The Semantics of Relative Clauses in Tlicho Yatii

Regions: North Slave Region

Tags: social sciences, aboriginal language

Principal Investigator: Hucklebridge, Sherry (1)
Licence Number: 16348
Organization: University of Massachusetts Amherst
Licenced Year(s): 2018
Issued: Jul 09, 2018
Project Team: Sherry Hucklebridge

Objective(s): To study relative clauses in Tlicho Yatii.

Project Description: The specific focus of this study is on relative clauses in Tlicho Yatii. The term `relative clause' is used to refer to clauses that define, identify or describe nouns. For example, in the sentence `The students who Ann liked got an A', the clause `who Ann liked' is a relative clause. Unlike English, Tlicho Yatii has few adjectives, and relative clauses are used for all description of nouns in the language. The Principal Investigator (PI) hopes to learn how relative clauses add to the meaning of nouns in Tlicho Yatii, and to explore how Tlicho Yatii relative clauses may differ in their meaning from relative clauses seen in other languages.

This study will involve a series of one-on-one meetings between the PI and native speakers of Tlicho Yatii. These native speakers will act as language consultants for the study. Each meeting will last approximately an hour, and no longer than two hours. During these meetings, the PI will ask the language consultant to help with a series of language tasks, including:
a) translating English sentences into Tlicho Yatii;
b) translating Tlicho Yatii sentences into English; and,
c) describing pictures in Tlicho Yatii.
The PI will write down the consultant’s answers, and will also audio-record the meetings, with the consultant’s permission. The PI will recruit language consultants personally through email and/or over the phone. Language consultants that the PI have met previously will be contacted first, followed by consultants recommended to by the Language Culture Coordinators at the Tlicho Community Service Agency.

The PI will recruit between 1-3 native speakers of Tlicho Yatii from the communities of Bechoko and/or Yellowknife to participate as language consultants in this study.

This project will contribute to the ongoing effort to document and revitalize Tlicho Yatii by recording parts of the language that have not previously been documented. This helps to increase the likelihood of the continuation of Tlicho Yatii as a living language.

Copies of the audio files that are recorded during meetings with consultants will be given to the Tlicho Community Service Agency for use in languages revitalization projects (for example, in a language-learning app), if the language consultant recorded on the tape gives their permission. The PI will also write a plain-language version of the results of the research that can be used for language teaching and learning.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from July 9, 2018 to September 6, 2018.