From April 16th to 19th, Elise, Mike, Erin, and Carol went to Listuguj to talk about the future endeavours of the Mi’gmaq Research Partnership. Mike collected Mi’gmaw data for his work with the help of many patient and diligent Listuguj Education Directorate collaborators. Elise, Carol, and Erin discussed further developments for digital supports, resources, references for the Mi’gmaw language classes taught at the LED. These digital supports will enable learners to practice Mi’gmaw remotely. Resources like the wiki page are readily available to those wishing to know more of the structure of the language. One digital support, CAN 8, has already been implemented in Mi’gmaw classes in the region. The McGill collaborators visited Sugarloaf Senior High School where CAN 8 is being used in the Mi’gmaw classroom. The students gave positive feedback about this program.
Carol will have the opportunity to work further on projects like CAN 8 as well as continuing to collaborate with LED teachers for course curricula documentation on site this summer. Elise will also be making trips to Listuguj working on digital supports as well as references and resources for learners and speakers alike.
In May, many members of the Mi’gmaq Research Partnership (MRP) will be going to the L’nui’sultinej Conference in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. There will be an hour long workshop on Student Perspectives on Mi’gmaq Language-Learning through Multi-Modal Teaching given by members of the MRP discussing how linguists, learners, and speakers can collaborate inside and outside of the language classroom. See Elise’s post for more information.
Ke Kula Mauli Ola Hawaiʻi ʻO Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu, or Living Hawaiian Life-Force School, is located in Keaʻau, Hawaiʻi. Elise McClay and Carol Little had the opportunity to tour this school on March 4th. The school is like any other school you would find in the United States, except that all courses are taught in the Hawaiian language. Oh, and not to forget that in the school playground are pineapple gardens and pigpens. This school teaches their students all subjects from Math to Social Studies to History to Japanese using the Hawaiian language. English, which is introduced in the 6th grade, is taught in English, however.
The school opened its doors in the 1980s. At this time, there were only a handful of speakers of the Hawaiian language and only about 45 under the age of 18. The Hawaiian language was falling into near extinction. Dedicated and devoted teachers promoted the usage of the Hawaiian language at this school. Now, there are around 300 students who matriculate there, many students having attended since kindergarten or pre-school. Throughout the hallways, students of all ages can be heard chattering in Hawaiian. The classrooms are full of posters and pictures with Hawaiian text. Some students of Nawahi now use Hawaiian at home as their primary language, after having learned it at school. Many students say they will raise their children in this language and hope that their children can also attend a Hawaiian language immersion school.
It was truly an enlightening and empowering experience to see such a successful language revitalization program. This does not happen over night, though. Many of the teachers have been there from the beginning and can attest to the many hardships they encountered and overcome which ultimately led to its success.
School Grounds at Nawahi Hawaiian language immersion school where students learn to tend to plants, many times using Hawaiian practices.
Students not only learn subjects like math and history but also how to take care of pigs and plants.
Pineapple plants growing on the school grounds at the Nawahi school.
Elise, Carol, and Jessica set off a few days ago to present Student Perspectives on Mi’gmaq Language-Learning through Multi-Modal Teaching: A Community-Linguistics Partnership, a collaborative work by Elise McClay, Carol Little, Mary-Beth Wysote, Madeleine Metallic, Sarah Vicaire, Travis Wysote, Janine Metallic, and Jessica Coon. They presented this poster at the 3rd International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation held in Honolulu at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. The theme of this year’s conference is “Sharing Worlds of Knowledge”. People from around the world come to present what they are doing in the realm of language documentation and conservation. Researchers, linguists, teachers, even botanists and physicists, come to learn, share, and contribute their research and perspectives making this truly an interdisciplinary platform for language documentation and conservation.
Elise McClay and Carol Little with poster at ICLDC 2013
Every Thursday from 10:30 to 11:30, Algonquian Reading Group meets in room 117 in the McGill Linguistics Building located on 1085 Dr. Penfield. Those interested meet to discuss papers on Algonquian linguistics.
This Thursday January 31, Alan Bale will be presenting Murray’s 2012 paper on Quantificational and Illocutionary Variability in Cheyenne.
Please contact email@example.com if you would like to be added to the Algonquian Reading Group mailing list.
This October was the 44th Algonquian Conference at the University of Chicago. Many of our Mi’gmaq Research Partnership members presented.
Alan Bale and Jessica Coon presented “Classifiers are for numerals, not nouns: Evidence from Mi’gmaq and Chol.” at the 43rd Northeast Linguistics Society (NELS) in New York, NY where Alan also had a poster presentation of “Agreement without AGREE: Disjunction in Mi’gmaq.”
More recently Mike and Gretchen both presented at The 2012-3 Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Indigenous Languages of the Americas (SSILA) in Boston, MA. Mike presented “Against Non-configurationality in Mi’gmaq” and Gretchen “Preverb Ordering in Mi’gmaq”
And stay tuned for Elise and Carol’s poster presentation of “Student perspectives on Mi’gmaq language-learning through multi-modal teaching: A community-linguistics partnership” at the University of Hawai’i's at the 3rd International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation on February 28th.
In this Huffington Post article, 25-year-old Clyde Tallio of British Columbia leads the reclamation of the Nuxalk language. He has been teaching Nuxalk at the community’s school for five years. He believes there is an ever increasing interest especially among the youth to learn Nuxalk.
Similar efforts have been happening with Squamish, also in BC. Finding that traditional language classes in school were not creating speakers, Dustin Rivers began hosting Language Nights. During these Language Nights, participants have an opportunity to practice and learn Squamish in a “informal, collaborative environment”.
22-year-old Dustin says: ”There’s a lot of benefit in reclaiming our culture and saying for ourselves that we have problems, but we’re going to solve them and our culture and traditional values are going to lead us in finding these solutions.”
The above is a TED talk about why listening is extremely important when one wants to help someone. This is a very important thing to keep in mind when trying to help out!
Some information on aboriginal studies:
University of Victoria in offers a certificate in aboriginal language revitalization. The program includes courses on field methods, language and land, linguistics, and indigenous language and culture. The program is comprised of six core courses and three elective courses. Core courses are offered in the spring and summer.
Despite a faulty announcement that an indigenous studies program had been approved at McGill, it is still in the works. However, there is hope that there will be a minor available to students wishing to take this program in the next year. This minor can hopefully be developed into a major. It would be an interdisciplinary program.
There are many universities in Canada that offer aboriginal studies programs. They include: McMaster University, Trent University, and University of British Columbia.
I am currently making some worksheets to supplement Mi’gmaq courses. So far I have done worksheets to practice basic phrases (e.g. Taluisin gi’l? Tami tett wigin?). I also would like some suggestions from those of you who have taken the course and those of you who are just starting out!