And he knew our language: Missionary Linguistics on the by Marcus Tomalin

By Marcus Tomalin

This formidable and ground-breaking publication examines the linguistic reports produced by way of missionaries in response to the Pacific Northwest Coast of North the United States (and really Haida Gwaii) throughout the past due 19th and early 20th centuries. Making vast use of unpublished archival fabrics, the writer demonstrates that the missionaries have been accountable for introducing many leading edge and insightful grammatical analyses. instead of in simple terms adopting Graeco-Roman types, they drew generally upon reviews of non-European languages, and a cautious exploration in their scripture translations demonstrate the origins of the Haida sociolect that emerged because of the missionary job. The complicated interactions among the missionaries and anthropologists also are mentioned, and it's proven that the previous occasionally expected linguistic analyses which are now incorrectly attributed to the latter. considering that this publication attracts upon fresh paintings in theoretical linguistics, non secular historical past, translation reports, and anthropology, it emphasises the inevitably interdisciplinary nature of Missionary Linguistics learn.

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Additional info for And he knew our language: Missionary Linguistics on the Pacific Northwest Coast

Example text

He states that the dictionary is 'based on the knowledge' of forty-four consultants, and the entries are substantiated by examples drawn from extant written sources, including re-elicited versions of Swanton's oral narrative transcriptions (Enrico 2005: ix). While Enrico's linguistic research is of considerable interest to academics specialising in the languages of North America, particularly those spoken on the Pacific Northwest Coast, it is certainly not aimed at a wide readership of nonspecialists.

However, as the 19th century progressed, visitors to Haida Gwaii became increasingly intrigued by the language they found there, and, to appreciate why this shift occurred, it is necessary to say something about two other groups that gradually came into more constant and sustained contact with the Haidas during this period - namely, the missionaries and the anthropologists. 3 The arrival of the missionaries A sustained period of contact may have begun in the 18th century as a result of European exploration, and it may have continued in the 19th century mainly due to trade, but it was not long before missionaries of various denominations became interested in the communities on Haida Gwaii.

Few studies of the language were published from 1923 to 1965, and those that did appear, such as Emile Benveniste's 'Les traits caracreristiques de la langue des indiens Haida' (1953), were largely derivative. Indeed, it was not until Michael Krauss began to study the Na-Dene languages in the early 1960s that interest in Haida revived. Krauss joined the faculty of the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1960, and he swiftly established himself as an expert in Athabaskan comparative linguistics, becoming the founding director of the Alaska Native Language Center in 1972.

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