First Nations Languages in the Twenty-first Century
Looking Back, Looking Forward

Thanks to a Partnership Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the First Nations Language Centre has begun working in partnership with First Nations organizations across British Columbia on important projects to develop new language teaching tools and to help preserve the region's rich linguistic heritage.

The seven-year project is a partnership between the FNLC and 22 community-based First Nations groups that are dedicated to maintaining and revitalizing indigenous dialects.

Community language practitioners including elders, community linguists, research learners and educators will engage with indigenous and non-indigenous academic researchers to co-produce knowledge and practices that address the challenges of language loss and revitalization.

Specifically, the project will:

  • Develop, share and practice innovative ways of language documentation that combine linguistic and indigenous methodologies and fill gaps in existing data.
  • Conduct linguistic, ethnographic and psychological “language in use” research in First Nations communities among current speakers, semi-speakers and second-language learners to inform new ways of assessing fluency and proficiency.
  • Create interactive digital-media apps for language learning, based on technology developed by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Centre for Hellenic Studies at SFU to produce the acclaimed Odysseas Greek language iPhone and iPad apps.
  • Develop protocols and procedures for the digitization, safe storage and access of language materials.