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Sonya Bird

Associate Professor

University of Victoria

Research Themes: 

The Communicating Mind and Body

I am an Associate Professor in Linguistics at the University of Victoria, in Victoria BC Canada.

I have been documenting the details of pronunciation in Coast Salish languages since 2002, and have also worked on pronunciation with speakers of Dene languages, especially Dakelh (Carrier). I am particularly interested in the role of pronunciation and oral fluency in Indigenous language revitalization.

My current work is focused on supporting adult Hul’q’umi’num’ learners to speak proficiently and fluently. In collaboration with the Hul’q’umi’num’ Language and Culture Society (HLCS) and the Hul’q’umi’num’ Language Academy (HLA), I have been documenting the details of pronunciation across Hul’q’umi’num’ speakers of different generations and fluency levels, to understand what the challenges are for learners and to help design pedagogical tools and methods to overcome these challenges.

On the pedagogical side, I am particularly interested in exploring the benefits of incorporating phonetic analysis and “speech visualization” into pronunciation learning and teaching. At UVic, I have also been involved in designing and delivering the Masters in Indigenous Language Revitalization (MILR), offered jointly by the departments of Linguistics and Indigenous Education.