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

By Peter Bakker

The Michif language -- spoken by way of 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 ideas. Bakker makes use of old study and fieldwork info to provide the 1st certain 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)

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Tea-CAUS-PST-lP putum goroda-m haya timis huya-sa-l-i. S. 3S OBJ go-TRANS-PST-IP tunu-xta-/-i goroda-x agita-1 sunn-ax tama-ga. 3PL "We put the kettle on the fire, made fire in the stove, and drank tea. Then we started for the city. " Because of a lack of sufficient data, it is hard to reach any firm conclusions about possible typological similarities between Mednyj Aleut and Michif. In the former, personal pronouns, higher numerals, many nouns, the verb "to be," subordinating elements, some particles, and verbal inflectional affixes seem to be Russian, whereas most case markers, most verb and noun stems, some particles, lower numerals, and postpositions are from Aleut (Golovko 1994).

I counted the etymological origin of all the verbs starting with the letters "A" and "B" in Messing's (1987) glossary of this language. Two verbs appear to be of Greek origin, ten of Turkish origin, and twenty-two of Romani origin. Most of the verbs are apparently Romani in this language. If we look at the semantics of these verbs, we find the following for the Turkish verbs (starting with "A" and "B"): (26) to learn, be in heat/angry, to step/press, to sink, to lose (at games), to faint, to wait (for), to like, to resemble, to finish The semantics of the verbs make clear that they do not denote cultural innovations exclusively.

In French the verb is relatively simple, and the noun phrase is relatively complex. For every noun one has to learn whether it is masculine or feminine, there are all kinds of morphophonological processes such as liaison, and there is no fixed position for the class of adjectives. The Cree verb is notoriously complex and the noun inflection simple. In Cree, the unpredictable features are found in the verb; in French they are in the noun. There are a number of objections to this hypothesis. There are no objective criteria to decide what is complex and what is simple.

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