Linguistics - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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A conversation analysis approach to alternative medicine sessions

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-07-29
Abstract: 

This dissertation presents a descriptive study of discourse practices used in the context of a doctor-patient interaction in alternative medicine sessions. Alternative medicine is oriented toward a mind-body integration in which the mental state of the patient is considered a significant contributor to the illness (Larson, 2007). Based on this philosophical background, I explore the communication in alternative medicine within the frame of patient-centred communication which informs the principles of modern healthcare. I investigate the dimensions of elicitation and rapport, and their linguistic realizations in the form of speech acts, backchannels, joint productions, and repetitions. I examine the genre of the dialogues within the Systemic Functional Linguistics framework with a focus on stages and lexico-grammatical features related to discourse and semantics. I apply Conversation Analysis to a data comprised of nine recorded sessions between two alternative medicine doctors and their patients, native speakers of English. The corpus contains 5,378 turns and 3,139 units of analysis in total for all dyadic conversations. The present study reveals that the alternative medicine speech event is an institutional genre with characteristics of patient-centred communication. The four linguistic features are used strategically — they contribute to conversational power-sharing and to collaborative creation of knowledge. Simultaneously with the conversational dominance (through questions), doctors accommodate and collaborate with patients (through backchannels, joint productions and repetitions). Reaching a diagnosis is often an incremental process in which doctors engage patients in an ongoing interactional meaning-making and shared knowledge. These practices advance the therapeutic alliance, rapport building, and shared responsibility — components that are at the core of patient-centred communication. Seen in this perspective, the study findings can bring about insights into a linguistically underexplored area such as discourse in alternative medicine visits. It contributes to the body of research that applies Conversation Analysis techniques to study medical communication.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Panayiotis Pappas
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Linguistics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Formulaicity of affixes in Turkish

Date created: 
2019-11-27
Abstract: 

This study examines whether suffix sequences in a Turkish corpus distribute as units (formulas). Most research on formulaicity focused on word-level formulas. As for affix-level formulas, most evidence for them comes from psycholinguistic studies, whereas there is less evidence from corpus data. This study examines the pattern of cooccurrence of suffixes on verbs in the Turkish National Corpus. To capture formulaicity between suffixes, this study uses a measurement called risk ratio, which is a novel way to measure collocation. The analysis of the risk ratio data suggests that 1) affix formulaicity likely does exist in the corpus, 2) affix formulaicity is a gradient rather than discrete phenomenon, and 3) formulaicity also holds between affixes and stems. The existence of affix formulas suggests that some polymorphemic sequences are stored as wholes in the mental lexicon, despite their apparent decompositionality. Theoretically, the results support psycholinguistic models of morphological processing with both analytic and holistic processing.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
John Alderete
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Linguistics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Secwepemctsín narratives of cultural practices in pregnancy, birthing and postpartum care

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-17
Abstract: 

Research for Cultural Practices: Narratives of Pregnancy, Birth and Postpartum Care took place within Secwepemúl̓ecw (the territory of the Secwepémc people). Through four narratives by Secwépemc Elders, cultural practices of pregnancy, birthing and postpartum care are examined through key findings and linguistic analysis. Elders discuss a time when expecting mothers gave birth in the home and used traditional medicines from the land to care for themselves and for their babies. Through these vivid narratives we are able to envision Secwépemc cultural practices and aim to put them into practice for the future generations.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Marianne Ignace
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Linguistics
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Tahltan verb classifiers and how to use them

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-16
Abstract: 

One frustration as a learner of my heritage language, Tāłtān, is the lack of resources. I created four booklets on what we learned as Tahltan Verb Classifiers; the linguistic term is classificatory verbs. Each booklet contains a different aspect of this feature; includes lessons in how to use it. A literature review revealed it had never been thoroughly researched. Therefore, information came from: language classes, instructors, recordings, and fluent speakers. My interviews: five individuals and one group session of seven. Most fluent speakers were unavailable; that is the problem when your ‘dictionaries’ have legs. The ‘big’ lesson I learned is that it is imperative we focus on collecting vocabulary before the words fade away from non-use.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
Senior supervisor: 
Marianne Ignace
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Linguistics
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

K’wáa gyáaḵ’id G̱áagaay hl kı́nsälang: Emerging X̱aad Kı́l (Haida language) use in a preschool setting

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-16
Abstract: 

