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  • The low back vowel in mid-coast Maine

    Davidson, Gail (2011-05)
    In mid-coast Maine, the words cod and caught sound like they contain the same vowel phoneme, employing the sound [a], a low back vowel. The word father contains a separate contrasting phoneme, spoken as [a], a low central vowel. This paper attempts to show that this perceived similarity in [a] and difference from [a] is in fact real. Unlike in the area of the Northern Cities Chain Shift, where the sound of the vowels in cod, caught and father all approach [a], the vowel in cod and caught in mid coast Maine remains low and back, occasionally rounded, more often not, while that in father is low and central. Twenty-six current speakers of varying ages, most residents since early childhood, were interviewed to compare these sounds. Each speaker was recorded reading a prepared story and a set of words included in a frame sentence. Formant frequencies for this recorded data were then analyzed. Statistical tests, including t-tests and ANOVAs, were run to compare the vowels and to test the validity of the hypothesis. Normalizing the data for one single vowel sound proved to be unworkable, so men and women were treated separately, as were Narrative and Frame data. The low back vowel was found to be stable in mid-coast Maine, including the same sound in cod and caught, and it was found to contrast with the low central vowel in father. Available historical evidence points to these vowels having been stable in this region for over a hundred years. This contrasts with changes in the vowel sound in the same words in the rest of the United States.
  • A lexical transducer for North Slope Iñupiaq

    Bills, Aric R.; Tuttle, Siri; Levin, Lori; Berge, Anna; Kaplan, Lawrence (2011-05)
    This thesis describes the creation and evaluation of software designed to analyze and generate North Slope Iñupiaq words. Given a complete lñupiaq word as input, it attempts to identify the word's stem and suffixes, including the grammatical category and any inflectional information contained in the word. Given a stem and list of suffixes as input, it attempts to produce the corresponding Iñupiaq word, applying phonological processes as necessary. Innovations in the implementation of this software include Iñupiaq-specific formats for specifying lexical data, including a table-based format for specifying inflectional suffixes in paradigms; a treatment of phonologically-conditioned irregular allomorphy which leverages the pattern-recognition capabilities of the xfst programming language; and an idiom for composing morphographemic rules together in xfst which captures the state of the software each time a new rule is added, maximizing feedback during software compilation and facilitating troubleshooting. In testing, the software recognized 81.2% of all word tokens (78.3% of unique word types) and guessed at the morphology of an additional 16.8% of tokens (19.4% of types). Analyses of recognized words were largely accurate; a heuristic for identifying accurate parses is proposed. Most guesses were at least partly inaccurate. Improvements and applications are proposed.
  • Quliriuralta (Lets keep telling stories): pace model with traditional Yup'ik storytelling in a second grade dual language classroom

    Wassilie, Irene M.; Siekmann, Sabine; Martelle, Wendy; Patterson, Leslie; Samson, Sally (2019-12)
    This research was conducted in a setting where the students are losing their Indigenous language. It is centered around the retention and revitalization of the Yugtun language. The goal of the research was to gain insights into how second graders in a dual language enrichment school constructed meaning and focus on form in their classroom. The instructional model employed as part of this investigation is the PACE Model, which is a story-based approach to teaching grammar through focus on form with an emphasis on meaning making. The model is consistent with Indigenous oral storytelling, cultural values, traditions and expectations. The study involves myself and fourteen second graders in Napaskiak, Alaska. ZJW Memorial School is one of 28 schools in the Lower Kuskokwim School District. Of these fourteen students, only one spoke Yugtun as his first language. The others were immersed into Yugtun as a second language. I implemented the PACE approach over the course of 25 days. Data was gathered through field notes, student artifacts, video and audio recordings. The data reveals that meaning making and building background knowledge can be a challenge for both teacher and students. It also reveals that the teacher should be implementing multimodal approaches to build comprehensible input so that students may produce output in the target language.
  • Developing sociolinguistic awareness through a digital lexicon project in a fifth grade classroom in rural Alaska

