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

Receive updates for this collection

Suwsiw: Hul’q’umi’num’ stories of land and sea

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-10-20
Abstract: 

This project presents five new Hul’q’umi’num stories about the land and sea, created with the help of my elders. The Coast Salish people of the Hul’q’umi’num’ territory have a deep physical and spiritual connection to the world around us. We are taught that our language is an important way that we connect to our world. Many of our youth and families are influenced by modern life and struggle to see the importance of learning our language. The purpose of this project is to engage the hearts and minds of the learners while connecting them to the world around us. I point out the need for mentors and teachers to capture the curious minds of our youth in their language learning journeys through authentic materials.

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

Linguistic variation and ethnicity in a super-diverse community: The case of Vancouver English

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-12-11
Abstract: 

Today, people with British/European heritage comprise about half (49.3%) of the total population of Metro Vancouver, while the other half is represented by visual minorities, with Chinese (20.6%) and South Asians (11.9%) being the largest ones (Statistics Canada 2017). However, non-White population are largely unrepresented in sociolinguistic research on the variety of English spoken locally. The objective of this study is to determine whether and to what extent young people with non-White ethnic backgrounds participate in some of the on-going sound changes in Vancouver English. Data from 45 participants with British/Mixed European, Chinese and South Asian heritage, native speakers of English, were analyzed instrumentally to get the formant measurements of the vowels of each speaker. Interview data were subjected to thematic analysis that aimed to describe to which extent each participant affiliated with their heritage. The results of the descriptive and inferential statistical analysis showed that, first, the vowel systems of these young people are similar and they all are undoubtedly speakers of modern Canadian English as described in previous research (Boberg 2010). Second, all three groups participate in the most important changes in Canadian English: the Canadian Shift, Canadian Raising, the fronting of back vowels, and allophonic variation of /æ/ in pre-nasal and pre-velar positions. Some differences along the ethnic lines that were discovered concern the degree of advancement of a given change, not its presence or absence. Socio-ethnic profiles of the participants created on the basis of the thematic analysis can be roughly put into two categories, mono- and bicultural identity orientation (Comănaru et al. 2018). Great variability is described both within and across groups, with language emerging as one of the most important factors in the participants’ identity construction. Exploratory analysis showed some tendencies in vowel production by speakers with mono- and bicultural orientations, with differences both among and within two non-White groups. The findings of the study call into question both our understanding of the mechanisms of language acquisition and our approach to delimiting and describing speech communities in super-diverse urban centers.

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

English in the expanding circle of Morocco: Spread, uses, and functions

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-01-20
Abstract: 

Research using Kachru’s (1984) World Englishes theoretical framework and Three Circles model has produced a wealth of knowledge about the spread and functions of English to speech communities around the world. However, there is a recognition that disproportionate attention has been accorded across these spheres. The most compelling argument outlining this gap in the literature was offered by Berns (2005) over a decade ago and was reiterated by Elyas and Mahboob (2020) just recently. Berns (2005: 85) concluded that while the bulk of academic research has focused on the use of English in Inner and Outer Circle contexts, the Expanding Circle remains mostly overlooked. Elyas and Mahboob (2020: 1), who co-edited a special journal issue on the North African and Middle East contexts, underscored that the topic of English in these regions ‘is largely under-studied and undertheorized.’ Following Berns’ remarks, numerous studies have focused on this underrepresented context. Nevertheless, despite their solid contributions, these investigations remain insufficient for constructing a comprehensive understanding of the distinct dynamics of the Expanding Circle. To contribute to the Expanding Circle literature, this exploratory, qualitative, macrosociolinguistic study employs Kachru’s (1984) World Englishes theoretical framework to investigate in greater depth the spread, functional range, and domains of English use in the multilingual country of Morocco. Specifically, this study initially provides an overview of the various languages used in Morocco, then outlines the history of its contact with the English language. It next explores English use in Moroccan media, examining in detail the language’s wide-ranging uses in broadcast, digital, print, and film media. This is followed by an in-depth examination of the linguistic landscape of the metropolitan city of Casablanca, with a focus on shop signs and outdoor advertisements. Whilst the users and uses of the English language are the major focus of analysis, additional attention is given to what such a spread means for the other four historically well-established languages of use within this Expanding Circle context: Arabic, French, Spanish, and the indigenous language Tmazight. A further aim of this study is to contribute new perspectives to the existing literature on the distinct dynamics of the Expanding Circle in general.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Suzanne K. Hilgendorf
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Linguistics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Connecting generations through hwulmuhwqun stories

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-12-08
Abstract: 

These hwulmuhwqun stories are about connecting generations. After learning the history of our people, learning the Hul’q’umi’num’ language was my way of connecting to those who are now gone yet live through their stories. The teachings passed down in these stories guide us through stages of our lives. They taught me to be independent, to have respect for everyone, and how to endure struggles and survive. Peoples’ struggles are different but how you overcome them is a virtue instilled through stories. The six stories created for this project share hwulmuhw values to language learners. When I was taught to knit Cowichan sweaters, I was taught patience. When we had a visitor, I was taught respect. I learned the importance of knowing the land around you because it contains food, tools, and medicines. Modern times have changed some of our needs, but the virtues you learn through stories will never change.

