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Native Languages Research Guide

This guide provides resources for researching Native and Indigenous languages and supports NAIS 0100 - Learning our Native Languages.

Searching in BruKnow

The first place to begin searching for Native language resources at Brown is in the online catalog, called BruKnow, which is accessible through the library's home page.

For a general introduction to BruKnow, please see visit the library guide on BruKnow: The Brown Library Catalog.

The library also maintains an introductory guide on finding information which provides tutorials for finding articles and specialized databases. 

Build a strong search

A good search term is the key to effectively and rapidly finding information.  Here are some tips:

  •  Be specific. Consider including synonyms for a specific terminology.  For example, the term ‘syllables’ is more precise than 'speech sounds'. 
  •  Link your terms in specific ways. Using AND, OR, NOT can structure the search engines' assumptions about the order in which the terms should appear in a webpage.  For example: Pitch movement AND Intonation
  • Consider using the Search Guide or Help available in databases.


Advanced Search Suggestions

The Advanced Search option in BruKnow offers additional options for searching. Below are some suggesting for performing searches for Indigenous language materials using the advanced search option.

The Library of Congress (LOC) maintains lists of official terminologies used across the majority of libraries for describing collections materials. It is important to keep in mind that these LOC terminologies may not align with how Native nations and community members describe themselves today. You may also want to use alternate spellings for Nation or language names (Ojibwa, Ojibwe or Ojibway, for example) when searching. 

Search by Subject In an advanced search, under the search filters heading, select  subject from the drop-down menu to search by language family or group. Below are some examples of words or phrases terms to use in a subject search. This list is not exhaustive.

  • Algonquian languages
  • Anthropological linguistics
  • Cherokee language
  • Conversation and phrase books
  • Grammar
  • Dictionaries
  • Massachuset language
  • Michif language
  • Ojibwa language
  • Phonology
  • Vocabulary

Search for additional approved Library of Congress subject headings on the LCSH search page.

Additional Resources for Searching

You may wish to consult additional resources that address different spellings for nation names, historic race and ethnicity keywords to try, alternate name spellings, and more. Below are links to some helpful resources.