    Boynton, Julia F.; Martelle, Wendy; Siekmann, Sabine; Patterson, Leslie (2019-12)
    This teacher action research examines how teachers can build student awareness of language variations in order to help students make meaning during the learning process thus bridging the gap between home discourse and school discourse. In this study students built a digital lexicon using a class generated list of Village English terms that are present in Aniak, Alaska. The purpose of this study was to build students' sociolinguistic awareness through explicit instruction and the Aniak Digital Lexicon project. The findings showed that providing students with explicit instruction helped develop students during their meaning making process and students were able to differentiate between Village English and Standard Academic English. The findings in this research study can be used to inform educators interested in teaching students about language variations and in particular learning about their own dialectal variation of English.
  • Tua'll (and then) I used math to tell a story: Using think alouds to enhance agency and problem solving in an indigenous high school mathematics class

    Boyd, Jennifer Ayaginaar; Patterson, Leslie; Martelle, Wendy; Siekmann, Sabine (2019-12)
    This paper examines action research in a high school math classroom with a focus on student discourse and agency. Students' use of language to explain their problem-solving processes was documented and analyzed. Specifically, the focus was on variations in student language and how the teacher responded to students during the problem-solving process. The following questions guided the analysis of what happened in the classroom: 1) How do my students talk about their math process? 2) How do I mediate their problem solving? One of the teacher researcher's earliest realizations was that she interfered in students' opportunities to problem solve on their own. Additionally, the students' explanations of their "problem-solving process" included more narration than justification or explanation of the process. On reflection, the teacher researcher decided to return to the research process to look further into these interactions while students were problem-solving. The second phase of research focused on student agency and how teachers can mediate for their students. Over a four-week period, the teacher researcher looked at the influences of multiple levels of assistance while each student was talking through his or her problem-solving process. Data sources include field notes, student artifacts, videos of student think aloud videos, and transcriptions of group work from the teacher researcher's classroom. The findings provide detailed insights into how these high school students approach math problems and how they describe and explain their problem-solving processes. The teacher researcher explores implications for teacher actions, insights into how students work together, and observations of students discussing their problem solving. Specifically, the teacher researcher noticed a need for language focus in mathematics instruction. In addition, teachers should problem solve with their students, rather than for their students; and allow students to mediate with each other to develop student agency.
  • Postwar reconciliation: parental attitudes towards Sri Lanka's trilingual education policy

    Malalasekera, Nimasha S.; Marlow, Patrick; Siekmann, Sabine; Martelle, Wendy (2019-08)
    After 26 years, the ethnic-based civil war in Sri Lanka ended in 2009. The Trilingual Education Policy seeks to reconcile the estranged Sinhalese and Tamil communities by teaching each community the other's language in this postwar context. Scholars argue that national reconciliation through Trilingual Education is unlikely to succeed because of the continued mistrust and prejudice between the two communities and the demand for English as key to social mobility and economic prosperity. Since these claims are not supported by empirical evidence, this study seeks to find empirical data to support or counter these claims. The study investigates parental attitudes to their second languages, Sinhala, Tamil, and English, the three languages of the Trilingual Education Policy to understand its likely success. Twenty-one parents whose children receive Sinhala, Tamil, and English L2 tuition in Colombo 5 were selected through convenience sampling. The study uses the constructivist grounded theory, mentalist approach to language attitudes, and concepts of capital and linguicism for data analysis. The study found that Sinhala has capital for the Tamils and is valued and glorified by them, whereas Tamil has no capital for the Sinhalese and is devalued and stigmatized by them. Both groups valorize and glorify English, for it has more capital than Sinhala/Tamil both locally and translocally. Concluding that the Trilingual Education Policy is unlikely to succeed because of linguicism, the study recommends providing incentives for learning Sinhala and Tamil and advocating dual language education for reconciling the two communities.
  • Tomo ni manabu: task-based language teaching in a high school English class in Japan

