Native American/Canadian Circle Community
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389974 tn?1331018842

Linguistics and native languages

Swampy's friend was a linguistics grad student and he did his thesis on Illinois, which is in the Algonquin family. One of its different characteristics was that it had proximate and obviate forms. Here is how they work:

Joe and John went to the river and he caught a fish.

In English, its impossible to know who the "he" refers to. Obviously, as it is closest to John many speakers would assume that it refers to John, but technically, it could be anyone.

So in Illinois, you "tag" the names with a proximate and obviate marker. You then mark the verb caught so the listener can figure out to whom the action refers.

Lonewolf, do you know any native languages?
1 Responses
460185 tn?1326081372
Most Native languages are verb-driven; like - go see him .... it almost seems like a stereotype of Tonto.

I know a bit of Mohawk, some Dine'h and a few words of Ojibwa.  When it comes to reading or writing I don't know anything.  There are places that have pietroglyphs (sp?) that look more like drawings or "characters" carved into the walls of caves or stones.  Like too many Native people, I've forgotten most of the Dine'h language.

Did your brother notice that Native languages go longitudinally, north to south or vice versa?

A'hee'ke - bye

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