Community Linguist Certificate

The Community Linguist Certificate (CLC) provides linguistic analysis and language documentation training. It is directed at speakers of North American Aboriginal languages, specifically those who are interested in preserving their languages. CILLDI offers the certificate, and it is awarded by the University of Alberta Faculty of Arts. CLC holders might:

  • lead community-based language projects
  • produce dictionaries and grammars
  • develop new vocabulary items
  • oversee place-naming projects
  • hold orthography and literacy workshops
  • transcribe and archive personal stories and community histories
  • build language databases and websites
  • write grant proposals for community-based language projects.

Who are CLC students?

Certificate students will likely have no prior exposure to linguistics. They may be speakers or semi-speakers of their Indigenous language, and they will have an abiding interest in preventing the loss of their language. Possibly, they have taken on the task of saving the language in their home community but need more expertise, material, and authority to make substantive changes. Students might hold a BA or ED and simply be seeking specialized knowledge in Indigenous language documentation. CLC students might also be Elders or other fluent speakers, community language activists who wish to develop linguistic analysis skills so they can document their languages and further develop or traditions or written literature.

Which courses make up the CLC?

There are six courses that Community Linguist Certificate students must take to prepare them for community-based language documentation. Students usually take two courses per summer in the order listed:

LING 111–Introduction to Linguistic Analysis for Indigenous Language Revitalization
LING 211–Phonetics of Indigenous Languages

LING 212–Morphosyntax of Indigenous Languages
LING 213–Sentence and Discourse Patterns of Indigenous Languages

INT D 311–Language Policy and Planning for Indigenous Language Communities
INT D 318–Technologies for Endangered Language Documentation

The Linguistics courses provide the basics of linguistic analysis. This allows students to understand how the sound system, the word formation system, and the syntax/semantics of connected discourse work in the Indigenous language of the student. These courses also cover techniques for representing knowledge orthographically: in a dictionary, grammar, or collection of narrative texts.

The two Interdisciplinary courses take the specialized linguistic training of the CLC back to the community level. Each student will develop practical knowledge in sociolinguistics and language policy, as well as first and second language acquisition. Additionally, technical methods of sound recording, data management, and even the construction of language-based corpora and websites will be covered.

Is financial support available for CLC students?

Yes! Please see the Funding Opportunities page. The University of Alberta Provost's Office supports CILLDI by sponsoring the CILLDI Bursary. Many potential students are likely to be individuals who are ineligible for financial assistance because they are not affiliated with a band or settlement or live off reserve, because they aren’t registered in a full-time degree program, or because they have already received the maximum level of funding available.

The Bursary will cover: University of Alberta Open Studies Application fee (if necessary), tuition for two 3-credit courses,a meal plan at St. Joseph’s College, and either on-Campus accommodation at St. Joseph’s Men’s Residence Hall or an $800 housing stipend for students who chose to stay elsewhere (e.g.  Schäffer Hall, Campus Towers, etc.)

CILLDI bursaries are available by competition. A brief three-page application form is available for download here. The application also requires a letter of support from community members or employers who endorse the student’s pursuit of CLC courses. This year's bursary application deadline is March 20, 2017 **please note, the deadline has been extended to March 27, 2017.