    Holland, Yoshie; Siekmann, Sabine; Murakami, Chisato; Martelle, Wendy (2019-08)
    Task-based language teaching is a method that emerged in the field of second language acquisition in the U.S. Task-based language teaching facilitates language learning in context. However, there are few examples of research that investigate the applicability of task-based language teaching in classrooms in Japan where constraints such as big class size, college entrance exams, and designated textbooks that follow the national curriculum guidelines are factors. This study investigates the response of a Japanese teacher and 41 high school students in Japan, the students' language development as well as the suitability of task-based language teaching in classrooms in Japan. It also offers some guidance to make task-based language teaching more easily applicable to classrooms in Japan. This mixed method study involved a series of semi-structured interviews with a high school teacher in Japan, class observations of the task-based language teaching lessons, and a pre-test and post-test with surveys for the students. The study found out that the teacher expressed tensions between his current teaching context at that time and the task-based language teaching lesson plan. However, the teacher finished the lesson with a positive attitude towards task-based language teaching. Also, the students learned the grammar focus from the task-based language teaching lesson even though the lesson was not focused on the grammar as much as the traditional teaching. Overall, task-based language teaching in the teaching context worked well where the students worked in groups since it facilitated learning among students. This study also suggests that the teacher and his students adopted task-based language teaching positively and that the specific approach of task-supported language teaching is likely to be most suitable in this teaching context.
  • Multimodal meaning making with culturally responsive images: designing tasks for 6th - 8th grade special education students

    Surman, Audra Ruth Panigacungaq; Siekmann, Sabine; Martelle, Wendy; Patterson, Leslie; Moses, Catherine (2019-05)
    The following study describes the patterns that emerged from collaborative tasks among middle school students within a special education intervention class in rural Alaska. The study integrated the multiliteracies pedagogy, as well as multimodalities and task-based language teaching. The tasks utilized culturally appropriate illustrations to promote collaborative discussion throughout a structured set of five tasks. The research aims to answer the following question: How do sixth through eighth grade students co-construct meaning when doing tasks that incorporate culturally appropriate images? Three students native to the community participated in this study over a two-month period. The tasks were designed around culturally relevant illustrations allowing students to use their funds of knowledge as they collaborated to complete the tasks. The data collection included field notes, class artifacts, video and audio recordings, and student interviews. The data presented multimodal events where students utilized their semiotic resources and funds of knowledge to make meaning during each task. The analysis revealed telling incidents of multimodal meaning making moments where culturally relevant resources support the application of funds of knowledge. The analysis also uncovered critical insights for the task design variables which can impact the ending outcome and final product of a task. As a result, I encourage the use of open-ended tasks addressing multimodal teaching to encourage culturally relevant meaning making moments, particularly within special education settings.
  • Two old women: culturally relevant literature discussions in the 4th grade

    Starr, Georgianna B.; Martelle, Wendy; Siekmann, Sabine; Patterson, Leslie (2019-05)
    Two Old Women: Literature Discussions in the 4th Grade is a teacher action research study exploring the connections between the reading of culturally relevant texts, and the relationship between the roles of the teacher and students. As a teacher at the Alaska Native Cultural Charter School in the Anchorage School District, I strive to include culturally rich Indigenous literature in the classroom so students can experience traditional oral narratives in a written format. Our school strives to build student excellence through traditional cultural learning with a focus on Alaska Native Values, and this thematic story by Velma Wallis encompasses those traditions. In this teacher action research study, I collected data through audio recordings, video recordings, student artifacts, and a teacher journal in a span of eight weeks. These data were analyzed using the constructivist grounded theory. I found that utilizing a culturally relevant text in a western format allows students the opportunity to learn about culture, traditions, and how these continue to shape ideas and thinking today. Through this research, I found that using culturally relevant literature allowed students to access their funds of knowledge, but this process takes time and practice between teacher and students. The students stated that they loved this book and ultimately, they read some common truths about themselves and their community.
  • Slowing down: how collaborative pairs support meaning making and the writing process in an elementary classroom

