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Martina Volfova

PhD Candidate


Faculty of Arts

Research Themes: 

Language, Sustainability and Transnationalism

Martina is a linguistic anthropology PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology. Her primary research interests include issues surrounding language endangerment, revitalization, maintenance, and most recently language documentation. Her PhD research seeks to provide an ethnographic analysis of the ways language revitalization practices reflect, produce, and transform wider social practices, values, and ideologies, including those relating to language. She seeks to explore alternative ways to engage in Indigenous language work, displacing it from a domain traditionally dominated by academic experts working with expert speakers, and instead locating it within a community of young emerging speakers, as a form of innovative social action and political and intellectual engagement, challenging the expectations of how non-fluent speakers should engage with and approach their ancestral languages. She theorizes that an active, collaborative engagement of speakers and learners in these activities has the potential to open up new possibilities and trajectories for language revitalization. Martina’s background is in linguistics, anthropology, language teaching, teacher training, and language curriculum development. Since coming to UBC, Martina has been involved with the Kaska Talking Dictionary project, working under the supervision of Dr. Patrick Moore, both on the UBC campus as well as in Kaska communities in the Yukon. Martina is currently in the process of conducting her research in Watson Lake, Yukon.

Research Interests

Indigenous languages, language documentation, language revitalization and maintenance, language planning, youth language, community language activism, language education, language material development.