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

By Peter Bakker

The Michif language -- spoken through 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 various units of grammatical principles. Bakker makes use of historic examine and fieldwork information to provide the 1st precise 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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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. Although in Chapter Four we see that this sketch is not accurate in all details, in the meantime it does give an impression of the Michif language. The Place of Michif in the Study of Language Contact Michif is obviously a result of language contact, in particular Cree and French. The study of language contact is a subdiscipline of linguistics that is receiving more and more attention.

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. Although in Chapter Four we see that this sketch is not accurate in all details, in the meantime it does give an impression of the Michif language.

In this section I speak of bilingualism, although people may know more than two languages. What is said here is probably valid for multilingualism, too. So, for reasons of simplicity, I take two languages as a point of departure. A pidgin is a language that may develop between groups who do not know each other's language but who want to communicate, for instance, in trade or labor relations. Only a limited set of words is used, and the grammatical structure is simplified and not fixed. Pidgins have to be learned as such.

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