Download A Language of Our Own: The Genesis of Michif, the Mixed by Peter Bakker PDF

By Peter Bakker

The Michif language -- spoken via descendants of French Canadian fur investors and Cree Indians in western Canada -- is taken into account an "impossible language" because it makes use of French for nouns and Cree for verbs, and contains assorted units of grammatical principles. Bakker makes use of ancient study and fieldwork facts to offer the 1st specific research of this language and the way it got here into being.

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Extra resources for A Language of Our Own: The Genesis of Michif, the Mixed Cree-French Language of the Canadian Metis (Oxford Studies in Anthropological Linguistics, 10)

Example text

Many attempts have been made to reduce this number by linking certain language families with others, but none of these has gained wide acceptance. The most radical proposal is Greenberg's (1987) classification of all of America's languages (North, Central, and South) into three superfamilies, but this met with vehement reactions from linguists who specialize in Amerindian languages and it remains highly controversial. The total number of different languages in North America has been estimated to be between 200 and 500, which is roughly equal to the number of Amerindian tribes or nations.

Therefore it seems that the most complex categories of each language are part of Michif instead of the most simple. Furthermore, one of the two inflectional noun affixes from Cree (the obviative) is also used in Michif. It has also been made clear that Michif has preserved both Cree and French gender systems (see also Chapter Four), which cannot be regarded as a simplification of the language. Michif is in no way structurally similar to a simplified language such as a pidgin. Contrary to pidgins, Michif has preserved virtually all original morphology.

These linguistic facts are combined with historical and geographical aspects. I try to show with which dialects these are most closely related. I also provide an explanation for the presence of Ojibwe elements in the language. In the conclusion (Chapter Ten) I summarize this work and indicate some further points to be studied. The genesis of Michif is the subject of this book. Soon the language will be lost if the attempts at revival at diverse locations in Canada and the United States fail. " The Michif language is now on the verge of extinction.

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