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

By Peter Bakker

The Michif language -- spoken by means 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 diverse units of grammatical principles. Bakker makes use of historic examine and fieldwork facts 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)

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He speculated that the Frenchmen were lazy, and the Amerindian women had to do all the work. Hence the words that denote activities would be in the Amerindian language, and the words for "chair"—in which the Frenchman would be sitting, looking out of the "window" and smoking his "pipe"— would be French. This idea must be rejected. Even if men did not engage in certain actions, they must have been able to speak about them—perhaps even more so. Also, historical sources show that the Metis men and the French fur traders had to work hard for their survival in fishing, hunting, trapping, and so on.

Michif differs in its mixture from the other intertwined languages because its grammatical affixes cannot be separated from the verb stems. In Chapter Nine I discuss the source languages of Michif. 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 vocabulary split is related to the separate tasks of the fathers and mothers of the first generation of Metis. The French fathers and the Indian mothers each brought in a part of the vocabulary. That is, the women brought their own special vocabulary and so did the men, leading to this mixed language. • Pointing hypothesis. The Indian women who married French-speaking traders did not know French. The French traders pointed to all kinds of objects, so that the women learned the French words for objects and taught these to their children.

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