Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Keith W. Slater


The Naskapi language is the language of instruction in the early primary grades of the school in the Naskapi community. Only recently have Naskapi-speaking teachers received formal instruction in pedagogy, with a cohort of Naskapi teachers following courses for their Bachelor of Education degree towards careers teaching in the Naskapi language in their local school. These adults are highly motivated to become literate in their mother tongue in order to teach or prepare curriculum materials in the Naskapi language. This thesis explores how basic grammatical structures can be mastered, and provides insight into the form that pedagogical grammatical instruction should take, in order to equip these individuals to become adequately literate in their mother tongue.

Using data gathered from linguistic fieldwork and while conducting language classes for Naskapi adults, an instructional method for describing Naskapi language patterns in a form that is accessible to speakers is developed. This method was implemented in an experimentally in a classroom setting in which bilingual adult Naskapi speakers were learning to read and write their own language. Using a qualitative/mixed research methodology, the responses and performance of adult Naskapi learners were used to construct and to validate the framework.

A tangible outcome of this project is an instructional method that includes a component that may be grown into a pedagogical grammar of Naskapi crafted to help Naskapi toward successful literacy in their own language. This also identifies a starting point for developing a Naskapi language curriculum guide for teaching of Naskapi language structures to secondary-level students. This material targets the language arts competencies required by the educational jurisdictions governing the Naskapi school.