Linguistics Algonquian Linguistics
by
Conor McDonough Quinn
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 October 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199772810-0049

Introduction

The traditional and post-European contact range of the Algonquian languages covers an enormous area: roughly centered along most of the Canadian-US border, extending down the Atlantic coast, into the Great Lakes area, and down the Mississippi and even into northern Mexico. The languages themselves are in general conservative in their core grammatical properties, so that specialists often refer to a notional “Algonquian” when speaking of patterns shared across all or most of the family. These include many linguistically noteworthy phenomena, some (e.g., obviation) possibly unique to the family, and others (e.g., polysynthesis, head-marking, nominal tense, verbal shape classifiers) common in North America but with enough distinct properties in realization to make cross-linguistic comparison worthwhile.

Introductory Works

Perhaps the best starting point for a rank beginner to Algonquian linguistics is Valentine 2001; a shorter but solid introductory sketch grammar is Wolfart 1996.

  • Valentine, J. Randolph. 2001. Nishnaabemwin reference grammar. Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press.

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    A comprehensive reference grammar of Nishnaabemwin, with extensive explanations, examples, and glossary. It is targeted at nonspecialist readers (the terminological glossary is particularly useful for beginners) but maintains solid and deep coverage of a Central Algonquian grammatical system, the bulk of which readily applies to most of the rest of the family.

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    • Wolfart, H. Christoph. 1996. Sketch of Cree, an Algonquian language. In Handbook of North American Indians, vol. 17: Languages. Edited by Ives Goddard, 391–398. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution.

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      A sketch grammar of Cree that outlines most of the core grammatical features shared among Algonquian languages.

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      General Resources

      The current main bibliography for Algonquian linguistics is Pentland and Wolfart 1982, which is now outdated but quite comprehensive for its time; Pilling 1891 is an equally extensive early compilation. Algonquian and Iroquoian Linguistics is a dedicated quarterly journal maintaining a constantly updated bibliography of works pertaining to Algonquian and Iroquoian languages. Beyond the usual major linguistics journals, there are two primary loci of publication in Algonquian linguistics. First is Papers of the Algonquian Conference/Actes du Congrès des Algonquinistes (reflecting its international scope, the title alternates yearly between English and French). Second is the International Journal of American Linguistics, which has regularly published significant work in Algonquian linguistics from its inception.

      Text Collections and Native Writings

      Algonquian languages have seen a long and extensive tradition of text collection by native speakers and outsider documentarians alike. Here we can offer only a small sample, prioritizing depth and/or range of coverage, with primacy given to materials originally composed wholly or primarily by native speakers. Among these, Cree (Ellis and Scott 1995) and Ojibwe (Treuer 2001) are heavily documented in publication. Equally substantial is the massive and largely unpublished Truman Michelson collection of personal, cultural, and literary texts written by Meskwaki speakers in the early part of the 20th century: housed at the National Anthropological Archives (Washington, DC), it consists of more than 27,000 leaves of handwritten material; Goddard 2007 is one major redacted text from this collection. For Plains Algonquian languages, Cowell and Moss 2005 is a solid collection of Arapaho historical texts, and Leman 1987 offers a similar anthology for Cheyenne. LeSourd and Teeter 2007, a collection of Maliseet oral literature of the mid-20th century, is currently the richest and most thoroughly annotated set of texts in any Eastern Algonquian language from the modern era; Goddard and Bragdon 1988 offers the same for 17th- and 18th-century documents in Massachusett (Wampanoag). Teeter and Nichols 1993 offers the only major collection of texts in the Ritwan (Algic) language Wiyot.

      • Cowell, Andrew, and Alonzo Moss Sr. 2005. Hinóno’éínoo3ítoono / Arapaho historical traditions, told by Paul Moss. Publications of the Algonquian Text Society. Winnipeg: Univ. of Manitoba.

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        A rich set of historical texts in Arapaho.

