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Linguistics (MA) - Native American Linguistics and Languages

Degree or Minor: 
Graduate Degree
UA College: 
Social & Behavioral Sciences
Degree/Minor Description: 


Linguistics (MA) - Native American Linguistics and Languages  

Program Description

The NAMA degree program is oriented towards community language activists who wish to train in the kinds of skills and experience needed to work on maintaining, revitalizing, and documenting their native languages. Students interested in NAMA can either be speakers or second language learners of their language, or ones who have studied a particular Native American language and have close contact with that language community. The specialized nature of this degree focuses on indigenous languages and meeting the needs of Native American communities: due to the rapid decline in the use of heritage languages tribal communities have pressed for practical linguistic training to:

  • revitalize, maintain, and document indigenous languages;
  • provide skills and expertise for Native American linguists to develop teaching grammars and other educational materials;
  • promote understanding of indigenous peoples' educational issues at every level of policy making;
  • enhance and promote understanding of complex factors leading to language choice, language shift and language loss, and;
  • work with archival media (such as audio legacy audio recordings and historical documents) to enrich the language record and to produce viable teaching materials

We are also open to other community-oriented objectives and projects. Additionally, NAMA students are encouraged to participate in the life of the Linguistics Department and other university departments (Anthropology, American Indian Studies). There are many opportunities to enrich their experiences and professional network through interacting with other students, professors and researchers who have similar goals and interests – there is a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw upon.

Students complete the degree in one academic year plus one summer doing coursework at the American Indian Language Development Institute (AILDI). The NAMA program also often serves a stepping stone for those students who wish to advance to the Ph.D. level in linguistics or related disciplines.