Alaska Native Language Classes and Degree Programs

There are 20 Alaska Native languages: Aleut, Alutiiq (also called Aleut or Sugpiaq), Central Yup'ik Eskimo, St. Lawrence Island Eskimo, Inupiaq Eskimo, Tsimshian, Haida, Tlingit, and Eyak and 11 Athabascan languages. These languages are becoming recognized as a priceless heritage.

Since the enactment of the Alaska Bilingual Education Law in 1972, there has been a statewide demand for teachers who can speak and teach these languages in the schools where there are Native children. Professional opportunities for those skilled in these languages exist in teaching and research as well as in cultural, educational, and political development.

Central Yup'ik Eskimo is spoken by the largest number of people, and Inupiaq by the next largest. In these two languages major and minor curricula are offered. Courses are also regularly offered in Gwich'in Athabascan. For work in all other languages, individual or small-group instruction is offered in special topics. Thus there has frequently been instruction, seminars, and workshops also in Tlingit, Haida, St. Lawrence Island Eskimo, Aleut, and Koyukon, plus comparative Eskimo and comparative Athabascan.

UAF is unique in offering this curriculum, which benefits also from the research staff and library of the Alaska Native Language Center.

Spring 2016 Language Classes

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Spring 2016 Language Courses on the Fairbanks Campus

ANL 142 (CRN 33136): Beginning Athabascan - Gwich'in (Peter)

Introduction to Gwich’in Athabascan, spoken in the northeastern Alaska villages of Arctic Village, Venetie, Fort Yukon, Chalkyitsik, Circle, and Birch Creek, as well as in a wide adjacent area of the Northwest Territories and Yukon Territory.  Prerequisites:  ANL F141 in the same language or instructor permission. 

ANL 242 (CRN 33137): Intermediate Athabascan Gwich'in (Peter)

Continuation of beginning Athabascan-Gwich'in. Development of conversational ability, additional grammar and vocabulary.  Prerequisites:  ANL F141 and ANL F142 in the same language or instructor permission.

ANL 255 (CRN 38009): Intro to ANL: Eskimo-Aleut (Berge)

Overview of languages native to Alaska with special attention to the Eskimo-Aleut languages.  We will look at their prehistory and history, as well as the present status of languages.  We will have an introduction to basic Eskimo-Aleut language structure, explore some of differences between the languages and the effects of contact with unrelated languages on their development.  Finally, we will look at the status of linguistics documentation, literature, education and language maintenance efforts.  

ANL 288 (CRN 38010): Curriculum and Materials Development for Alaska Native Languages (Peter)

Preparation and evaluation of curriculum and classroom materials for teaching Native languages.  Prerequisites:  ANL F287; knowledge of a Native language or instructor permission.  

ANL 402 (CRN 33140) Alaska Native Language Apprenticeship (Peter)

Structured study of an Alaska Native Language. Select and work intensively with a mentor (a native speaker of the language selected). Choice of mentor requires faculty approval.  Meet regularly with mentor (minimum 10 hours per week) and participate in regular training sessions to work toward fluency. Graded Pass/Fail.  

ESK 102 (CRN 34071): Elementary Central Yup'ik Eskimo (Forbes)

Introduction to Central Yup'ik, the language of the Yukon and Kuskokwim deltas and Bristol Bay.

ESK 112 (CRN 34072): Elementary Inupiaq Eskimo (Brower)

Introduction to Inupiaq, the language of Unalakleet, Seward Peninsula, Kotzebue Sound and the North Slope.

ESK 116 (CRN 34703): Conversational Inupiaq Eskimo (Brower)

Introductory course for students who wish to acquire the ability to speak Inupiaq. Students first learn to understand simple spoken language, then to speak simple Inupiaq, developing a beginning level of communicative competence in the language.

ESK 202 (CRN 34704): Intermediate Central Yup'ik Eskimo (Charles)

Continuation of ESK F101 and ESK F102. Increasing emphasis on speaking, reading and writing. Prerequisites: ESK F102 or permission of instructor.

ESK 415 (CRN 35578) Additional Topics Advanced Yup'ik (Charles)

Further study of Yup'ik linguistics.  Includes text transcription, editing, analysis and discussion.  Yup'ik dialectology.  Study of related Eskimo languages from the standpoint of Central Yup'ik.  Additional topics to be studied depending upon the interests of the students and the instructor.  Prerequisites:  ESK F101; ESK F102; ESK F201; ESK F202 or instructor permission.  

Spring 2016 Language Courses Distance Delivered

ESK 287 F104 UK1 (CRN 38443): Conversational Central Yup'ik (Alexie-Kuskokwim Campus)

Audio Conference.  Entry-level course to learn to speak and understand Yup'ik Eskimo.  Focus on communication in everyday situations.  Prerequisites:  ESK F103 or instructor permsission.  Special Requirements:  Computer, internet, phone and email.  T, Th 6:30 - 8:20 pm; 1/14/16 - 4/28/16.  Conference Audio Number:  1-866-832-7806.  Student Code:  3745316.  Materials provided by instructor.   Kuskokwim Campus

*Register for these distance-delivered courses through a local community campus of the College of Rural and Community Development. Call 1-866-478-2721 for more information.

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