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 includes assorted units of grammatical ideas. Bakker makes use of historic learn and fieldwork info to provide 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)

Sample text

Also it seems unlikely that people would be able to judge what would be a complex part of their language or languages, which is necessary to combine it with something else. It is more important to know the reason for this combination. The only reason would seem to be the creation of a secret language that is difficult for outsiders to understand. Any other combination of the two languages would probably also serve that purpose or even one of the languages (unless the Introduction 25 outsiders also speak both).

The moment at which the offspring of mixed European-Amerindian marriages started to consider themselves a separate nation occurred just before (ca. 1812). According to orally transmitted Metis traditions, the language was already spoken in 1820-1840. In that period some of the villages that are now Michif speaking must have been established as winter camps for the Metis buffalo hunters. It is beyond doubt that the Metis as a people were a product of the fur trade. The quest for furs brought French and British entrepreneurs and adventurers to new Indian tribes.

Other categories associated with noun phrases, such as prepositions, are often French. Adverbs can be Cree or French. A very few words have French stems and Cree affixes. Cree and French lost very little of their complexity in Michif. Michif has two phonological systems, one for the Cree part and one for the French part, each with its own rules. The Cree part is almost identical with Plains Cree, and the French part is almost identical with the Metis French dialect, which is a derivative of eastern Canadian French dialects.

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