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Former MSU president publishes dictionary to help preserve language of California tribe

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By Carol Schmidt MSU NEWS SERVICE

BOZEMAN – A project that retired Montana State University President Geoffrey Gamble launched nearly 50 years ago may help preserve the language of a California Indian tribe that has all but disappeared.

Gamble, a linguist who served as MSU’s 11th president from 2000 to 2009, has just published a dictionary of the language of the Wikchamni people of California’s southern San Joaquin Valley, a tribe with a declining population that has only one native speaker remaining.

It is a 50-year labor of love for Gamble, who first began on the project in 1969 while he was working in a master’s program at Fresno State College. He worked on the dictionary in spare moments throughout a career that evolved from anthropology professor to college administrator to university president.

To learn more about the Wikchamni project go to wikchamnidictionary.library.fresnostate.edu. Visit montana.edu/news/19526 to read the complete story.

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