Current Team

Dr. Antti Arppe – Director

Antti is Associate Professor of Quantitative Linguistics at the
University of Alberta and founder of ALTLab. He is also the Partnership director for the SSHRC funded Partnership “21st Century Tools for Indigenous Languages“.  His research applies and develops statistical and computational methods, as well as corpora and language technology, in modeling linguistic phenomena, with an aim for cognitive plausibility, and contrasting evidence representing different modalities of language. Prior to his academic career, he worked in senior managerial positions for Lingsoft, a Finnish language technology company, responsible for proofing tools such as those that will be developed by ALTLab. In ALTLab, Antti is responsible for the overall planning and management of the project, and supervising both research and development of the computational linguistic models and subsequent applications for Plains Cree and other indigenous languages.


Dr. Jordan LachlerJL

Jordan Lachler is Director of the Canadian Indigenous Languages and Literacy Development Institute (CILLDI). He brings in considerable experience from many years of close collaborative work with a range of indigenous language communities including Haida and Nakota, and has been a key contributor in the development of partnerships with Cree and other communities. Dr. Lachler participates in overall project planning and management and supervises research on the computational description of Plains Cree and the development of the subsequent applications so that community involvement and feedback is ensured.


Atticus Harrigan – Lab Manager (Recording infrastructure)

Atticus is a graduate student in the Department of Linguistics and Lab Manager (recording infrastructure). His interests include Native American languages, corpus linguistics, and computational methods for linguistic analysis. Theoretically he has an interest in cognitive grammar and its interface with morphosyntax and semantics. In working with the ALT lab, Atticus aids in recording, management of annotations, and principally develops the Plains Cree finite state machine that provides the backbone for the machine analysis and generation of Plains Cree.


Katie Schmirler – Lab Coordinator (Western Cree Dictionaries)

Katherine is a PhD student in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Alberta, and Lab Co-ordinator (Western Cree dictionaries). Her background is in description and maintenance of Native American languages, especially Plains Cree, and in comparative Algonquian. Her interests include the description and analysis of the phonology, morphosyntax, and discourse structure of Plains Cree. At the ALTLab, she is currently involved in recordings, the adaptation of the Plains Cree finite state machine to the Woods Cree dialect, and the development of a synchronic and diachronic derivational analyser for Cree.


Eddie Antonio Santos – NRC Application Software Developer

Eddie is a software developer with the National Research Council of Canada that is embedded here in the ALT Lab.  Eddie holds both a BSc and MSc in Computing Science from the University of Alberta. Eddie’s research focused on how natural language processing tools can be leveraged to work on source code and software engineering artifacts. In his spare time, Eddie enjoys teaching beginners how to code, adventuring in the D&D multiverse, and jamming on bass guitar. Eddie received a BSc. in Computing Science from the University of Alberta. Contact him at easantos@ualberta.ca or https://eddieantonio.ca/.


Erin McGarvey – Administrative Assistant

Erin is a graduate student in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Alberta.  For her thesis she is doing ethnographic research on a summer language program for the Unangax Language in St. Paul Island, Alaska that uses the Where Are Your Keys? method of language learning.  Her other research interests include linguistic anthropology, historical linguistics, language documentation, and lexicography. A perfect evening for Erin would involve curling up with her cat, a warm drink, and a good book/fun craft in front of a cozy roaring fire.  At the ALT Lab, she helps with the administrative tasks of running a lab such as responding to email, mastering the art of polite pestering, scheduling events and managing equipment.


Danny Hieber – Postdoctoral Fellow

Danny is a postdoctoral fellow with the SSHRC-funded partnership 21st Century Tools for Indigenous Languages. His work focuses on the documentation, description, and revitalization of native languages of North America, with an eye towards linguistic typology and functional theory. He works primarily with Chitimacha (Sitimaxa), an isolate once spoken in Louisiana and now being revived by the Chitimacha Tribe on the basis of archival materials, and Plains Cree, an Algonquian language widely spoken in Canada. He also runs the Digital Linguistics (DLx) project, dedicated to creating web-based tools for linguistic data management.


Michaela Stang – Administrative Assistant

Michaela is the acting Administrative Assistant for ALTLab and 21st Century Tools for Indigenous Languages. She holds a MLIS and a BA in Linguistics and Anthropology, both from the University of Alberta. Over the course of her degrees, she has had a number of student, volunteer, and professional positions at the UofA, including research assistantships in Linguistics and Digital Humanities, volunteer program assistant with CILLDI, public service assistantships with the University of Alberta Libraries, and many student committee executive roles. She can be contacted at 21ct4il@gmail.com or personally at mmstang@ualberta.ca


Daniel Dacanay – Cree Annotator and Research Assistant

Daniel Dacanay is a third-year undergraduate student in the Linguistics Department at the University of Alberta, with a minor in the Department of Anthropology. His research principally concerns the use of computational and manual methods of semantic analysis on large corpora such as dictionaries, predominantly in Plains Cree. At the ALT Lab, he works chiefly on digitising and semantically classifying existing Plains Cree dictionaries, annotating spoken audio, and document translation. Outside of the ALT Lab, he takes interest in structural typology and comparative semantics, as well as being an avid vexillologist and trombonist.


