• Agentive And Patientive Verb Bases In North Alaskan Inupiaq

      Nagai, Tadataka; Kaplan, Lawrence D. (2006)
      This dissertation is concerned with North Alaskan Inupiaq Eskimo. It has two goals: (i) to provide a grammatical sketch of the Upper Kobuk dialect of this language; (ii) to investigate agentive and patientive verb bases. Chapter 2 is a grammatical sketch of the Upper Kobuk dialect of North Alaskan Inupiaq. Chapter through 5 deal with two types of verb bases in this language, called agentive and patientive. As we see in Chapter 3, agentive and patientive verb bases are verb bases that can inflect either intransitively or transitively, and they differ in the following ways: (i) prototypical agentive bases have the intransitive subject corresponding with the transitive subject, and do not require a half-transitive postbase to become antipassive; (ii) prototypical patientive bases have the intransitive subject corresponding with the transitive object, and require a half-transitive postbase to become antipassive. In Chapter 4, I present the polarity---the property of being agentive or patientive---of all the verb bases that can inflect either intransitively or transitively, sorted by meaning, in order to uncover semantic features that characterize agentive and patientive bases. I identify 13 semantic features, such as indicating the agent's process for agentive bases and the lack of agent control for patientive bases. All these semantic features are related with the saliency of the agent or patient. In Chapter 5, I investigate several pieces of evidence that show that the dividing line between the agentive and patientive classes is not rigid: (i) There are verb bases that can have the intransitive subject corresponding with either the transitive subject or object. (ii) Some verb bases may or may not take a half-transitive postbase to become antipassive. (iii) Certain postbases or a certain verb mood turn agentive bases into patientive or patientive bases into agentive. Although two classes of verbs similar to the agentive and patientive classes in Inupiaq are found in many languages, such phenomena as described in this chapter are seldom studied. This chapter purports to be the fast coherent study of its kind. The appendices contain two Inupiaq texts.
    • Lower Tanana Athabascan verb paradigms

      Urschel, Janna Mercedes (2006-05)
      This thesis presents documentation of verb paradigms in the Minto-Nenana dialect of the Lower Tanana Athabascan language, based on fieldwork with four native speakers of the language. Lower Tanana is a severely endangered language spoken in the Interior region of Alaska. The paradigms document the combinations of five Athabascan verb prefixes: classifier, subject, mode, conjugation, and negation. Introductory material describes the Lower Tanana language and outlines the grammar of Lower Tanana verbs, with reference to properties of verbs exemplified in the paradigms. These introductory sections are addressed to teachers and learners of the Lower Tanana language, that they might make optimal use of this thesis as a reference tool in language revitalization efforts.
    • Tutor strategies in face-to-face and distance tutorial sessions: tutor and student perceptions

      Aldrich, Carrie L. (2007-12)
      As university populations become increasingly dependent on distance learning and support services for distance learning, writing centers progressively offer services by telephone, email, or virtual worlds in addition to the traditional face-to-face tutorials. The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Writing Center offers a "telephone tutorial" service for students from remote locations who fax their papers to a tutor who then conducts a tutorial session over the telephone. This study investigates tutor strategies in face-to-face and telephone tutorial sessions and tutor and student perceptions of effectiveness. I audio recorded 30 tutorial sessions with five tutors in six sessions each, half in a face-to-face setting and half via telephone. After each tutorial session I conducted semi-structured interviews with the student and the tutor. Following data collection, I conducted a member check with each of the tutors and an in-depth interview with the UAF Writing Center Director. I then transcribed, coded and analyzed the data from the audiorecording. Results indicate that the use of affective strategies positively influenced both student and tutor evaluations of a session's effectiveness.
    • Bridging Home And School: Factors That Contribute To Multiliteracies Development In A Yup'ik Kindergarten Classroom

      Bass, A. Sarah; Parker-Webster, Joan; Siekmann, Sabine (2010)
      Since the establishment of a Yup'ik immersion school in Bethel in the mid-1990s, immersion programming has spread to many schools in Southwestern Alaska, including the school in this study. This school maintains a K-3 Yup'ik strand and a K-3 English strand. Both strands merge in the 4 th grade. Concern that the immersion program may hinder student achievement on state mandated benchmark testing in the 3rd grade and beyond has resulted in some opposition to the immersion program. However, in 2007/2008, those and former immersion students scored higher on the English reading and writing benchmark tests than students in the English strand and 3rd and 4th grade students district wide. This ethnographic teacher action research documented the process of multiliteracies development of four kindergarten students. Home literacy practice of students was documented from parent conversations. Classroom literacy development was documented through the collection of student work samples, still photographs, and teacher comments from anecdotal notes. Findings revealed these four students showed progress in their multiliteracies development as illustrated in their drawings, writing, and singing and chanting. Some of the contributing factors that emerged were: Yup'ik/English heard at home, Yup'ik at school, and literacy materials available both at home and school.
    • Using Multicultural Literature To Promote Cultural Awareness And Deepen Understanding Of Your Own: A Yup'ik Teacher-Researcher's Journey

