Language Academy FAQ

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Administrative support:
Q: Who do I contact for administrative help from SFU?
A: Please contact: Lorraine Yam for general questions and Donna Gerdts for questions concerning the Hul’q’umi’num’ language academy.

You can also find a variety of forms and information at:

Cost of the program:
Q: How much with the program cost and how can I get financial assistance?
A: General information on tuition and fees are available at the SFU website.

However, you should contact the post-secondary officier of your First Nations to get instructions on how to apply for financial assistance and deadlines for applying.
SFU also is able to a help fund students. Contact: Donna Gerdts for information.
We are also going to engage in various fund-raising activities.
Please do not let funding stand in the way for your Hul’q’umi’num’ language learning journey.

Q: How do I apply to be an SFU student?
A: You must submit an application form, and send in official copies of your transcripts.
Fine the admission form on the web
and ask for help from Donna Gerdts on how to fill it in.

Q: I was an SFU student in the past. Do I still need to fill in the application form?
A: Usually you can submit a reactivation form. This will update your information.

Q: I never completed high school. Can I still become an SFU student?
A: Yes, there is a route for admission based on knowledge of First Nation cultural traditions. Please fill out this form:

Q: I am currently a secondary student. Can I begin my universities students now?
A: Yes, if you are a grade 12 student and will graduate in June 2018, we can make arrangements for you to take SFU courses part-time in spring and become a full-time university student at the end of June. SFU also allows concurrent registration so that universities can be credited to your high school diploma (subject to permission of principal). One university courses equals half a high school course. You will need to fill out the following form in addition to the regular admission form.

Q: I am currently an undergraduate student at another post-secondary institution and will not complete my bachelor’s degree by April. Can I enroll in this program?
A: Yes. We can assist you in making arrangements with your current post-secondary institution. Please provide us with information about your current program and your future plans.

Q: I already have a university degree. Can I enroll in this program?
A: If you have a BA or BEd (or even an MA or MEd) and want to add expertise in Hul’q’umi’num’ and earn a certificate, we would love for you to join our cohort. You will need to consult with your First Nation’s post-secondary officer for their policies on limits to supporting multiple post-secondary programs.

Frequently asked questions:

Q: I have already taken university courses in Hul’q’umi’num’. Can I transfer these courses to SFU and apply them toward the certificate?
A: If you have already taken some language courses at SFU, VIU, CNC, or elsewhere, we can discuss with you what courses you still need to take to finish the certificate. However, we encourage everyone to participate in all 390 hours of this program, as the goal is to get as fluent as you can in Hul’q’umi’num’ as well as learn linguistic skills.

Q: I speak the Hul’q’umi’num’ language fluently already. Can I apply for this program?
A: Learning to speak the language is so much more difficult than learning to read and write it. We would love to have you in our program, give your talent proper respect, and help you gain literacy skills and also help you move to the next level of linguistic knowledge of the language.

Q: I am not interested in earning a certificate, can I still take classes?
A: Our priority in this program is full-time students who wish to complete one year of university and earn a certificate. The cohort program and all students will be together for all of the classes and the learning is designed to be incremental but steady. So this might not be good fit for someone who can’t participate in all the classes. Please contact us to tell us your goals, however, as we often offer other classes, and also Vancouver Island University and several Hul’q’umi’num’ nations offer language courses.

Q: I am going to be away for a couple of weeks in the summer. Can I still be in this program?
A: The eight weeks that we spend together in July and August is the immersive part of this program and is going to be important for gaining fluency. Please

Q: How hard will the courses be?
A: University courses are very demanding both in terms of time commitment (39 in-class hours per course and a big expectation for engaging in study and research outside of class time). But we will do our best to help break the learning down into small, manageable tasks focused on important and valuable topics. You need to be ready to commit to attend every class and do each assignment in a timely fashion. This may require some sacrifice of personal time during the eight months of the program. Psychological factors play an important part in success, and we turn to spiritual guidance from the Elders and emotional support from our families to help us stay strong and persevere.

Q: Several orthographies are being used to represent Hul’q’umi’num’ in the different schools. What orthography will the courses use?
A: We will be presenting materials in the orthography developed during the CURA grant between University of Victoria and HTG (though we don’t use the letter /o/, opting for the phonological form /’uw’/ instead). You can see how we write things in the materials on this website. When you are writing or producing materials, you can use any orthography you would like, as long as you provide us with the key to what the symbols represent and use it systematically. During the MA program we will also be using a version of the International Phonetic Alphabet during the course on phonetics and phonology.

Q: I’m eager to learn and use my own dialect of Hul’q’umi’num’. What dialect will you be using in class?
A: We encourage all participants to speak and write their own dialect. For example, if you are Snuneymuxw, you will say tl’uts’a’ for “rock”, but if you are Quw’utsun’ you will say smeent. Also if you are from the northern part of the Hul’q’umi’num’ territory, you will say tu swuy’qe’ and not tthu swuy’qe’, as some people say. The differences among the dialects are something that greatly interests Prof. Gerdts. She wrote her MA thesis back in 1977 on differences between speakers from different locations. She has worked for many years with speakers of all the dialects and she is eager to share what she has learned about both the differences that distinguish speakers and also the similarities that tie them together as speakers of one language.