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 various units of grammatical principles. Bakker makes use of ancient learn 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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This is what was initially suggested by Richard Rhodes (1977) in his pioneering paper on Michif. Later, however, Rhodes (1986) rejected this hypothesis in favor of a mixed language hypothesis. Still, as this is something other people suggested, too, I discuss it here in some detail. Although I do not think that any research has been done on this subject, there seem to be at least some languages that borrowed only nouns and no verbs (we leave the matter of borrowing other categories, like conjunctions and numerals, for the moment).

Fourth, the only linguistic phenomena to which Michif shows vague similarities are code mixing and relexified languages, both of which are cases of language 26 A Language of Our Own mixture by bilinguals. Code mixing is a spontaneous, ad hoc mixture, and relexified languages are mother tongues. There are also important differences, however, so that neither provides obvious clues to the genesis of this strange mixed language. These phenomena are discussed again later. Outline of the Book This book deals with the question, what kind of language is Michif and why, when, and how did it come into being?

The first is the language spoken in a Gypsy community in the Athenian suburb Ajia Varvara. The language has been described by Messing (1987) and Igla (1989). Virtually the whole community is bilingual in Greek and Romani, the Gypsy language, which belongs to the Indie branch of Indo-European. A few elderly people also speak Turkish. This group immigrated into Greece from Turkey in the 1920s. About three hundred Turkish words are used in the community, although young speakers use only about one hundred.

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