      Sundown, Nuraraq Joanne T.; Parker-Webster, Joan; Siekmann, Sabine (2010)
      The purpose of this research is to see if using multicultural literature potentially enhances a student's own respect of his/her culture and language. Through the use of a multicultural thematic unit and multicultural literature, students potentially gain awareness and respect for diverse populations. This research hopes to see this diverse awareness and respect reflected on the students' own culture and language. The research conducted was a qualitative research using participants enrolled in the Scammon Bay School for the school year 2008-2009. The participants were nine second grade students. The research methods outlined several techniques such as interviews, observations, and student artifacts, namely the Make Connections Organizer. Data collection began December 2008 and ended May 2009. The goal is to find out how students responded and/or connected to the multicultural literature as it may relate to their own culture and language.
    • 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.
    • A Parent's Choice

      Hoffman, Jill; Marlow, Patrick (2010)
      In one rural Alaska school district, parents have a choice to place their child in an English only school or a Yup'ik immersion school. In the English only school, all subjects are taught in English. In the dual immersion school, English is introduced at third grade and progressively increases with each grade level until the sixth grade, when students exit the program. The researcher will seek to find why parents choose to place their child in the English only school or in the Yup'ik Immersion School. This inquiry is to help the researcher understand the thoughts and perceptions that are being held by parents and members in the community about each of the schools. The study will use qualitative research methodology that includes questionnaires and personal interviews to find out the thoughts and feelings that are being held by the parents. This research seeks to find the reasons why parents choose one school over the other. After reviewing the questionnaires, the researcher will select five parents from each school with various backgrounds to interview. The researcher will conduct ethnographic interviews designed to elicit more in-depth information. The interviews will be coded and emergent themes identified. Through data analysis, the researcher hopes to discover the reasons why parents are choosing each of the schools.
    • Focus On Form In Writing In A Third Grade Yugtun Classroom

      Moses, Catherine; Siekmann, Sabine (2010)
      This present research attempts to discover the effectiveness of focus on form in a Yugtun First Language third grade classroom. The procedures for this particular research included two series of tasks, each focusing students' attention on a particular grammatical structure. The series includes a pretest, a discovery phase, a teacher guided mini lesson, a paired task, an individual post task and a delayed post task. Data include students' scores on the pre, post and delayed post test as well as video recordings of whole class activities, and audio recordings of student dyads as they work on the collaborative task. In my research I found how I, as a Yugtun classroom teacher, could help my students focus on areas of language features they seem to have trouble with. I learned I could use focus on form through feedback and questions. I also found that the Yugtun word endings mun/nun were rather difficult for the Yugtun third graders. As a result I encourage all Yugtun teachers as well as other language teachers to attend workshop or training on language acquisition in order to get a better understanding of what it means as they endeavor to help their students learn effectively.
    • Can We Remain Yup'ik In These Contemporary Times? A Conversation Of Three Yugtun-Speaking Mothers

      Michael, Veronica E.; Marlow, P. (2010)
      The Yup'ik people of southwestern Alaska are experiencing language shift from Yugtun to English. This study is a conversation between three Yugtun speaking mothers who are trying to understand this shift and wondering if they can maintain their identity, and that of their children, in this changing world. The study takes place in the village of Kuiggluk. Data collection included a research journal and focus group discussions. In this study, I have tried to paint a picture of who we are as Yup'ik mothers in our contemporary lives. Qayaruaq, Mikngayaq and I carry with us our own mothers' teachings, while at the same time we face different situations in school and schooling. Through our discussions we sought to understand the reasons for language loss/shift -- a shift that seems to be driving us away from our culture.
    • Becoming Aware As A Parent, Schoolteacher And Community Member

      Angaiak-Bond, Anna (2010)
      The researcher uses autoethnography to understand whether a parent can act to maintain and reinvigorate Yup'ik at home after the child has already become English dominant. The research takes place in the village of Tununak, where the mother/researcher, a fluent Yup'ik speaker, lives with her son. The Tununak school has a Yup'ik First Language Program (YFL). Under this program, the first three years of school are taught in Yup'ik, their children's first language. The fourth year is a transition period in which English is introduced. After exiting the YFL program, English becomes the primary language of instruction. Eventually, the majority of the students become English dominant. The researcher's child attended the YFL program and is now 15 years old. At the beginning of this research he spoke Yup'ik minimally. English was his dominant language He was considered Limited English Proficient when he entered school. He has been designated as fully English proficient since 6 th grade. His Yup'ik proficiency improved during the course of the research as he began to speak more phrases/sentences than he did at the beginning. The researcher seeks to learn if her role as a parent can reinvigorate her child's first language, Yup'ik, after he has already become English dominant. The research provided insights into one parent's attempts to strengthen the usage of Yup'ik at home. Data analysis focused on identifying factors that facilitated and/or hindered the process of speaking Yup'ik dominantly at home.
    • Focus On Form Through Singing In A First Grade Yugtun Immersion Classroom

