Indian linguist teaches Haida language—and learns it in the process

March 21, 2016

A distinguished linguist and scholar who studies dying languages in her native India is teaching a Simon Fraser University field linguistics course to help students acquire the tools to analyze, document and help preserve an endangered B.C. First Nations language.

With the help of a local Haida speaker, professor Anvita Abbi is teaching the course in her role as SFU’s first Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) visiting scholar. The course explores the phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics of Haida, a B.C. First Nations coastal language. It is also proving a learning experience for Abbi, who had no experience with the Haida language before starting the course.