Hän Theoretical Work

Hän is a Dene language spoken in Alaska and the Yukon Territory.

The Hän language is extremely endangered, with only six remaining speakers. I have been working on Hän since 2016 with Alaska-based language consultants. My work involves documentation, revitalization, and theoretical research.

In 2017, I received a $6000 fellowship (UCLA's Graduate Summer Research Mentorship) for my fieldwork on Hän.

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Me with Ruth Ridley, the youngest remaining speaker of Hän.

Latest Work

Presentation 11-19-20.pdf

Invited talk presented at UC Berkeley's Fieldwork Forum

This talk covers the pronominal prefix system used in Hän for direct object verbal prefixes, indirect object postposition prefix, and possessor-marking nominal prefixes. I propose that Hän's pronominal system has a distinction between reflexive and disjoint anaphors, and a distinction between definite and indefinite pronouns, with a single phonetic form representing the disjoint anaphor and the definite pronoun.

Revitalizing a Pronominal System.pdf

Hän only has six remaining speakers. While we work towards revitalization as an L2, we are faced with the necessary task of rapidly documenting the details of an understudied, critically endangered language which is not used in the daily life of any of the remaining speakers. This talk discusses how ongoing theoretical work on the pronominal prefix system (used for direct object verbal prefixes, indirect object postposition prefixes, and possessor-marking nominal prefixes) can be used in language learning materials such as lessons and textbooks. I explore how a complex pronominal system with unique linguistic features can be presented to non-linguist language learners and how we can break down theoretical concepts such as reflexive and disjoint anaphors, definiteness, and salience in order to give language learners actionable generalizations to use in their new language.


2017, Dene Language Conference Proceedings

Maura OLeary - The Interaction of Wh-movement and Topicalization in Han.docx.pdf

2019, with Blake Lehman
Schuhschrift: Papers in Honor of Russell Schuh