Linguistics of a First Nations Language
The Graduate Certificate in a First Nations Language offers training to students for careers as language researchers, post-secondary educators, and material developers. Students gain expertise in communicative skills, language documentation and analysis of a particular First Nations language. Some cohorts will be entirely devoted to a single language (e.g. Hul'q'umi'num'), while others will be mixed-language cohorts focusing on work by individual students or groups of students on a particular language, but supplemented by material applicable to all the languages of the cohort (e.g. Xaad Kil, Secwepemctsin, and Tahltan). Emphasis will be placed on the language in its socio-cultural and educational setting. The learning model integrates Indigenous Ways of Knowing with linguistic analysis and documentation, featuring mentorship and participation in projects in addition to formal lectures and paper writing. Courses are taught by a team of Elders and knowledge holders and academic experts on the language.
The cohort programs will be offered on site in the First Nations language community, or through a combination of on-campus and community-based course modules. In order to accommodate the work schedules of participants who are language teachers in public schools, or who are otherwise fully employed, courses will be offered in late afternoons, evenings, during summer breaks.
Applicants will be required to meet the minimum University requirements for a Graduate Certificate as per GGR 1.3.4. In addition, applicants must be fluent speakers of the language (as assessed by a panel of Elders); or be semi-fluent speakers who have completed the Certificate in First Nations Language Proficiency at SFU with a CGPA of at least 2.5. Also admissible are students who have completed a B.A. or B.Ed, and have studied both the language and some linguistics. All applicants must provide a portfolio containing evidence of being a language specialist, providing examples of products created or projects completed, with role or contribution specified.
Under exceptional circumstances, individuals who have not completed a bachelor's degree with a CGPA of 2.5 may be considered for admission as per GGR 1.3.4. In this situation, individuals MUST have significant experience and demonstrated expertise in working on the language in the community as a language specialist. This expertise MUST be demonstrated through: a) Academic writing: course papers, conference presentations, journal articles, research reports, proposal submissions, journals; b) Language materials: video and audio tapes, CD's, DVD's, lesson plans, curriculum, translations, transcriptions of taped interviews, stories or other materials produced in the language, transcriptions of taped interviews, reference materials; and c) Professional training: Description of mentorship or research assistantships with linguists, educators, anthropologists, ethnobotanists; workshops and conferences attended. Other pertinent information will be considered.
Students complete at least four courses (15 units) of approved graduate coursework on linguistic methodology, the linguistic structure of a particular language, and the sociocultural or education setting of First Nations languages. Students must achieve a 2.5 CGPA in these courses to graduate.
Students must complete a minimum of 15 units from the following courses to be determined in consultation with their supervisory committee.
Students elicit, transcribe, organize, and analyze linguistic data collected from a native speaker of an unfamiliar, understudied, and often-unwritten language.
An introduction to the phonetics and phonology of a particular First Nations Language, with special reference to pronunciation and perception.
An introduction to the morphology and syntax of a particular First Nations Language, with special reference to sentence structure and word architecture.
Transcription, creation, and analysis of the rhetorical and discourse structure of narratives in a First Nations language.
An investigation of a particular First Nations language in its cultural, social, and cognitive context. Topics include: areal features, language families and dialects of Northwest languages, contact linguistics, gender, numeral classification, kin terms, anchoring language in time and space, expressing speaker’s viewpoint, oral traditions, place names, and ethnobiology.
Theoretical and practical aspects of teaching and learning First Nations languages. Topics include an overview of innovative methods and the development of materials that enrich the language learning environment, with examples from multiple indigenous languages.
Students are expected to complete the program requirements in three terms.
Academic Requirements within the Graduate General Regulations
All graduate students must satisfy the academic requirements that are specified in the Graduate General Regulations, as well as the specific requirements for the program in which they are enrolled.