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«Nicolle Bourget A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences in Partial Fulfil ment of the Requirements for the Degree of ...»

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The Role of Information and Communication Technolog within


Upriver Halq’eméylem Language Initiatives: A Case Study


Nicolle Bourget

A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences

in Partial Fulfil ment of the Requirements for the Degree of



Royal Roads University

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Supervisor: Matthew Heinz

March 2014

Nicolle Bourget, 2014



The members of Nicolle Bourget’s Dissertation Committee certify that they have read the dissertation titled The Role of Information and Communication Technology within Upriver Halq’eméylem Language Initiatives: A Case Study and recommend that it be accepted as

fulfilling the dissertation requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Social Sciences:

Dr. Jo Axe [signature on file] Dr. Strang Burton [signature on file] Dr. Timothy Pasch [signature on file] Final approval and acceptance of this dissertation is contingent upon the candidate’s submission of the final copy of the dissertation to Royal Roads University. The dissertation supervisor confirms that he has read this dissertation prepared under his direction and

recommends that it be accepted as fulfilling the dissertation requirements:

Dr. Matthew Heinz [signature on file]


Creative Commons Statement This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercialAttribution-NonCommercial ShareAlike 2.5 Canada License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/ca/.

Some material in this work is not being made available under the terms of this licence:

Third-Party material that is being used under fair dealing or with permission.

Party • Any photographs where individuals are easily identifiable.


Author Statement This dissertation has been submitted in partial fulfillment of requirements for an advanced degree at Royal Roads University and is deposited in the University Library to be made available to borrowers under rules of the Library.

Brief quotations from this dissertation are allowable without special permission, provided that accurate acknowledgment of source is made. Requests for permission for extended quotation from or reproduction of this manuscript in whole or in part for commercial use may be granted by the copyright holder.

–  –  –

A special thank you goes to my committee for their unwavering support and encouragement throughout my dissertation.

To Matthew Heinz for his mentorship and guidance throughout the process. To Strang Burton for his willingness to work with me and support my research within the community. To Timothy Pasch and Jo Axe for their suggestions and encouragement.

To Marlene Atleo for her contributions in the candidacy and proposal stage.

To my friends, family, and colleagues, thank you for supporting me throughout the many years.

To Laura Wealick for her patience in teaching me the basics of the language and Tia Halstad for her help at the Stó:lō Resource Centre library.

To all the participants in this study who took time out of their busy schedules to share their experiences and their thoughts, thank you!

To the RRU library staff who patiently dealt with all queries and responded quickly to all requests and to Theresa Bell who helped with endless questions as to formatting. As well, my heartfelt gratitude to Robin Cox for recommending the Zotero tool!

Et mon mari, François, qui m’a soutenu sans réserve depuis nombreuses années. Merçi mille

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Creative Commons Statement

Author Statement


Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables


Chapter 1 - Introduction

Chapter 2 - Literature Review

Language Shift

Language, Indigenous Knowledge, and Culture

Language Revitalization

Information and Communication Technology

Research Question


Chapter 3 - The Halq’eméylem Speaking Community

–  –  –

Case Selection

Epistemological Positioning

Ethics Approvals

Data Collection

Data Analysis

Dissemination of Results


Chapter 5 - Findings

Theme I: Community Perceptions of the Language Program

“There used to be one”.

“The technology kept changing”.

The role of women in the language program

“We don’t have money to hire a speaker”.

Theme II: Information and Communication Technology

“Most people have some form of computer and Internet”.

ICT used by teachers and students.



–  –  –

CAN-8 VirtuaLab.


Audio Recordings.


Social Media.

Language Master.

ICT Effectiveness

Theme III: Learning Strategies

“A really neat way of learning”

“Listening to the words”.

“I had to think how to respond”.

“It's all Stó:lō…And it hits home”.

“Hearing an Elder’s voice”.

“At the dinner table”.

“You’re really engrained into the language”.


Chapter 6 - Discussion and Recommendations

Use of Information and Communication Technology

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Actual Language Use



Recommendation #1 – Centralized catalogue and archive

Recommendation #2 – Use of existing software

Recommendation #3 – Collaboration among community members................ 163 Recommendation #4 – Determine why the language is not being spoken....... 165 Recommendation #5 – Evaluate effects of funding structures


Appendix A: Participant Consent Form

Appendix B: Interview Guides




FirstVoices Team

Appendix C: Historical List of Language Program Participants

Appendix D: Stó:lō People


–  –  –

Table 1. Extract of Quantity of Halq’eméylem Language Data

Table 2. Timing of Interviews (August 2012-July 2013)

Table 3. Participant Demographics

Table 4. ICT Used by Teachers and Students

Table 5. Learning Strategies Identified by Community-participants

Table 6. Intersection between ICT and Learning Strategies as identified by CommunityParticipants

Table 7. Sampling of Funding Available

Table 8. Minimum catalogue detail recommended

Table 9. Considerations when evaluating software for a decentralized language program.