    Short, Kelsey; Martelle, Wendy; Siekmann, Sabine; Patterson, Leslie (2019-05)
    The teacher action research study was conducted within a third-grade classroom. The participants of the study were eight English Language learners who worked in pairs to write a retelling of a storybook. The need for this research developed from observations made by the classroom teacher focusing around the animated oral storytelling of her students and how that joy did not translate to writing. Data was collected in the forms of video and audio recordings, student samples and a research journal. The study attempted to discover what decisions students made as they focused on their written retelling in a collaborative pair. Increasing interaction between students became a main focus of the study and the ideas of sociocultural theory were the main themes that drove the analysis of this research. The study showed that students utilized a variety of mediational tools available to them as they made meaning and participated in collaborative dialogue. They also spent time supporting each other by utilizing those mediational tools to increase the success of their retelling, as well as by giving social support when their partner was flustered or overwhelmed.
  • Can I tell you what really happened?: learning to make decisions in response to indigenous student voice in a high school language arts classroom

    Rushman, Alyssa M.; Patterson, Leslie; Siekmann, Sabine; Martelle, Wendy (2019-05)
    This study focuses on engaging high school students in reading and the decisions I make to sustain that engagement. I learned that one way to enhance the engagement in my classroom is to listen to my students' stories and to incorporate culturally relevant texts. All of the students in this study were previously in our school's language intervention program: Read 180. While teaching this intervention-based class, I noticed this class was a behavior management nightmare. The students' challenging behavior led me to question the intervention program's ability to sustain my students' engagement through the prescribed texts. This study aims to describe my observations in a 10th grade Language Arts II class in Chefornak, Alaska. Specifically, this thesis describes my findings and analysis as it relates to how students show engagement and how I make (and revise) decisions in response to my students' voices. I used teacher action research (TAR) to research the events in my classroom. During an 11-week period, I collected audio recordings, student work samples, and teacher action research journal entries. At the end of the research, I also wrote memos about the data. I used constructive grounded theory (CGT) to make sense of the story the data tells and to see what kind of patterns were present. This research is important to me because it helps me to understand the weaknesses and the strengths in my own instructional planning as well as how I interpret students' participation in class. After this research, I am convinced that learning outcomes are preceded by learner engagement, and that learner engagement is complex.
  • Adult ancestral language learning and effects on identity

    Peter, Hishinlai' R.; Siekmann, Sabine; Koester, David; Marlow, Patrick; Sims, Christine (2019-05)
    This qualitative study explored the relationship between Gwich'in adult language learning and identity development. Identity is dynamic, fluid and reflects how a person positions themselves and is positioned by others. A person's sense of self influences their feelings, actions, and behaviors. Using grounded theory as an analytical tool and activity theory as a theoretical lens, this study offers self-as-a leading activity as a way to conceptualize the identity formation of two adult Gwich'in language learners. The way a person looks is not a factor in Gwich'in identity, and also to claim the identity of being Gwich'in, one does not have to know the language. There are other strong identity markers, such as cultural knowledge, knowing who your ancestors were and where you came from. However, those who are learning the Gwich'in language feel a stronger connection to gain deeper insights into the Gwich'in worldview. The final outcome of this research are the implications of Activity Theory, which can be used as an analytical tool. Using Activity Theory can help explain for language learners and others, the rules, division of labor, and help identify tensions or contradictions between what the community want to see happen for language learning. The data in this research identifies tensions or contradictions that the main participants experienced, such as the need for positive support, language usage, and practicing to gain proficiency.
  • More than words: co-constructive dialogue as a strategy for technical, academic language acquisition (TALA) in an indigenous, middle school science classroom

