The Department of Indigenous Studies at the University of Lethbridge is offering two graduate student positions at the PhD or MA level, beginning in September 2021. These positions are part of the Blackfoot Language Resources project at the University of Lethbridge, which is a partner in the project 21st Century Tools for Indigenous Languages, funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Grant in 2019–2026 and hosted by the Alberta Language Technology Lab (ALTLab) at the University of Alberta.
The 21st Century Tools for Indigenous Languages project is developing language technological models, tools, and resources for Indigenous languages in Canada. This includes: intelligent electronic dictionaries, linguistically analyzed collections of spoken and written texts, spell-checkers, language learning and practice tools, and word form analyzers and generators. All our tools are created in close collaboration with Indigenous communities in order to facilitate and support the use of their languages in all spheres of life by community members.
The positions advertised here will focus on the development of tools for Blackfoot (Algonquian), building upon preceding work on Plains Cree, East Cree, and Odawa (Algonquian), Tsuut’ina (Dene), and Haida (isolate). Students will be housed in the Department of Indigenous Studies at the University of Lethbridge and be co-supervised by Dr. Inge Genee (Professor & Partnership Co-director) at the University of Lethbridge and Dr. Antti Arppe (Associate Professor and Partnership Director) at the University of Alberta. In the first year of the program students will spend time in Edmonton at the Department of Linguistics, University of Alberta and ALTLab for coursework and training purposes, before beginning work on Blackfoot in the Lethbridge area in Southern Alberta.
Students will be expected to:
-support the development or maintenance of our tool development for the Blackfoot language, and
-conduct research that contributes to our knowledge of the Blackfoot language and to community-based maintenance and revitalization efforts in the broadest sense, with a special focus on technological tool development and application.
Applicants must have:
-a keen interest in North American Indigenous language, and
-meet the general minimum admission requirements to the University of Lethbridge School of Graduate Studies.
We will prefer candidates with experience in and knowledge of the phonetics/phonology and/or morphosyntax of Indigenous languages (North American Indigenous languages, in particular, Algonquian languages); and/or experience in computational linguistics and natural language processing (e.g. finite-state transducers, speech technology, machine learning); and/or interest or experience in language documentation, language revitalization, and language learning.
Indigenous candidates, in particular Blackfoot candidates, are especially encouraged to apply.
Before applying, applicants must contact Dr. Genee (firstname.lastname@example.org) to informally discuss the position as soon as feasible but no later than December 22, 2020.
Suitable candidates will be invited to formally submit an application to the University of Lethbridge graduate program, which has a deadline of February 1, 2021.
These positions are intended for a start in September 2021, but will remain open until filled.