vocabularies to be included, from either of two menus:
Select Vocabularies:
Select from Alphabetical List:
Select from Genetic Classification:
    The "Alphabetical List" menu is recommended for most users since it organizes all the languages into alphabetical order, making them easier to find. The "Genetic Classification" menu groups each language by family with its closest relatives according to currently accepted linguistic classifications (cf. Ives Goddard, Handbook of North American Indians Vol. 17: Languages). It is useful for more easily selecting related languages within families. Note that both menus contain the exact same vocabularies, they are just organized differently. Users can select from one or the other, or both, as desired.
    To select blocks of consecutive vocabularies use the [SHIFT] key. To select or deselect vocabularies individually, hold down [CTRL] (for PC/Windows computers), or [COMMAND] (for Macintosh computers) while clicking on them.

Return to Evolution Publishing Front Page | Purchase Books in the ALR Series

©2006 Evolution Publishing

Indian Language Native American database American Language Reprint Series Nanticoke Lenape Delaware Susquehannock Powhatan Tuscarora Mohegan Pequot Unami Woccon Shawnee Cherokee Siouan Huron Etchemin Minsi Mahican Oneida Onondaga Miami Cayuga Mohawk Seneca Tutelo Massachusett Saponi Wyandot Indian Native Language Linguistic Historical Vocabulary Prince Gleach Brinton Lawson Smith Strachey Salvucci Madison Americanist Algonquian Iroquoian Siouan Algic Iroquois Sioux