    Ladwig, Joachim H.; Patterson, Leslie; Siekmann, Sabine; Martelle, Wendy (2019-05)
    This teacher action research study investigated how secondary science students respond to small group co-construction activities designed to help them produce collaborative summaries of scientific information. The principle research question guiding this study asks, "How do middle school students engage in content learning and in the use of technical academic language (TAL) during a science writer's workshop?" Building upon the work of previous investigators I studied how emerging bilingual Grade 8 students participated in a science writer's workshop as they co-constructed written summaries in small groups. After initial instruction about the science content, participants worked in table groups to begin their summaries and become comfortable with the process. Participants were regrouped for the final phases of the workshop as they revised their earlier work. Twelve classroom sessions were digitally recorded and from them 25 language-related episodes (LREs) from two small groups were identified for further investigation. LREs were transcribed and analyzed for patterns of student interaction and then correlated with students' written summaries. These deeper interaction patterns became the targeted categories of this investigation: teaming; going beyond the content; and disagreeing. Each of these patterns provide different opportunities for students to learn more about the science content and to use scientific language. The extra time for this collaboration allowed for more TAL usage and seemed to make a meaningful difference in these students' final writings. Further, analysis reveals that TALA is a complex sociocultural process and that the dialogic process inherent in the science writer's workshop is more important than the words alone. In this context, dialogue about science in the context of the science writer's workshop supported both content learning and the acquisition of TAL for these emergent bilingual middle school students.
  • The suitcase project: a journey in multimodal reading of graphic novels with emergent bilingual fourth grade students

    Ashe, Kayla; Siekmann, Sabine; Martelle, Wendy; Patterson, Leslie (2019-05)
    This teacher action research focuses on how three fourth grade students interact and make meaning as they read the graphic novel, Amulet. While reading from the graphic novel, students engaged in the reading as design process to make meaning. These three students are Yup'ik students enrolled in a dual language school. Students interacted with peers and different modalities of meaning as they engaged in the meaning-making process. Data sources include a teacher research journal, audio recordings of readings and discussions, and students' reader response journals. Data analysis followed constructivist grounded theory. As there were various types of data collected and a multimodal text was used, multimodal data analysis was used to interpret the relationship across the various modes used in the study. Three main findings emerged from the data: 1. Vocabulary can be learned through multiple modes. 2. Students used words to mediate meaning socially and in a private manner. 3. Combined visuals and text support meaning making. These findings led to the conclusion that meaning making and research are both multimodal. The findings also reveal how emergent bilingual students were active meaning-makers and could read and respond to a graphic novel successfully. At times, writing prompts were used. While students designed meaning with multimodal texts, the writing prompts constricted their responses to certain topics, such as setting and characters, and did not allow for students to continue designing meaning in their own ways. Students were able to continue designing their own meaning when responding to the text in a natural, multimodal way without prompts constricting thoughts relating to the text.
  • Pitch and voice quality: acoustic evidence for tone in lower Koyukon

    Alden, McKinley R.; Tuttle, Siri; Cooper, Burns; Shoaps, Robin (2019-05)
    This thesis addresses the acoustic realization of tone in the Lower dialect of the Koyukon language. The Lower dialect is the only one of the three Koyukon dialects attested to have tone. Its exact nature, however, remains unclear. This study seeks to corroborate previous attestations of low tone in Lower Koyukon by providing acoustic evidence of its realization. Therefore, there are three primary objectives: a) to determine how tone is produced in Lower Koyukon with respect to pitch; b) to examine any interactions between tone and potential pitch-altering phenomena; and c) to determine the realization of creaky phonation during tone production, if such exists. All of the data for this study was gathered from a single consultant, a fluent Lower Koyukon speaker. Three elicitation strategies were employed. First, a game of bingo was developed from a list of words predicted to carry a tonal syllable. Second, the consultant was asked to teach the researcher how to pronounce a series of short phrases and sentences that contained a word with a tonal syllable. Finally, the researcher selected a story written in Koyukon for the consultant to read aloud. During the analytical process, each word predicted to carry tone was compared to both a control set of non-tonal words and a set of words that may or may not carry tone. The only statistically significant difference was that the set of tokens predicted to carry tone had higher measures of creak than the control set. As creaky voice is inherently linked to tone production, this finding supports previous attestations of tone. However, both quantitative and qualitative methods were employed for this study, and several examples are cited which show both that there is a significant pitch change on syllables predicted to carry tone. Moreover, it appears that that this pitch rises. The implications of this study are therefore that tone is present in modern Lower Koyukon, and that this tone may by high, rather than low, as has been previously claimed.
  • "Something that not everybody has": parents' reasons for enrolling in Spanish immersion program