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

tsetsul’ulhtun’ mustimuhw: Hul’q’umi’num’ stories from our fishing life

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-12-01
Abstract: 

For us Hul’q’umi’num’ people, storytelling is an important tool for sharing knowledge across generations. Stories teach us how to live as First Nations peoples. The goal of this project is to communicate Coast Salish traditional values and life lessons from my childhood through stories in my own language. My stories share experiences of growing up in a fishing family. I hope they will show people the safety, fun, knowledge, and happiness of the fishing life. With the help of elders Delores Louie and Ruby Peter, I brought forward these stories in my own words about the people who passed down their knowledge to me. I am following in the footsteps of my late grandpa Bob Guerin, who followed his dad, my great grandfather Arnold Guerin, who loved researching and teaching the Hul’q’umi’num’ language.

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

How what was said was said: Quotation in Hul’q’umi’num’ narrative performance

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-07-23
Abstract: 

This thesis describes the use of quotation in Hul’q’umi’num’ narratives. Hul’q’umi’num’ is the Island dialect of Halkomelem spoken on the southeastern coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Quotation varies in form throughout Hul’q’umi’num’ narratives, occurring as indirect quotation or as direct quotation in varying strength of theatricality marked by prosody and style. The variation in form is based on how the representation of the instance of speech contrasts with the surrounding narrative, where markedly different and theatrical quotation signals high points in the discourse.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Nancy Hedberg
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Linguistics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Embedded verb second in German: Experiments at the syntax-pragmatics interface

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-12
Abstract: 

The interpretation and licensing of clauses with Embedded Verb Second (EV2) in German have been widely debated over the past decades. The goal of this thesis is to experimentally testempirical claims in more recent work on EV2 in German, in particular those in Djärv 2019a and Caplan & Djärv 2019. Djärv (2019a) and Caplan & Djärv (2019) argue that (i) EV2 clauses must denote discourse-new information, and that (ii) EV2 clauses are therefore unacceptable under embedding predicates that presuppose that the complement proposition is discourse-old. These claims were tested using a judgment task to elicit the naturalness of EV2 clauses when they constitute discourse-old information. The results provide two key findings. First, they show that the EV2 clauses are judged natural when they constitute discourse-old information. Second, the results show that canonical verb-final configurations are preferred over EV2 complements if the embedded proposition denotes discourse-old information. The results partially bear out previous claims and I argue that it is the lexical semantics of embedding predicates alone that determines whether EV2 is available, not the discourse status of any particular instance of EV2. Moreover, this thesis provides additional evidence against the claim that EV2 gives rise to speaker-commitment interpretations of the embedded proposition, replicating the results in Djärv 2019a and Caplan & Djärv 2019.

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

θə stqayeʔ ʔə ƛ̓ səl̓ilwətaʔł ʔiʔ tə nec̓ sx̌ʷix̌ʷəy̓em̓: She-Wolf and other Tsleil-Waututh narratives

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-26
Abstract: 

The ancestors of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ speaking people lived along the lower Fraser River and all around the shores of neighbouring Burrard Inlet in British Columbia. The Central Coast Salish people living here today are their descendants. Throughout the time that we’ve lived here, our elders shared oral narratives that conveyed history, life skills, and the legal and moral code by which our people lived. In the present work, I have restored three oral narratives of the people from the village of səl̓ilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), originally related by Tsleil-Waututh elders in English. First, the narratives were translated by Dr. Ruby Peter into her həl̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ dialect (Vancouver Island). Once translated, I converted the narratives into the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ dialect. My hope is that these narratives will inspire and inform our younger generation who are working to gain fluency in our language.

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

Prolonged multilingualism among the Sebuyau: An ethnography of communication

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-13
Abstract: 

This thesis describes the Sebuyau language and seeks to explain how this small group as maintained their culture and way of speaking in the shadow of very large languages like Malay, English and Chinese. I use the ethnographic method to study this ethnic group. Specifically, I based this ethnography of communication on two texts told by twenty-four people, who all belong to the community of practice of Keluarga Church. The study is divided into two broad areas. Part of the thesis is more synchronic linguistics, and describes the lexicon, phonology and morphology of Sebuyau. The conclusion is that Sebuyau is a variety of Iban. The lexicon exhibits considerable borrowing from languages that are no longer spoken in the area – such as Sanskrit. But most of the non-Sebuyau words are English or Malay. There are some lexicographic signs of the beginning of language shift to Malay, but the phonology shows signs that the language is being reincorporated into Iban. The other theme of the thesis is an examination of the reasons why Sebuyau has not been swallowed up by Malay or some other language. It is a more general description of the history and linguistic ecology of the area in Malaysia that is their homeland. In particular, the study shows how the linguistic ecology has helped the Sebuyau maintain their identity and way of speaking.

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

Angry Raven and Friends: Three new stories for Hul’q’umi’num’ language learners

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-28
Abstract: 

Storytelling is an important tool for sharing knowledge and language across generations. Stories teach us about our way of life and our perspectives on how to be as First Nations peoples. In this project, I share three new stories that I have created inspired by real-life experiences—the importance of singing in the Quw’utsun’ culture, the fixation of the younger generation on video games, and the cultural activities of our people as witnessed by a young sasquatch. Each story has an important life lesson that is presented through humour. Together with elders Delores Louie and Ruby Peter, I have brought these stories to life in Hul’q’umi’num’, a Coast Salish language of British Columbia. These stories are designed to engage the younger generation and inspire them to gain fluency in the Hul’q’umi’num’ language.

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