CBU to Offer Mi’kmaw Language Lessons for Faculty and Staff

The Kji-keptin Alexander Denny L’nui’sultimkeweyo’kuom (Mi’kmaq Language Lab) at Cape Breton University will present a series of Mi’kmaq language classes designed for non-speaking faculty and staff at CBU. The Mi’kmaq Language Learning Series will consist of five one-hour lessons that will run on Fridays from 11:00 a.m. to 12 noon on various dates in January and February. By the end of the series, participants should know sounds, pronunciation and have basic conversational skills in Mi’kmaq. The series is the first of what is hoped to be an on-going initiative  and will be able to accommodate up to 15 participants for the five-lesson series.

The lessons will be instructed by Susy Denny of Eskasoni, a fluent speaker of the Mi’kmaw language, Bachelor of Arts student at CBU and granddaughter of Alexander Denny, after whom the Language Lab is named. Susy was employed by the Lab as the Technical Assistant this past fall for the Conversational Mi’kmaw Level 1 course, that was offered by CBU via video conference at Dalhousie University for students from Dalhousie, St. Mary’s, and Mount Saint Vincent Universities, in Halifax. She was present for all classes offered and learned the method that instructor, Evelyn Toney used to teach Conversational Mi’kmaw Level 1 for non-speakers.

Dr. Stephanie Inglis, professor of Mi’kmaq Studies and Director of the Kji-keptin Alexander Denny L’nui’sultimkeweyo’kuom says she has been asked for many years by faculty and staff at CBU to offer classes like these, but it is only recently possible because of the new 3000-level course being offered at the university, Mi’kmaw Advanced Verbs. This course is now enabling CBU students to have the background in Mi’kmaw language necessary to be able to teach these classes. The first section of the course was offered this past fall. The goal is to be able to offer the Mi’kmaw Advanced Verbs course regularly at CBU, which will allow for a steady stream of students available and qualified to teach the Mi’kmaq language lessons for faculty and staff going forward. Dr. Inglis says she would like to be able to develop other courses for semi-speakers of Mi’kmaw as well.

Though class space was limited, those who are interested in learning more can still attend the upcoming Nation2Nation Speaker Series event being held on Friday, January 26, from 11:00 a.m. to 12 noon, in the Sydney Credit Union Room on CBU campus. In this presentation, Dr. Stephanie Inglis will discuss the comparative linguistic structures of Mi’kmaq and English.