NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1161891
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Nov
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0008-4506
Beautiful Words: Enriching and Indigenizing Kwak'wala Revitalization through Understandings of Linguistic Structure
Rosborough, Trish; Rorick, chuutsqa Layla; Urbanczyk, Suzanne
Canadian Modern Language Review, v73 n4 p425-437 Nov 2017
British Columbia (BC), Canada, is home to 34 Indigenous languages, all of them classified as endangered. Considerable work is underway by First Nation communities to revitalize their languages. Linguists classify many of the languages of BC as polysynthetic, meaning that words are composed of many morphemes, or units of meaning. While strong fluent speakers and linguists who work with these languages have knowledge and appreciation of these units of meaning, those understandings are often not reflected in the approaches for teaching and learning BC languages. Drawing on examples from Kwak'wala, a language of coastal BC, we discuss how an Indigenized approach to language revitalization can recognize and respect the highly regarded ancestral origins and messages about identity that are reflected within the language. In developing understanding of the morphemes of the language, learners can grasp literal meanings and metaphors embedded in Kwak'wala words, leading to deeper understandings of Kwakwaka'wakw worldview and appreciation of the beauty of the language. In addition, learners can be supported to use morphemes as building blocks in their language learning. Rather than memorizing words and phrases, learners can be encouraged to listen for and use the morphemes they know to understand and produce new words and phrases.
University of Toronto Press. 5201 Dufferin Street, Toronto, ON M3H 5T8, Canada. Tel: 416-667-7810; Fax: 800-221-9985; Fax: 416-667-7881; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A