About Carol Rose

Carol Rose Little graduated from McGill University in the Joint Honours Programme in Linguistics and Russian Studies in 2012. She began studying Mi'gmaq in the fall of 2011 for a field methods class. Her interests include Algonquian morphosyntax and evidentiality. So far she has spent summers 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 on Listuguj Mi'gmaq First Nations Reserve studying Mi'gmaq and doing linguistic fieldwork.

Dual forms — English had them too!

Anyone who is familiar with Mi’gmaq verb paradigms will recall the dizzingly large number of conjugations. Some forms that learners struggle to grasp are the dual and plural forms. The dual form is used when referring to two things and the plural, for three or more. This surfaces on verb endings. For example, the tongue twister migjigjg mijjijig means two turtles are eating. This is conveyed by the -jig verb ending (bolded). If three or more turtles were eating, it would be migjigjg mijjultijig.

Many English speakers, however, will be surprised to find that English had dual forms too! Old(e) English, that is. They were rare, even for the time, but a millennium ago English speakers distinguished between dual and plural in pronouns. Modern English first person plural form we comes from the Old English plural form, . The dual form of first person, wit, fell out of usage by the time Middle English had evolved. The plural form of ‘you’, gē, and the dual, git, were also used when addressing people directly. Though, today you wouldn’t want to refer any two people with the Old English dual form!

This is just one such instance of the underlying similarities between languages of completely different families. Though English and Mi’gmaq are very different in terms of grammar and lexicon, they do have some things in common. Or, at least, they did.

New Pages Added to the Grammar Wiki

There have been some recent developments on the Mi’gmaq grammar wiki. These include the addition of two new pages.

One new page in the works is a subpage of the Mi’gmaq tense page. In light of the recent presentation at the 45th Algonquian Conference (Little, 2013), I have created a new page on Evidentiality in Mi’gmaq. Evidentiality is the grammatical marking of information source. This page includes an overlay of the evidentiality system in Mi’gmaq. This page indicates that are two clear evidentiality markers–direct and indirect. The direct evidentiality marker is used for information that the speaker is certain about or has witnessed firsthand. The indirect marker is used for when the speaker is unsure of the information or when he has witnessed this second-hand. It is also used in questions in the past tense. Nota bene: this page is still under construction! Stay tuned for more!

I have also included a page devoted to Conversational Mi’gmaq. This page has the essentials of Mi’gmaq conversation, i.e. from hello/goodbye to what is your name/where are you from,  and how to respond to such questions. This page can be found from the main page of the wiki. This section, too, is still under construction. The intended use for this page is for those interested in getting a jump-start in their Mi’gmaq learning. Knowing these phrases will help anyone wanting to learn ‘nnueiei tli’suti [the Native language]! 

As the wiki is always under new developments, any suggestions, corrections or advice will always be greatly appreciated. So please do not hesitate to comment if you see any mistakes or if you would like to see a certain topic addressed!

45th Algonquian Conference Highlights

Mi’gmaq Research Partnership members were well represented at this year’s 45th Algonquian Conference at University of Ottawa in the Canadian national capital. Here is the conference round-up:

Mary Ann Metallic receives LSA’s Excellence in Community Linguistics Award

Mary Ann Metallic, Mi’gmaq language teacher at Listuguj Education Directorate, receives LSA’s Excellence in Community Linguistics Award. The LSA writes:

Mary Ann Metallic has done exemplary work to revitalize the Mi’gmaq language in her home community of Listuguj, Quebec. Her infectious passion for Mi’gmaq has led to the development of a successful teaching program, and her work with linguists has resulted in significant contributions to language documentation and linguistic theory.

The annual LSA meeting will be held in Minneapolis, MN January 2-5, 2014. Mary Ann and her daughter, Janine, will be traveling there. Congratulations Mary Ann!

Courses at LED and the Mi’gmaq Language Summer Workshop

Mi’gmaq language classes have started this week at the Listuguj Education Directorate. Supposed to be three days a week, students have requested a fourth day in order to improve their language skills. Classes are off to a wonderful start! Wellugutioq ms’t wen!

Listuguj Education Directorate and the McGill Linguistics department will host a Mi’gmaq Language Summer workshop. See the new Mi’gmaq Language Summer Workshop page for more information.


Let’s Learn the Native Language – ‘Nnu’gina’masultinej!

MaryAnn just launched the Facebook page ‘Nnu’gina’masultinej. There are a wealth of references to help learners improve their Mi’gmaw. Pictures from her classroom as well as grammatical explanations will be updated throughout Mi’gmaw classes. Stay tuned for more information. We invite everyone to like and follow it! ‘Nnugina’masultinej!

Computational Field Workshop at McGill

Hisako and Gina presenting about LingSync during day 1 of the work shop.

Hisako and Gina presenting about LingSync during day 1 of the work shop.

Today concluded the two day Computational Field Workshop at McGill University. Plenary speaker Alexis Palmer joined from Saarland University, Germany to talk about her work using computational tools for low-resource languages.

iLanguage Lab along with its collaborators and interns, Hisako Noguchi, Carol Little, Josh Horner, Tobin Skinner, and Louisa Bielig, presented their work in developing the Google Chrome extension and Android App, LingSync. This is particularly useful for field linguists as it store all field data in one secure, customizable, and easy-to-use app. A morning tutorial for the workshop participants was held where they were able to test this app out with data from Quechua.

Erin Olson presenting her work with the Prosody Lab's forced aligner on day 2 of the workshop.

Erin Olson explaining her work with the Prosody Lab’s aligner on day 2 of the workshop.

Robert Henderson also shared his work on using computational tools to clean and analyze texts from SIL bibles translated into Kaqchikel for his work on demonstrative pronouns.

Erin Olson presented her work on using the Prosody Lab’s aligner which aligns text to sound files in Praat. This is a useful tool as it can speed up annotating processes. Scripts for the Prosody Lab Aligner can be found here.

All slides and information from this workshop can be found on the Computational Field Workshop website.

In addition to these great tools, Elise McClay in collaboration with iLanguage Lab is developing a Learn [language] app. This app, still a prototype, will be able to be used in conjunction with LingSync to create customizable languages lessons for any language. Currently there is an example Mi’gmaq lesson on this app. More on this can be found at the Canadian Linguistics Association conference at the University of Victoria, BC. See programme here.

Computational tools, like the aforementioned, can facilitate and accelerate collection and analysis of data from the field. Used in conjunction with native speakers and other researchers such tools can lead to not only better linguistics explanations but also transparency of the research for all parties involved.

Elise, Mike, Erin, and Carol go to Listuguj

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.

Tour of Nawahi, a Hawaiian language total immersion school

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

School Grounds at Nawahi Hawaiian language immersion school where students learn to tend to plants, many times using Hawaiian practices.

Pigpens at Nawahi

Students not only learn subjects like math and history but also how to take care of pigs and plants.

Pineapple plants at Nawahi

Pineapple plants growing on the school grounds at the Nawahi school.


Elise, Jessica, and Carol at the 3rd ICLDC at University of Hawai’i

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

Elise McClay and Carol Little with poster at ICLDC 2013