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        • Ellis, Clarence D., ed. and trans., and Simeon Scott. 1995. âtalôhkâna nêsta tipâcimôwina: Cree legends and narratives from the west coast of James Bay. Winnipeg: Univ. of Manitoba.

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          An extensive collection of texts, primarily in Cree l- and n-dialects.

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          • Goddard, Ives, ed. and trans. 2007. The owl sacred pack: A new edition and translation of the Meskwaki. Algonquian and Iroquoian Linguistics Memoirs 19. Winnipeg: Univ. of Manitoba.

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            Second in a series of redactions of book-length texts (see references within) by Meskwaki native speakers from the Michelson collection.

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            • Goddard, Ives, and Kathleen Bragdon. 1988. Native writings in Massachusett. Memoirs of the American Philosophical Society 185. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society.

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              A facsimile collection of native-speaker-composed manuscripts in Massachusett (Wampanoag), with transcription and annotated translation, and a second volume including a grammatical sketch and glossary concordance.

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              • Leman, Wayne. 1987. náévåhóo’xhtséme / We are going back home: Cheyenne history and stories told by James Shoulderblade and others. Algonquian and Iroquoian Linguistics Memoirs 4. Winnipeg: Univ. of Manitoba.

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                A rich set of historical texts in Cheyenne.

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                • LeSourd, Philip S., and Karl V. Teeter. 2007. Tales from Maliseet country: The Maliseet texts of Karl V. Teeter. Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press.

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                  A carefully edited and annotated transcription and translation of texts collected from Maliseet raconteurs of the mid-20th century.

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                  • Teeter, Karl V., and John D. Nichols. 1993. Wiyot handbook II: Interlinear translation and English index. Algonquian and Iroquoian Linguistics Memoirs 11. Winnipeg: Univ. of Manitoba.

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                    The key source for texts in Wiyot.

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                    • Treuer, Anton, ed. 2001. Living our language: Ojibwe tales and oral histories. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press.

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                      A native-speaker-edited bilingual collection of stories and oral histories by a wide variety of Ojibwe speakers.

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                      Dictionaries

                      The Algonquian lexicographic tradition is a substantial one, though some of the most substantial works remain to be published. Once again, Central Algonquian is best represented, with Wolvengrey and Ahenakew 2001 as currently the most extensive Cree print dictionary available, MacKenzie and Jancewicz 1994 as a print and online trilingual (French- and English-glossed) lexicon of Naskapi, and Rhodes 1985 as a substantial multidialectal dictionary for the Ojibwe dialect continuum. Here Goddard 1994, a careful redaction of Meskwaki (Fox) lexical materials first collected by Leonard Bloomfield, is particularly useful for comparative purposes because of the relative phonological and lexical conservatism of Meskwaki. For Plains languages, Fisher, et al. 2004 is an extensive Cheyenne dictionary, available online for low-cost download, and Frantz and Russell 1995 takes special effort to gloss stem-components along with the polysynthetic stems they give rise to. Major contributions to Eastern Algonquian lexicography are Metallic, et al. 2005, the most current and substantial in the long tradition of Mi’kmaw dictionaries, and Francis and Leavitt 2008, a deeply comprehensive dictionary of Passamaquoddy-Maliseet.

                      • Fisher, Louise, Wayne Leman, Leroy Pine Sr., and Marie Sanchez. 2004. Cheyenne dictionary. Lame Deer, MT: Chief Dull Knife College.

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                        Extensive dictionary of Cheyenne, available online at low cost.

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                        • Francis, David A., and Robert M. Leavitt. 2008. Peskotomuhkati Wolastoqewi latuwewakon: A Passamaquoddy-Maliseet dictionary. Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane Editions.

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                          A landmark work in Eastern Algonquian lexicography, with approximately 18,000 entries and a useful introductory grammatical sketch.

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                          • Frantz, Donald G., and Norma J. Russell. 1995. Blackfoot dictionary of stems, roots, and affixes. 2d ed. Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press.

