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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 assorted units of grammatical principles. Bakker makes use of old examine and fieldwork info to offer the 1st certain research of this language and the way it got here into being.

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Additional 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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There is also a fairly rare process called relexification. In this process all the stems of a language are replaced by stems from another language. In Michif, one could say that, for example, all Cree noun stems are replaced by French noun stems, but none of the Cree verb stems has been replaced by French verb stems. Furthermore, there are also French adverbs, prepositions, and so on in Michif, which one would not expect here: they should be derived from Cree. Therefore Michif is also unlike relexification.

The only reason would seem to be the creation of a secret language that is difficult for outsiders to understand. Any other combination of the two languages would probably also serve that purpose or even one of the languages (unless the Introduction 25 outsiders also speak both). Therefore the fact that the more "complex" parts of both source languages are found in Michif seems to be stimulated by other factors, not by their complexity. Summary I present in this section hypotheses about the origin of Michif.

It must be stressed at this point that monolingualism is by no means the "normal case" that most Westerners take it to be. Only in industrialized, Western societies are most people monolingual. In large parts of the globe people grow up learning two, three, and sometimes even four or more languages. 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.

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