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.