      Oulton, Carol S.; Siekmann, Sabine (2010)
      This study examines the impacts of singing as a focus on form in the Yugtun genitive endings. Genitive case endings refer to the case of ownership, such as in the sentence "My mother's eyes." The belief of this research is that singing will help the students to focus on form in the oral performance of the first grade second language learners of Yugtun. All the students in the classroom participated in the study. Their accuracy and progression were measured prior to teaching two songs with a pretest interview. After teaching of the songs, the students composed couple songs where the genitive forms were examined. A posttest and a delayed test were administered after the instructions of the songs. The results support the previous studies that focus on form can provide accuracy to second language development.
    • Yuraq: An Introduction To Writing

      Samson, Sally P.; Parker-Webster, Joan; Siekmann, Sabine (2010)
      Teacher research conducted at Ayaprun Elitnaurvik Charter School in Bethel, Alaska introduced 1819 kindergarten students to writing through Yuraq (Eskimo dancing). Within the teacher research, the case study followed four emergent writers as they developed in their writing abilities, how they connected Yuraq with writing, and their progression through their second language skills. The study followed two stories: the teacher's story and the students' story. The study found that Yuraq aided in writing instruction to second language learners, that there are aspects of the 6+1 Traits in Yuraq, and that students progressed in their L2 as well.
    • Authentic Assessment In Action: The Challenges, Success, And Discoveries Made In A 5Th Grade Classroom

      Hendrickson, Kristen I.; Coles-Ritchie, Marilee (2010)
      This research study focuses on the success, challenges, and the discoveries I made implementing authentic assessment in my 5th grade classroom of Alaska Native, English Language Learners (ELLS). The primary goals of this study are to provide students, parents, and education professionals with a more accurate picture of students' academic and language knowledge and skills; and to share my own experience implementing authentic assessments into my classroom. Standardized assessment scores, authentic assessment results, interviews, observations, and my research journal provided the bulk of the data that was analyzed. Two learner profiles were constructed for each participant. The first profile was constructed based on the student's standardized test scores. The second learner profile was constructed from the information obtained about the learner through authentic assessments. This study concludes with my reflections and recommendations regarding the feasibility of implementing authentic assessments in a classroom.
    • Investigating A Yup'Ik Immersion Program: What Determines Success?

      Green, Jean Renee; Coles-Ritchie, Marilee (2010)
      This research stems from my connectedness to a particular village, which will be referred to as Naparyaraq1. Unlike the majority of research on Alaska Native language issues, which primarily are from the point of view from an outsider, this research is unique in that my role as a community member has allows me an insider perspective of our Yup'ik Immersion Program. When dealing with Indigenous language issues, it is important that the impetus for change and improvements come from the local people. The primary goal of the Naparyaraq Immersion Program resulted from the communities desire to create change Community members wanted to keep the Yup'ik language alive. Growing up in Naparyaraq and my familiarity with the language issues has also driven me to be a personal participant in this change. Using focus groups, interviews, classroom observations, and field notes, the main goal of this Master's thesis is to inform the teachers and school community of the Naparyaraq Yup'ik Immersion Program in order to continue to help make improvements. Some of the issues which are addressed in this research include information related to: language use, success, training, language use at home, support, success, quality staff, assessment, need for teacher collaboration, and curriculum. 1Naparyaraq is a pseudonym. All names and places in the thesis are pseudonyms.
    • Authentic Assessment For Yuuyaraq Middle School Students Based On The Yuuyaraq Curriculum

      Nicholai, Rachel Cikigaq; Cole-Ritchie, Marilee (2010)
      This study examines how the Yuuyaraq curriculum is being applied in the context of a middle school classroom in a small Yup'ik village in Alaska, specifically focusing on how to better assess the outcomes of the curriculum. In the early 1980s, the Yuuyaraq curriculum (YC) was revised to include the seasonal activities of the region, but lacked alignment with the assessments. By using the Participatory Action Research methodology, the researcher identified a problem, observed the situation, analyzed and interpreted the data, and developed an action plan. Data revealed that authentic assessments used in the Yuuyaraq curriculum can be assess Indigenous knowledge, how teachers' indigenous knowledge contributed to a classroom, and how rubrics are in need in a classroom to monitor student progress. The conclusions include various forms of authentic assessments used in the YC, how teacher's knowledge and practice contributed to a classroom that focused on her students' culture and identity and engaged them in a culturally relevant curriculum through the frameworks of sociocultural theory and Indigenous knowledge systems.
    • 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.
    • An acoustic study of stem prominence in Hän Athabascan