    Schimmack, Danya; Siekmann, Sabine; Marlow, Patrick; Martelle, Wendy (2018-08)
    Immersion programs are a form of bilingual education where content classes are taught in a second language. Immersion programs are generally optional choices which means that parents must make the conscious decision to enroll their children in the specific program. Thus, my research question: why do parents decide to enroll their children in the Spanish Immersion Program of Chugiak, Alaska? This research question and site were selected based on my own experience as a learner in the program and my personal curiosity towards my own parents' enrollment decisions. This study involved semi-structured interviews with twelve parents, including my own parents, focusing on their reasons for enrolling their children in the Spanish Immersion Program in Chugiak. Findings reflected the general benefits of bilingualism including: academic, cognitive, and social. Participants also noted that the program helped expose their children to other cultures and to have a better understanding of diversity. Several parents also stated that the immersion program would provide their children with a unique and valuable experience that would lead to future opportunities. These findings can help inform other parents that are in the process of deciding where to enroll their children. The findings can also inform schools about what prospective parents value when they are considering different school options.
  • Tangerqengiaraucaraq (being present)

    John-Shields, Agatha; Siekmann, Sabine; Parker-Webster, Joan; Barnhardt, Raymond; Vinlove, Amy (2018-08)
    This qualitative, participatory action research was conducted to investigate the following research questions: What are the attitudes of the teachers in ESDY 630: Language, Culture and Teaching in Secondary Schools class toward culturally responsive teaching and learning? How does participating in ESDY 630: Language, Culture and Teaching in Secondary Schools class affect attitudes of the educators? How do educators co-construct the relationship between standards and culturally responsive teaching and learning? Data were gathered from five pre-service teachers in the University of Alaska Anchorage Master of Arts in Teaching program in a 2-credit Language, Culture, and Teaching in Secondary Schools class. Data consisted of class recordings, student artifacts, teacher researcher journal and informal interviews. The data were analyzed using Constructive Grounded Theory framework. Tangerqengiaraucaraq (Being Present) emerged as a key concept based on the themes identified in the data: Becoming Aware, Adapting, Knowing Self and Others, and Building Relationship. The qasgiq (Indigenous community center) is proposed as a model to support ways to become a culturally responsive teacher.
  • Teaching English language learners in Alaska: a study of translanguaging choices

    Crace-Murray, Jacquelyn A.; Siekmann, Sabine; Parker-Webster, Joan; Marlow, Patrick; John, Theresa (2018-08)
    The number of English Language Learners continues to rise in U.S. schools. However, general classroom teachers are not equipped with English language acquisition methodologies and strategies to teach their increasingly diverse student populations. Because of the deficit views regarding bilingual students, and the monolingual ideologies present in today's public school system, these attitudes and perspectives impact teacher practices in the classroom. They negatively affect student language learning by neglecting to utilize the vast linguistic repertoires bilinguals bring with them to the classroom as resources. They also lead to the over-referral of English language learners for special education services and to teacher burn-out. Being drawn to the concept and utility of translanguaging, I conducted research on my own teaching practices as an English Language Learner Specialist in Alaska. From an autoethnographic stance, I focused on how I encouraged or discouraged translanguaging, what factors impacted my own attitudes and expectations towards translanguaging, and how those attitudes and expectations changed over the course of the action research. This occurred within the context of language moments and critical incidents with my students where I collected field notes, audio files, and reflexive journaling as data instruments. Using constructivist grounded theory for the analytic framework, I developed an informed awareness of my teaching, and how I can utilize translanguaging in the classroom to create meaning, invoke learning, and maximize communication. I found that I encouraged translanguaging with my students for 14 reasons/purposes. I categorized these reasons/purposes into three action-based categories: 1) Demonstrating Unity, 2) Working in Multiple Languages, and 3) Using Good Teaching Practices. The factors that impacted these practices included academic material and time constraint management, teacher/student language proficiencies, student dynamics, and school/classroom climate. Over the course of the study, my own attitudes and expectations towards translanguaging changed from an umbrella term for linguistic practices such as code-switching, code-mixing, and codemeshing to a strategic, purposeful, and intentional process along the language acquisition continuum. This change impacted how I use my languages in the classroom, and how I teach.
  • Dynamic Assessment In A Yugtun Second Language Intermediate Adult Classroom