The language nest immersion concept brings together young children, fluent speakers, and helpful parents with the goal of creating new speakers of an indigenous language. Students are immersed in a culturally responsive and linguistically rich environment where daily activities are carried out in the target indigenous language. This concept has been championed by the Maoris and the Hawaiians. There is much written on how language nests are formed and developed but nearly all of the studies do not include any information on the language nest children’s emergent production of the indigenous language. In this study, I present data that shows the children’s emerging receptive and productive language skills at X̱ántsii Náay, a new X̱aad kíl (Haida language) nest in Hydaburg, Alaska. What is especially unique about this study is that there are no resident first language speakers of X̱aad kíl remaining in Hydaburg, which makes the language nest the leading vehicle for bringing the language back from the brink of extinction. A primary objective of this study is to learn how 3-5-year-old children in an immersion setting begin to acquire an Indigenous language. In addition to my observations, the participants’ parents also reflect on the children’s use of Xaad kíl in their home. I hope that this study can influence more Indigenous communities to track their children’s emerging brilliance while they emulate our ancestors.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Marianne Ignace
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Linguistics
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Interspeaker variation in the syntactic processing of referential singular they

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-02
Abstract: 

Singular they is suggested to be acceptable in the grammar only when referring to indefinite or gender-neutral antecedents. Previous studies have used antecedents of varying gender expectation to test whether singular they can refer to antecedents with gender, but no experimental studies have considered the social variables that could affect the acceptability of singular they in speech. The goal of this study is to compare the acceptability and processing of singular referential they between cisgender and non-binary individuals, as people who identify as non-binary tend to use they, them, and their as their pronouns of personal reference. This study shows thats there are no effects of gender-expectancy in on-line processing across cisgender and non-binary individuals. I also show that sentences with singular they are overall more natural to non-binary individuals than cisgender individuals, suggesting that social variables affect off-line judgments, but not on-line processing.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Chung-hye Han
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Linguistics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

q’ushin’tul’ ’u tunu shxw’a’luqw’a’

Date created: 
2019-08-08
Abstract: 

This project is a personal look into Hul’q’umi’num’ place names and how they provide a linguistic coding of our cultural heritage. I discuss the cultural and personal significance of some of the places in the unceded territory of the Snuneymuxw First Nation. I call on my family history through the oral tradition of my people and draw on my own personal experiences to tell stories in our Hul’q’umi’num’ language of the places I am from, the places I have lived, and the places I have pulled a canoe. It is my hope that this research will help us reach a deeper understanding of place names and the teachings associated with the lands in which we live. I hope to inspire future generations of language learners by handing down the wisdom of our Elders to the younger generation and by showing the connections between our heritage teachings and language.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Donna Gerdts
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Linguistics
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Me7 Tslxemwílc-kt es Secwepemctsném-kt! Secwépemc language resource development for Little Fawn Nursery – An early years language immersion program

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-17
Abstract: 

This is a linguistic study of novice adult language learners when producing speech within an early years immersion program. The study reflects the unique language knowledge of individuals and provides a description of supportive measures for mentoring purposes through the guidance of first language speakers of the Secwepemc language. In a community of limited access to first language speakers, this research study focused on training novice adult language learners about multi-media language learning resources and second-language acquisition teaching strategies to keep young children engaged in activities. The participants used Smart Board technology, hands-on training and the mentor-apprentice model to stay in the language. The study combined experiential ways of learning with innovative technology to mobilize adult speakers at the Little Fawn Nursery language domain within the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc community.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Marianne Ignace
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Linguistics
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Hul’q’umi’num’ stories of Tth’asiyetun: The last Coast Salish warrior chief

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-15
Abstract: 

This paper is about the life and times of the Coast Salish chief Tth’asiyetun, a hereditary leader of the T’eet’qe’ village, on Valdes Island, British Columbia. Tth’asiyetun was a key figure in the establishment of Fort Langley, center of the northwest fur trade, and he was the lead warrior chief at the historic battle at Maple Bay, a decisive victory over the Yuqwulhte’x raiders from the north. His descendants have since experienced their loss of land, loss of language, loss of history, and loss of dignity. The purpose of my research is to take my family’s oral histories, together with some corroborating research, and create a set of stories in our Hul’q’umi’num’ language that relate the events from a Coast Salish perspective. I offer this work as a homage to my grandmother, who taught me the importance of keeping our language strong, and to the future generations of language learners.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Donna Gerdts
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Linguistics
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Mulyitul: Hul’q’umi’num’ perspectives on a wedding ceremony

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-15
Abstract: 

Public speaking is an important aspect of all Coast Salish ceremonies. It is our way in the Hul’q’umi’num’ territory for ceremonies to be conducted in our own language. While language and protocol at namings, funerals, and memorials has received research attention, weddings are an understudied topic. Weddings are especially complicated because they are a blend of native and modern elements, and they sometimes involve marriage of a community member to someone from outside the community—from a different cultural heritage. It can become a very sophisticated event to observe all the ceremonial elements required by both the bride’s and the groom’s families. This project documents Coast Salish protocols by laying down Hul’q’umi’num’ stories that describe traditional and modern proposals and that also illustrate ceremonial speaking at the wedding itself.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Donna Gerdts
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Linguistics
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.