Professor of Anthropological Linguistics
Founding Chair, First Nations and Endangered Languages Program

Patricia A. Shaw is the Founding Chair (1996-2014) of the First Nations and Endangered Languages Program at University of British Columbia, and Professor of Anthropological Linguistics with particular interests in sound systems; the interface of phonology with phonetics and morphology; literacy and oral traditions; language contact and change. For several decades she has worked in close collaboration with members of critically endangered language communities (Salish, Wakashan, Siouan, Athapaskan, Algonquian) to record and analyze extant grammatical and cultural knowledge, to teach research skills and archiving methodologies, to develop pedagogical materials for language revitalization, and to teach First Nations languages at UBC and in various BC communities.

Of particular significance is her long-standing partnership with the Musqueam Indian Band (1997-present) beginning with the development of a formal Protocol Agreement governing UBC-MIB community research engagement for the documentation and revitalization of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ (Central Coast Salish) language. This has laid the foundation for the unique UBC-MIB collaborative teaching and research relationship with the Musqueam community, on whose traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory UBC is situated.

Patricia A. Shaw served as the President of the Society for the Study of the Languages of the Americas (SSILA) from 2011-2013; has served for many years on the Endangered Languages Steering Committee of the Canadian Linguistic Association, as well as on the LSA Committee on Endangered Languages and their Preservation (CELP); and has co-chaired several SSHRC Aboriginal Strategic Research Grant adjudication committees. She founded and serves as Editor of the First Nations Languages Series at UBC Press; was Director of the Aboriginal Languages and Literacy Institute at UBC (2006); has taught at InField 2008 (UCSB), InField 2010 (U Oregon, Eugene), CoLang 2012 (U Kansas), CoLang 2014 (U Texas, Arlington); and has served as a Faculty Mentor at the Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages in 2011, 2013 (Washington, DC), as well as the Breath of Life California Indian Language Restoration Workshop in 2012, 2014 (UC Berkeley).

FNEL 281 Sounds of Endangered Languages: Conservation and Revitalization

Development of skills in the perception and transcription of speech sounds in endangered languages, focusing on the diversity within BC Aboriginal languages. Capacity-building techniques for digital recording, editing, analysis, and archiving; guided by community-based ethical protocols and conservation/revitalization goals.

Term 1: 3 credits
Prerequisite: None
Time: Tuesday & Thursday, 12:30pm – 2:00pm
Location: Buchanan D, Room 312
Teacher: Patricia A. Shaw

If you have questions, please contact Dr. Patricia A. Shaw at

FNEL 389 Collaborative Heritage Research in First Nations Languages

Practicum and Workshop Hands-on experience planning and producing a Breath of Life Language Restoration Workshop for endangered BC First Nations languages, during which community-based researchers access and interpret relevant heritage resources at UBC and other local institutions for the revitalization of their languages.

Term 2: 3 credits
Prerequisites: FNEL 281; FNEL 282; or permission of the instructor.
Recommended: FNEL 481
Time: Wednesday, 2:00-3:30pm. Please note that the timetabling for this course is non-standard: the class will meet one afternoon every week in Term 2 (Wed afternoons from 2:00-3:30), plus all FNEL 389 students will participate in an intensive week-long workshop (Sun May 7 – Sat May 13, 9:00am – 4:30pm)
Location: Buchanan B, Room 307
Teacher: Patricia A. Shaw

If you have questions, please contact Dr. Patricia A. Shaw at