Archive for the ‘Kaska (kkz)’ Category

“We Are Our Language”

3 July 2012

Published last year, “We Are Our Language: An Ethnography of Language Revitalization in a Northern Athabaskan Community” is a volume by Barbra A. Meek, associate professor of anthropology and linguistics at the University of Michigan.

According to the book’s page,

The process must mend rips and tears in the social fabric of the language community that result from an enduring colonial history focused on termination. These “disjunctures” include government policies conflicting with community goals, widely varying teaching methods and generational viewpoints, and even clashing ideologies within the language community.

The language that is the focus of the book is Kaska (kkz), a language spoken in the Yukon Territory and British Columbia. According to a review by Patrick Moore in last fall’s edition of Anthropological Linguistics, the book discusses how focusing on elders in revitalization alienates younger speakers.

Google previews of the book are available at “We Are Our Language.” The table of contents are:

  • Ruptured: Kaska in Context
  • Endangered Languages and the Process of Language Revitalization
  • Growing Up Endangered
  • Manufacturing Legitimate Languages
  • “We Are Our Language”: The Political Discourses of Language Endangerment
  • From Revitalization to Socialization: Disjuncture and Beyond
 This book is the part of a series titled “First Peoples: New Directions in Indigenous Studies,” a collaboration of four university presses.
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Coyote Papers Filled with Navajo

3 April 2011

As graduate students work toward their degrees, an important step in becoming a recognized scholar is the publication of articles (often called monographs). To help with this, linguistics departments may have a publication that graduate students can publish their working papers (papers in progress) in.

At the University of Arizona, US, the working papers journal for linguistics is called the “Coyote Papers.” Many of the monographs are available online, including the entire 2008 edition, which has six articles, all with a focus on indigenous languages: five featuring Navajo (nav) and one on the Athabaskan language family. (The Athabaskan family has a northern and southern branch as well as some languages on the Pacific Coast.)

The contents of the 2010 edition, volume 16, are:

  • Introduction to Navajo Language Studies – Amy V. Fountain
  • An Optimality-Theoretic Analysis of Navajo Sibilant Harmony – Stacey Oberly
  • Tone, Intonation, Stress and Duration in Navajo – Emily Kidder
  • Evidentiality in Athabaskan – Ferdinand de Haan
  • A Unification of Indo-European Aktionsart and Navajo Verb Theme Categories –
    Sumayya Racy
  • An Experiment in Computational Parsing of the Navajo Verb – Mans Hulden and Shannon T. Bischoff

Although the more recent 2010 edition and some other recent editions do not have topics on endangered languages, the 2004 edition is dedicated to American indigenous languages. Languages featured include: Aymara (family), Capanahua (kaq), the Ehe dialect of Kurripako (Maipurean (kpc)), Kaska (kkz), Nez Perce (nez) and Southern Ute (ute). Also, Erin Haynes has an article titled, “Obstacles Facing Tribal Language Programs in Warm Spring, Klamath, and Grand Ronde.”

For a full list of all the editions, see “Coyote Papers:Working Papers in Linguistics.”

First Nations Language Proficiency Certificate Program

21 March 2011

In Canada, Simon Fraser University, an institution with a First Nations Studies Program, has partnered with the First Nations Programs and Partnerships Unit of the Yukon Department of Education to create a certificate program focused on local languages.

Located in northwest Canada and formerly known as “Yukon Territory”, Yukon is home to eight First Nations languages (YFNPPU). Most have more than one dialect and all are endangered. They are:

In the program, students take linguistics courses geared toward local languages and work toward fluency in a First Nation language through the master apprentice approach. Completion of the program requires 30 credit hours of course work. The brochure says this program would be beneficial to language instructors, administrators, language specialists and those who wish to enhance their language skills, among others.