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                            Dictionary of Blackfoot, covering bound lexical morphology as well as full stems.

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                            • Goddard, Ives, ed. 1994. Leonard Bloomfield’s Fox lexicon: Critical edition. Algonquian and Iroquoian Linguistics Memoirs 12. Winnipeg: Univ. of Manitoba.

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                              A careful and extensively annotated redaction of Bloomfield’s earlier lexicon of Fox (Meskwaki); very useful for comparative purposes.

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                              • MacKenzie, Marguerite, and Bill Jancewicz. 1994. Naskapi lexicon-lexique Naskapi. Kawawachikimach, QC: Naskapi Development Corporation.

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                                A trilingual lexicon of Naskapi (Central Algonquian), available online and in print.

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                                • Metallic, Emmanuel N., Danielle E. Cyr, and Alexandre Sévigny. 2005. The Metallic Mìgmaq-English reference dictionary. Quebec: Presses de l‘Université Laval.

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                                  Most recent and extensive work in a long and solid tradition of Mi’kmaw dictionaries (see references therein).

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                                  • Rhodes, Richard A. 1985. Eastern Ojibwa-Chippewa-Ottawa dictionary. New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

                                    DOI: 10.1515/9783110864342Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                    One of several fine dictionaries of Ojibwe, this work is selected here for its depth and detailed cross-dialectal information.

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                                    • Wolvengrey, Arok, and Freda Ahenakew, eds. 2001. nēhiýawēwin: itwēwina/Cree: Words. Regina, SK: Canadian Plains Research Center.

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                                      Currently the most extensive Cree dictionary, with 15,000 Cree-to-English entries and 35,000 English-to-Cree.

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                                      Algonquian, Algic, and Contact Languages

                                      The Algonquian family splits into three major groups—Eastern, Central, and Plains—of which the Central languages have seen the most-extensive documentation and analysis. The Eastern languages are least documented overall, primarily because their speech communities have borne the earliest and heaviest brunt of European colonization. Within this basic tripartite division, noteworthy outliers are Blackfoot within (or just to the side of) Plains Algonquian, and Mi’kmaw within Eastern Algonquian. Beothuk, formerly spoken in Newfoundland, is only scantily and fragmentarily documented but may also be related to Algonquian: Hewson 1978 offers a comprehensive summary of the available facts. The macro-family Algic contains both Algonquian proper and Ritwan, a subgroup (whose internal status is still uncertain) composed of Wiyot and Yurok, two Californian languages demonstrated to have a distant but clear relation to Algonquian; see Goddard 1975 for an overview. Alongside these is at least one contact language, Métchif or Michif (Bakker 1996), as well as several jargons or pidgins, ranging from the well-documented Delaware Jargon (Goddard 1997) to a putative one deriving from the interaction of Mi’kmaw and Basque (Bakker 1989).

                                      • Bakker, Peter. 1989. ‘The language of the coast tribes is Half Basque’: A Basque-Amerindian pidgin in use between Europeans and Native Americans in North America, ca. 1540–1640. Anthropological Linguistics 31:117–147.

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                                        A review of the evidence for Mi’kmaw-Basque trade language.

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                                        • Bakker, Peter. 1996. A language of our own: The genesis of Michif, the mixed Cree-French language of the Canadian Métis. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                          An in-depth discussion of the Métchif or Michif contact language.

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                                          • Goddard, Ives. 1975. Algonquian, Wiyot, and Yurok: Proving a distant genetic relationship. In Linguistics and anthropology in honor of C. F. Voegelin. Edited by M. Dale Kinkade, Kenneth L. Hale, and O. Werner, 249–262. Lisse, The Netherlands: Peter de Ridder.

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                                            A conclusive review of the evidence for a relationship among Wiyot, Yurok, and Algonquian.

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                                            • Goddard, Ives. 1997. Pidgin Delaware. In Contact languages: A wider perspective. Edited by Sarah G. Thomason, 43–98. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

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                                              Examines the English-Delaware pidgin.