Ahmad Jawad

Ahmad Jawad is President of Intellimedia Inc., an Edmonton-based software development firm. Through Intellimedia, Jawad has been an active partner in helping to meet the educational needs of First Nations groups in Alberta, and brings his contacts to the project. Intellimedia created and maintains the on-line Cree Dictionary website (that incorporates the Alberta Elders’ Cree Dictionary), which has proven a valuable source and tool for the preservation of the Cree Language.

Former Members

Kobe Amoh

Kobe joined ALT Lab as a web design and development student and helped with front-end development at the ALT Lab. Previously, he was the web content assistant with Facilities and Operations at the University of Alberta and interned with the web team at NAIT. Kobe is passionate about using web platforms for social good. He was the volunteer web manager for UrbanYEG—an Edmonton group that uses photography as a tool for supporting mental health initiatives in the local community. In his spare time, Kobe shoots photography work on a select basis for brands and groups, enjoys keeping up with the state of the web and its technologies, and spends a fair bit of time inwardly stressing about his favourite soccer club, Real Madrid.


Aida Radu

Aida worked with ALT LAb as a fourth-year undergraduate student in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Alberta, with a minor in Computing Science. During her time with us, she helped helped with ongoing software development. She has research experience in both departments and had at this point completed one original publication. In her spare time, Aida enjoys working with various art media and playing with her cats! In the future, she plans to continue her exploration of linguistics into graduate school. Her main interests involve the syntax and production complexities of Heritage Language Speakers. 


Dr. David BeckBeck

Dr. Beck  is a Professor of Linguistics at the University of Alberta. He has worked and published extensively on Lushootseed, a Salishan language, and on Upper Necaxa Totonac, an endangered language of East Central Mexico. He is an editor of the book series Brill’s Studies in the Indigenous Languages of the Americas and a co-editor of the International Journal of American Linguistics. His fieldwork on Upper Necaxa has produced two practical vocabularies for the indigenous community and he is currently an advisor to the Tulalip (Lushootseed) Tribal language programme. Dr. Beck contributed to ALT Lab with his extensive experience on developing partnerships with indigenous communities, as well as his knowledge of Totonac.


Dr. Dustin Bowers

Dr. Bowers worked with ALT Lab while a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Alberta.  He worked on spell checkers and similar tools for Cree and Ojibwe on the former SSHRC Development grant 21st Century Tools for Indigenous Languages.


Matt Yan

Matt joined ALT Lab as a fourth year undergraduate student in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Alberta. At ALT Lab he helped with ongoing software development by maintaining language technologies including the online Cree dictionary and the Cree click-in-text project. Matt has great interests in linguistics and other software projects. He is the creator of vocalsgone.com, a website that generates tracks for practice or performance from audio files by isolating or removing selected elements from a song. He also enjoys playing and teaching the drums in his spare time.


Megan Bontogon

Megan joined ALT Lab as a fourth-year undergraduate student of the Department of Linguistics at the University of Alberta. Her interests include revitalization, documentation and preservation of Indigenous Languages in Canada as well as computer assisted language learning (CALL) as a tool for second language acquisition and endangered language pedagogy. Acting as a research assistant, she worked to record speakers, complete annotations, and create various exercise templates and interface functions for a CALL application for Plains Cree. 


Lex Giesbrecht

Lex joined ALT Lab as an undergraduate student in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Alberta. As a research assistant, Lex was involved in the recording and annotation of spoken data for ALT Lab’s efforts in compiling an electronic Plains Cree dictionary. Her areas of interest include linguistic morphology and the documentation, study, and revitalization of Indigenous languages of North America. 


Dr. Isabell Hubert Lyall

Dr. Hubert Lyall worked with ALT Lab as a PhD student of Linguistics at the University of Alberta. Her research focuses on Psycholinguistics, especially on individual differences in Language processing and word production, and on Natural Language Processing. At ALTlab, she worked on developing the first Optical Character Recognition models for Haida.


Dr. Juhani JärvikiviJJjpg

Dr. Järvikivi is Associate Professor of Linguistics and Director of the Centre for Comparative Psycholinguistics at the University of Alberta. His work takes an experimental psycholinguistic approach to aspects of language and cognition across populations and across languages. His current research concentrates on language comprehension in mono- and bilingual children and adult language learners. 


Dr. Timothy Mills

Dr. Mills is a researcher and instructor at the University of Alberta. He researches speech production, acoustics, and speech synthesis, and teaches general linguistics and phonetics. In ALTLAB, Tim developed speech synthesizers for Indigenous languages, using the latest technology to enable rapid development of computer voices from small recording sets.


Dr. Sally Rice

Dr. Rice is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Alberta, and was one of the scholars involved with the founding of CILLDI. She has worked extensively with Indigenous languages of the Dene languages family, in particular Dëne Sųłıné, spoken across much of central Canada. While with ALT Lab, she lent her years of experience in fostering partnerships with Indigenous communities, as well as her knowledge of Dëne Sųłıné.


Dr. Conor SnoekConor-2

Dr. Snoek is a former team member and current collaborator with ALT Lab.  Conor joined the ALT Lab while still a doctoral candidate at the University of Alberta, Department of Linguistics.  He is an Assistant Professor of Native American Studies at the University of Lethbridge. He has been involved with linguistic training and revitalization programs with Indigenous communities in Alberta since 2009, and further contributes his expertise with both Dene and Algonquian (esp. Plains Cree and Blackfoot) languages to our 21st Century Tools for Indigenous Languages Partnership.