Dr. Finney's thesis “will be a major contribution to community language efforts.”

Patrick Moore

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Dr. Kelli Finney receives Dean’s Convocation Medal

As one of SFU's most outstanding graduate students from the Department of Linguistics in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Dr. Kelli Finney is recognized with the Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal. On behalf of SFU, we congratulate Dr. Finney on her outstanding achievements.

By Sarah Close-Humayun
June 01, 2022

Dr. Finney’s thesis, “Negotiating Meaning in X̱aad Kíl”, takes a conversation analysis approach to X̱aad Kíl (Northern Haida) with the addition of valuable commentary and context explanations from Elder Lawrence Bell, one of the last two birth speakers of X̱aad Kíl. Dr. Finney provides an in-depth study of the language derived from archived conversations, speeches and stories, as well as examines the use of critical phrases such as “oh dear!” or “poor thing!” which provide a comprehensive view of a culturally rich speech for future learners.

Dr. Finney’s contribution extends well beyond her written thesis. Along with many academic achievements and publications, Dr. Finney was the recipient of a CERi Faculty-Student Research Grant, American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) Indigenous Scholar Support Fund Award, and SFU Community Trust Endowment Fund Award (CTEF).

Dr. Patrick Moore of the Department of Anthropology at UBC and external examiner for Dr. Finney, describes her thesis as a, “fine piece of work that will be a major contribution to community language efforts.”

Of her time at SFU, Dr. Finney says “I was fortunate that my supervisor, Marianne Ignace, gave me the opportunity and freedom to explore this interesting—and challenging!—topic, and that I had a very supportive committee. Working on a project with direct application to community language revitalization efforts was very rewarding, and I’m honoured to receive this recognition for my work.”

Dr. Finney continues her work with X̠aad Kíl in a Postdoctoral Associate role as a part of a National Science Foundation grant awarded to Sealaska Heritage Institute.

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