Saxon, Leslie


Phone number: (250) 721-7433
Department: Linguistics

Research description:

- Linguistics
- Language Maintenance and Language Revitalization - Dictionary Research
- First Nations Languages
- Northern Studies

Expertise Profile
Indigenous communities around the world and across our country are working hard to inject their languages with renewed vigour and prevent them from disappearing in silence.

To support them, UVic professor of linguistics Dr. Leslie Saxon and her colleagues recently developed new degree programs for community language activists to reverse the decline of Indigenous languages and promote understanding of their cultures.

Dr. Saxon, who has worked closely with First Nations communities in the Northwest Territories, believes there is a lot to learn from Indigenous languages.

"Every language reveals a different perspective on the world," she says. "In big or small ways, words can carry more weight and significance than a simple translation into English would indicate."

Because language holds so much information about the community who uses it, Dr. Saxon is also working on documenting and analyzing patterns of the language - particularly the Tłįchǫ language in the Northwest Territories. Collaborating with Tłįchǫ linguists and University of Victoria students, she has published a manual and online dictionary with audio clips specifically for this community to record their linguistic legacy.

Just as she enjoys discovering new things in her research, Dr. Saxon makes her students discover patterns of language through an exercise she calls "the language watch," where students observe language usages around them, analyze the unusual applications of words and discuss the value of language as a social expression.

Related Links
Dr. Saxon's Faces of UVic Research video:

Health related research:

Dr. Saxon is contributing to wellness and identity through strengthening First Nations language and culture knowledge.

International research:

First Nations of Canada: Tłįchǫ Nation


Tłįchǫ (Dogrib), French

< Browse all experts