What is CCLAS?
The Chisasibi Child Language Acquisition Study (CCLAS) began in 2004, and is located in the (North East) Cree-speaking community of Chisasibi, Quebec. CCLAS is a "naturalistic" study which examines the linguistic stages children pass through as they learn to speak Cree as their first language. A so-called "language acquisition study", CCLAS documents the linguistic journey children embark on in their early (language-learning) years. Many of the world's languages are the focus of acquisition studies.
Our first acknowledgement goes to the families who volunteered to participate in this study. The project would not have been possible without their (continuing) generosity, patience and understanding. They put up with the inconvenience of filming in order to contribute to the support of their language, a fact we always bear in mind as we proceed with our work. Thus, we extend our biggest thanks to the children of CCLAS and to their families. We also thank the various Cree community organizations that have supported CCLAS over the years. Special thanks to the Cree School board for their hospitailty in Chisasibi. For primary funding, CCLAS gratefully acknowledges the Social Sciences and Humanities Council for Canada (SSHRC):
- 2004-08: SSHRC Standard Research Grant 410-2004-1836
2008-12: SSHRC Standard Research Grant 410-2008-0378
Over a 30-month period (2004-2007), CCLAS made approximately 130 video-recordings of six Cree-speaking children, all of whom are residents of Chisasibi, Quebec. By "naturalistic", we mean that the children were recorded in a natural setting such as in their own homes, and that, beyond engaging them in play activities which were likely to encourage language use, no special attempts were made to elicit language. The core CCLAS research team consists of Julie Brittain (Project Director), Carrie Dyck, Yvan Rose and Marguerite MacKenzie (Department of Linguistics, Memorial University). We are assisted in our work by the many people whose names appear on the pages of this website.
So far as we know, CCLAS is the first in-depth naturalistic language acquisition study undertaken for Cree or for any related (Algonquian) language. Documenting the stages of Cree acquisition is a principal objective of the study. It focuses on the five optimal language-learning years in a child’s life: from age one through age six.