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Syracuse University
Richard Dauenhauer dies at 72; scholar of Tlingit language, culture
Richard Dauenhauer dies at 72; scholar of Tlingit language, culture

A fish doesn't jump in Tlingit, the native language of indigenous people of Southeast Alaska. It performs a feat no word in English can adequately express. The verb in Tlingit captures the instant when a fish breaks the surface, the sequence of sounds as it rises and the spray of water that spreads around it. That some modern-day Alaskans get frustrated as they search for English equivalents can be attributed in part to the work of Richard Dauenhauer, a linguist, anthropologist, playwright and former Alaska poet laureate who died Tuesday of cancer in Juneau, Alaska. Dauenhauer, 72, made recording, transcribing and advocating for the Tlingit language his life's work. He...

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