      Manker, Jonathan T. (2012-05)
      Observations in many studies of Athabascan languages have indicated that the stem syllable displays phonetic prominence, perhaps due to its semantic or structural importance, which is realized through a variety of acoustic means. Features such as voicing, duration, manner of articulation, voice quality, and vowel quality pattern differently in stems and prefixes, both in the diachronic developments of Athabascan phonology as well as in the synchronic, phonetic realizations of individual phonemes. This acoustic study of the Hän language investigates the synchronic realization of this morphological conditioning in fricatives, stops, and vowels, and attempts to unify several different phonological effects into a single theory of stem prominence. The results show that the most regular and predictable of these correlates of stem prominence is the increase in duration of segments in stem onsets (consonants) and nuclei (vowels). Additional variations in features that pattern according to morphological category, such as voicing (in fricatives), voice quality (in ejectives), and vowel quality are considered secondary effects largely influenced by duration.
    • Visualizing second language learning: a microgenetic case study using pantomime comics for adult ESL students

      Darrow, Daniel J. (2012-08)
      Comics are regularly used in language classrooms. Most language teachers and researchers in applied linguistics justify the use of comics through individual characteristics such as motivation, humor, and aiding comprehension. Some studies use comics in social settings, but do not consider the images as a significant factor in language development. This study investigates the effectiveness of instruction using pantomime comics on both language acquisition and language development for adult English as second language (ESL) students. A mixed methods approach is employed to investigate individual acquisition and language development during a collaborative task. Analyses of written tests, transcriptions, and audio/video data using analytical foci, deixis, and transcription conventions following conversation analysis ascertains how comic images affect individual learners and contribute to language development between learners. Results suggest that comics can benefit the language learner individually and act as a powerful, mediational tool for language development and co-construction of knowledge between peers.
    • Perceptual mismatches in a university English as a second language classroom

      Adams, Kristine A. L. (2012-08)
      This study investigates perceptual mismatches in a university English as a second language classroom. Perceptual Mismatches in the classroom are a failure on the part of teachers and students to understand or interpret something the same way. These mismatches can lead to missed learning opportunities that impede teaching and learning. The purpose of this teacher research was to identify mismatches in a university ESL classroom in the U.S. This course was designed for Chinese degree completion students. Data was collected via questionnaires, interviews, dialogue journals, and observations. The results of this study show a tendency in mismatches between teachers and students dealing with perceptions of teacher centered classrooms and learner centered classrooms, and communicative interactions. These mismatches may occur due to previous learning experiences and expectations. This study also shows there is a tendency towards mismatches between teachers, and there is much room in this field for further studies.
    • 575 Tlingit verbs: a study of Tlingit verb paradigms

      Eggleston, Keri M. (2013-05)
      The Tlingit language, indigenous to Southeast Alaska and neighboring parts of British Columbia and the Yukon territory, is related to the Athabascan languages and the recently extinct language Eyak. Like Athabascan and Eyak, Tlingit verbal morphology is highly complex. The conjugation of Tlingit verbs is unpredictable in certain respects, making the documentation of verb forms from native speakers critical, due to the highly endangered state of the language, and because this has never before been documented for Tlingit. The objectives of the research presented here are twofold: 1) to document complete paradigms for 575 verbs, and; 2) to create a reference for second language learners and teachers of Tlingit. For each of the verbs included in the research, twelve modes were systematically documented through consultation with a group of native speakers. The newly documented forms were compiled into a database using Toolbox software and additionally organized into a user-friendly online database, hosted on the Goldbelt Heritage Foundation website. Based on the documented forms, descriptions of each of the twelve modes were written, with second language students and teachers as the target audience. The descriptions of each mode include information pertaining to the semantics, morphology, and verb stem variation, and are intended to assist second language learners in mastering the difficult task of conjugating Tlingit verbs. Another critical item included for each verb entry is the verb theme, which illustrates all of its component parts including thematic prefix, conjugation prefix, classifier, and stem. The accompanying detailed description of each element of the verb theme serves as a grammatical sketch of the Tlingit verb for language learners. An additional result of the research is a set of nine prefix combination charts. Because the Tlingit verb has many prefix positions, there are a number of regular contractions that take place in conjugating a verb. The prefix combination charts illustrate the regular contractions that take place between the thematic prefixes, conjugation prefixes, aspect prefixes, subject prefixes, and classifiers, to name a few. These charts show language learners how to switch between subject prefixes for a given verb.