    Charles, Stephen Walkie; Siekmann, Sabine; Coles-Ritchie, Marilee; Brayboy, Bryan; Allen, James (2011)
    Dynamic Assessment is a new theoretical framework for language assessment, and it is particularly relevant for underrepresented languages and learners. For this study the process is investigated in the context of Yugtun second language learners at a university level. This qualitative teacher action research was a study that involved seven students enrolled in an intermediate Yup'ik language course and that comprised three DA sessions over the course of one semester. The intention in using DA was not to help learners do better on the tests but to understand their development in the language. The hope was that DA interactions would provide me with additional insights into learner knowledge and abilities while also helping them move toward more independent control over relevant features of the language. Assessments were organized as a two-stage process involving non-dynamic administration of chapter tests (targeting learner independent performance) followed by dynamic sessions. The dynamic sessions were conducted as 15-minute one-on-one interactions between each learner and the instructor the week after the tests. In order to gauge the students' ability to self-identify and correct their mistakes, their original static test was returned to them at the outset of the meeting without any corrections or grade. Students then corrected items directly on their test and were free to interact with instructor, asking questions, requesting specific forms of help, discussing problems, and so forth. Following the tenets of interactionist DA, the mediator set out with more implicit feedback and becoming more explicit as needed. However, no specific protocol was established prior to the dynamic sessions, in order to let interactions follow whatever course was needed to meet learner needs. Unassisted performance during the non-dynamic administration therefore reveals the students' actual level of development, while the dynamic session provided more in-depth understanding into the problems behind their performance and how close they were to gaining full control of the grammatical features in question. In addition, the quality of the instructor's interactions with learners served as individualized tutoring to further support their abilities. An additional data source that further highlights the study is the dialogue journal that each participant maintained. Journal-writing was incorporated as part of the assignments in the Yugtun course. I read and responded to journal entries weekly. Students were encouraged to ask questions and share their perspective of their learning and assessment experiences and to express themselves in the language of their choice. I responded to direct and indirect questions, offered praise and support, and gave corrective language feedback only when explicitly requested to by the learners. As will be made clear, dialogue journals also helped me identify learner struggles while tracking progress over time.
  • Niugneliyukut (We Are Making New Words): A Community Philosophy Of Language Revitalization

    Counceller, April Gale Laktonen; Marlowe, Patrick (2010)
    The Alutiiq language on Kodiak Island (Alaska) is severely threatened, with only 37 resident speakers. The Alutiiq communities of Kodiak are engaged in a multifaceted heritage revitalization movement, which includes cultural education, revitalization of arts, and language revitalization. The language revitalization effort includes education, materials development, documentation, and terminology development (creation of new words) as a means of making the language more viable. The Kodiak Alutiiq New Words Council began in the fall of 2007. This language revitalization strategy is new to the Alutiiq community, and little research has been done on Alaska Native or Indigenous terminology development as a form of heritage revitalization. There is a need to understand the New Words Council in terms of its role in the wider language and heritage revitalization efforts, as well as understanding the value of the council to its members. The Kodiak New Words Council is a contemporary heritage revitalization effort that entails development of new Alutiiq terms, and is part of a broader social movement to revitalize Alutiiq language and culture. Some past research on cultural heritage revitalization movements in Indigenous communities have focused on historical inaccuracies and 'inventedness' of new cultural forms, rather than the value and meaning of these efforts to their participants. Critiques of 'invention' scholarship counter that it denies Indigenous communities' agency and authority over their own cultural forms, and overlooks ongoing efforts for justice, sovereignty and healing. This study focuses attention on the social and historical context of heritage revitalization and its meaning to participants. Benefits of the council go beyond the formal goal of developing new words to modernize the language. Participants put great value on social benefits of the New Words Council, such as empowerment, connection to culture and identity, and healing. They further measure the success of the New Words Council in terms of participation, commitment, and continuity. Ultimately, this language revitalization effort is part of a broader effort of self-determination and community survival.

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