Lieutenant Governor’s Silver Medal: Marianne Huijsmans

Congratulations to our current PhD student Marianne Huijsmans, who is the 2016 recipient of The Lieutenant Governor’s Silver Medal for her M.A. thesis, completed at the University of Victoria under the supervision of Dr. Martha McGinnis-Archibald.


For her M.A. thesis, Marianne investigated the grammar of SENĆOŦEN, a Salish language spoken by the Saanich First Nations people. She explored the sequencing of SENĆOŦEN discourse particles, short unstressed words that attach to a stressed word at the beginning of a clause. Through careful study of texts, Marianne found that each particle’s position is jointly determined by its meaning within clause structure, and by constraints on the ordering of stressed and unstressed syllables. Her strikingly original research spanned four major subfields of linguistics—syntax, semantics, phonology, and phonetics—and has already been presented at several professional conferences. Marianne also collaborated with Elder John Elliott (STOLȻEȽ) of Tsartlip First Nation to develop a teaching resource on discourse particles, contributing to the community’s ongoing project of transmitting SENĆOŦEN to a new generation of speakers.

Marianne is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Linguistics at UBC, and coordinating the Éy7á7juuthem (Comox-Sliammon) component of Dr. Henry Davis’ SSHRC-funded electronic dictionary project.