....... 161


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This case study examines the effectiveness of information and communication technology (ICT) in the Upriver Halq’eméylem language activities. The research indicates that ICT has been successful in supporting micro-level activities managed by individuals; however, while certain elements of ICT were identified by participants as having the potential to help increase fluency, fluency has not been achieved. Recommendations include the creation of a catalogue of all content developed and applications in use to be maintained by a central and agreed upon party; the use of applications in a Software as a Service (SaaS) or similar model;

continuation of ongoing formal and informal meetings of the individuals who are working to revitalize the language; and, that the community attempt to determine why language is not being spoken while continuing to make the language visible. One additional finding is that the funding available may be driving the adoption of ICT within the language program; additional research is required to fully understand the effects of funding models. While these recommendations are specific to this community, they may support other decentralized language programs.

Keywords: Language revitalization, information and communication technology, Stó:lō,

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Linguists estimate that 50-90 percent of the 6,000 to 7,000 known languages in the world will disappear in the 21st century (Grenoble, 2011). Though experts disagree on the statistics and definitions used to count languages and speakers (Austin & Sallabank, 2011; Grenoble, 2011;

Krauss, 1992), there is agreement that language loss is occurring at an alarming rate with Harrison (2007) estimating that loss is occurring at a rate of one “language about every 10 days” (p. 5). Language loss does not happen overnight but rather occurs gradually as the endangered language is replaced by a dominant language. The reasons for language loss or shift are many but can be summed up in four categories: natural catastrophes including famine and disease; war and genocide; overt repression; and cultural, political, or economic dominance (Austin & Sallabank, 2011). In order to better understand language shift, different frameworks and scales have been developed which assess the level of endangerment based on who is speaking and learning the language (Fishman, 2008a; Grenoble, 2011; Moseley, 2010). Generally, such frameworks indicate that a stable language is one that is spoken by all generations and transmitted to the younger generations through use at home. Such frameworks reference a fully functioning language at one end of a scale while at the other end of the scale, the language may no longer be spoken. These frameworks provide a way to measure how endangered a language may be while providing strategies to shift the language. In many cases, an endangered language is one that is spoken primarily, or only, by Elders. A sense of urgency needs to be created to motivate communities to react to language shift because as fluent Elders are lost, so is the language.

Indigenous languages in Canada are not exempt from language shift; indeed, only a few of the

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When I began this research project, there was limited documentation and research on existing language revitalization programs and how technology had been incorporated into them.

The research that did exist suggested that while information and communication technology (ICT) could be used to archive, document, and support language learning and teaching, ICT would not revitalize nor save a language; this must be done by communities and individuals. The term information and communication technology is a complex concept that is discussed in more detail below. The term refers not only to the technical aspects such as the physical connection to the Internet and the hardware used, but also includes how ICT is used, the content, the purpose for which the Internet is used, the impacts on society, and the social and economic networks. For the purposes of this document, the term ‘technology’ is used interchangeably with the term information and communication technology.

Research suggests that ICT can support language learning of commonly studied languages in formal programs (Zhao, 2003); however, as noted above, research on the use of ICT in revitalizing endangered and less-commonly spoken indigenous language programs indicates that while ICT can support the learning of endangered languages, ICT alone may not bring about fluency. Notwithstanding this, Indigenous peoples around the world continue to put money and effort into ICT for language revitalization. My goal therefore was to investigate the effectiveness of information and communication technology within an established language revitalization program with the objective of providing recommendations to the community while increasing the overall understanding of the role technology plays within language revitalization programs. My

–  –  –

successfully within Indigenous language programs? Three sub-questions were further identified

to frame the focus of the inquiry:

1. Does ICT help the program(s) achieve the stated objectives?

2. How has ICT been integrated into the program and what impact does it have on

–  –  –

3. Are the ICT language resources used beyond the immediate learning experience?

These questions were also used to guide the discussions with the research participants.

The case selected for this project was that of the Halq’eméylem language, a Coast Salish language spoken by the Stó:lō people and a language which is very close to extinction.

Community members and linguists began recording the Halq’eméylem language in audio format in the 1960s. ICT was introduced into the language efforts in the mid-1990s with the creation of CD-ROM games and the community continued to actively incorporate ICT into their language programs. Today, applications supporting the language can be used across multiple devices. In order to understand the effectiveness of ICT used with the language, three sub-questions were used to frame the focus of the inquiry, guide the discussions with the research participants, and provide the structure for the interview guides. Interview questions were open-ended and resulted in conversations not just around the effectiveness of ICT but also what affects the usage of ICT.

While this study provides important insights into the use of technology, it should be noted that I was not able to interview individuals from each of the First Nations bands that make up the Stó:lō people, representatives of the Coqualeetza Education Training Centre, students below the

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