Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis


New Media, Theater


Richard Corey

Committee Members

Kendra Bird, Jordan LaBouff, Julie Lisnet, Mike Scott

Graduation Year

May 2020

Publication Date

Spring 5-2020


Passamaquoddy-Maliseet is an Algonquin dialect spoken by the Passamaquoddy and Maliseet Indigenous Peoples in Maine and Canada. With an estimated 500 speakers, most of whom are over 60, it is highly endangered. There have been attempts to preserve Passamaquoddy-Maliseet that focused on direct translation through use of recorded interviews with Passamaquoddy People, namely the Passamaquoddy-Maliseet Language portal pmportal.org and Jesse Walter Fewkes' cylinder recordings of Passamaquoddy people in the 1890s Passamaquoddy People. However, this method is ineffective for revitalization; it did not help to establish new speakers, and due to Passamaquoddy-Maliseet’s more contextbased language structure, direct translation often destroys the original meaning. In an attempt to facilitate learning and subsequent revitalization of this language, a new avenue was explored that included the use of song accompanied by visuals as an engaging way to allow new speakers to familiarize themselves with the contextual complexities of the language. This method is based on the personal experience of native speakers, preliminary user testing in the USM Passamaquoddy-Maliseet language courses, as well as several studies showing the efficacy of music as an instructional tool. This method was applied with original Passamaquoddy-Maliseet songs recorded by the client group and an animation of one of the songs. The process of creating a comprehensive translation that did not misrepresent the source material added an unanticipated level of complexity and became one of the primary goals of the project.