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                                              • Hewson, John. 1978. Beothuk vocabularies: A comparative study. Technical Papers of the Newfoundland Museum 2. St. John’s, NL: Newfoundland Museum.

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                                                An analytical redaction of extant Beothuk wordlists, examining the evidence for a Beothuk-Algonquian connection.

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                                                Nomenclature

                                                The diversity of names by which Algonquian languages are known in English alone, both in basic terms and as spelling variants, is nothing short of overwhelming. A few important cases will be noted here. Algonquian in earlier literature is often spelled Algonkian; the extra “a” is to distinguish the family name from Algonquin, a name used by several groups located primarily in Quebec and Ontario and speaking a Central Algonquian language closely related to Ojibwe. Delaware is a cover term for two closely related but not necessarily mutually intelligible languages individually known as Munsee (Munsi) and Unami, even as both are also referred to as Lenape or Len(n)i Lenape in preference to the nonnative name Delaware. Sources labeled “Delaware” or “Lenape” may not make this distinction explicit; for instance, the excellent Delaware-English/English-Delaware dictionary (O’Meara 1996) is of Munsee. Depending on specific circumstances, alternative names may be simple spelling variants, or actively preferred or dispreferred distinct terms for the language and/or associated peoples. Some variations include Kickapoo/Kikapu, Maliseet/Malecite, Micmac/Mi’kmaw/Mi’kmaq/Míkmaq, and Odawa/Ottawa. Others are more-recent replacements of previously used terms: Innu-Aimûn for Montaignais, Meskwaki for Fox, Anishinaabemowin/Nishnaabemwin for Ojibwe/Ojibway/Ojibwa/Chippewa, and Wampanoag/Wôpanāak for Massachusett/Massachusee. The precise details of usage cannot be covered here, and in some cases, groups identifying under one label may in fact speak (or be descended from speakers of) a language linguistically characterized under another.

                                                Historical and Diachronic Linguistics

                                                One of the strongest points of Algonquian linguistics is historical reconstruction, and in many ways it serves as the guide to the field as a whole. The touchstone for this is Bloomfield 1946, a reconstruction of Proto-Algonquian; the basic framework of this analysis is still essentially standard in the field. A solid comparative-reconstructional overview is Goddard 1979a. From there, Goddard 1967 and Goddard 1974 serve as a guide to both the historical and synchronic workings of the Independent Indicative verbal mode, a central feature of most Algonquian languages. Specifically for Eastern Algonquian, the account in Goddard 1982 of Munsee historical phonology is relevant to that branch of the family as a whole, particularly the consequences of its characteristically iambic prosody. On the grammatical front, Goddard 1983 (cited in Morphology and Syntax) describes and reconstructs the origins of the subordinative mode as an innovation distinctive to Eastern Algonquian. Finally, Goddard 1994, discussing the west-to-east cline in Algonquian dialectology, remains close to state of the art on the basic historical relations between the members of the family as a whole.

                                                • Bloomfield, Leonard. 1946. Algonquian. In Linguistic structures of Native America. Edited by Harry Hoijer, 85–129. Viking Fund Publications in Anthropology 6. New York: Viking Fund.

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                                                  The foundational article for standard Algonquianist analysis, both in terms of basic grammatical categories and historical reconstruction.

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                                                  • Goddard, Ives. 1967. The Algonquian independent indicative. National Museum of Canada Bulletin 214:66–106.

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                                                    Reconstructing the independent indicative paradigm of the Proto-Algonquian verb, this lengthy article is a key prerequisite to both diachronic and synchronic study of the Algonquian verb.

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                                                    • Goddard, Ives. 1974. Remarks on the Algonquian independent indicative. International Journal of American Linguistics 40:317–327.

                                                      DOI: 10.1086/465328Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                      Important follow-up to Goddard 1967.

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                                                      • Goddard, Ives. 1979a. Comparative Algonquian. In The languages of Native America: Historical and comparative assessment. Edited by Lyle Campbell and Marianne Mithun, 70–132. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press.

