UW Offers Advanced Indigenous Language Courses For The First Time | Community

UW is offering for the first time advanced courses in the indigenous language of the Pacific Northwest, Lushootseed.

AIS 309: Methods in Native American Linguistics will be offered next term and taught by Tami hohn, assistant professor in Native American studies.

Lushootseed is spoken by much of the eastern and southern Puget Sound region, and southern Lushootseed has been spoken historically in the Seattle area, which Hohn will teach in AIS 309.

Hohn’s Lushootseed series began in 2018, and it was the first time the language was offered at UW since the 80s. Vi Hilbert taught Northern Lushootseed the last time he was offered.

“I knew it would take a while to get into the advanced course, as I had to make sure I had an established group of students who came out of my three-quarter sequence and who would be ready to take the advanced learning course.” , Hohn mentioned.

Hohn said that after two years of students requesting advanced studies, UW began to consider establishing advanced courses.

AIS 309 is different from other language courses offered at UW. As they learn grammatical structures, roots, prefixes, and suffixes, students will engage in research by taking the language of old documents and recordings to cross-reference and extract the language from those sources.

“They are learning to reconstruct this language,” Hohn said. “They learn to create conversations, they learn to create thoughts for themselves.”

The course applies to foreign language requirements, which fourth-year Stuart Heslop called ironic given that Lushootseed is a first language. Heslop is the President of Outreach and Public Relations for First Nations at UW.

“Tami is also a wonderful instructor,” Heslop wrote in an email. “I personally followed the full series in my freshman year in 2018 and personally worked with her in the area of ​​linguistic research. ”

In a class of about 15 to 20 students, Hohn said the students had different motivations for taking his classes, and some came from other tribes and areas in Washington state.

If students are thinking about linguistics or are interested in the history of the people of the Seattle area, Hohn encourages them to take his classes.

“Don’t dismiss the course just because it’s Lushootseed, because there is so much more they can get out of it,” Hohn said. “I guess if they have an interest, then go for it.”

Hohn wants her students to become lifelong Lushootseed learners and researchers through the skills she teaches in her classes. She hopes they will keep the language with them, rather than just taking it to meet a language requirement.

“I want them to participate in the work, I want them to participate in the pride, that feeling that they get when they revitalize the language, when they take the language out of the state of preservation and bring it back to life, I want them. to feel their own success in their own impact, ”Hohn said. “And I want them to always realize that we all have a role here with Lushootseed and that they need to understand that.”

Contact reporter Jadenne Radoc Cabahug at [email protected] Twitter: @jadennecabahug

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Sylvester L. Goldfarb