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                                                        Solid historical overview of the Algonquian family, primarily from the perspective of syntax and morphology.

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                                                        • Goddard, Ives. 1979b. Delaware verbal morphology: A descriptive and comparative study. New York: Garland.

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                                                          A detailed analysis of Munsee and Unami Delaware verbal morphology, with a decided historical bent, useful for beginners bridging the gap between synchronic and diachronic-comparative Algonquianist analysis.

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                                                          • Goddard, Ives. 1982. The historical phonology of Munsee. International Journal of American Linguistics 48:16–48.

                                                            DOI: 10.1086/465711Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                            Reconstruction of development of the phonologically conservative Eastern Algonquian language Munsee.

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                                                            • Goddard, Ives. 1994. The west-to-east cline in Algonquian dialectology. In Actes du vingt-cinquième Congrès des Algonquinistes. Edited by William Cowan, 187–211. Ottawa, ON: Carleton Univ. Press.

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                                                              Current state of the art of Algonquian historical-phonological reconstruction.

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                                                              Morphology and Syntax

                                                              Because Algonquian languages are polysynthetic and head-marking, most research has long been focused on word-level morphosyntax, particularly of the verb. Phrase- or sentence-level syntax has seen more examination in recent years, however. Again, the primary references for verbal morphology are Goddard 1967 and Goddard 1979, as well as Goddard 1983; perhaps one of the most accessible is the grammar sketch chapter of Thomason 2003 for Meskwaki. See Descriptive and Analytical Grammars for suggestions for those new to the study of Algonquian. The morphological and syntactic phenomena of both general linguistic and Algonquian-specific interest that have seen the most-extensive research include the proximate-obviative contrast (generally referred to as “obviation,” not to be confused with the homophonous term in the generative-syntactic control-and-raising literature, to which it bears little relation); the transitive inverse system and person-feature hierarchies (including the famous 2»1 hierarchy); discontinuous constituents; subset-permitting argument-agreement relations; relative roots; ditransitivity, datives, and primary vs. secondary object contrasts; cross-clausal syntax; polysynthetic stem structure; and animacy as a grammaticalized gender.

                                                              • Goddard, Ives. 1967. The Algonquian independent indicative. National Museum of Canada Bulletin 214:66–106.

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                                                                Reconstructing the independent indicative paradigm of the Proto-Algonquian verb, this lengthy article is a key prerequisite to both diachronic and synchronic study of the Algonquian verb.

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                                                                • Goddard, Ives. 1979. Delaware verbal morphology: A descriptive and comparative study. New York: Garland.

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                                                                  A detailed analysis of Munsee and Unami Delaware verbal morphology, with a decided historical bent, useful for beginners bridging the gap between synchronic and diachronic-comparative Algonquianist analysis.

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                                                                  • Goddard, Ives. 1983. The Eastern Algonquian subordinative mode and the importance of morphology. International Journal of American Linguistics 49:351–387.

                                                                    DOI: 10.1086/465800Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                    Describes the origins and current features of the subordinative mode, a verbal paradigm claimed as a defining feature of the Eastern Algonquian subfamily.

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                                                                    • Thomason, Lucy G. 2003. The proximate and obviative contrast in Meskwaki. PhD diss., Univ. of Texas–Austin.

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                                                                      Currently the most empirically detailed analytical survey of an Algonquian proximate-obviative system in both its morphosyntactic and discourse-pragmatic aspects; equally valuable for its cogent but comprehensive chapter on general Algonquian grammar.

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                                                                      Obviation

                                                                      Perhaps the most distinctly Algonquian morphosyntactic phenomenon is the splitting of third person into two types, proximate vs. obviative (some languages mark a third, “surobviative” contrast). Quite possibly unique to the Algonquian family (though see Aissen 2001, Dryer 1998, and Macaulay 2000 for comparable Algonquian-external phenomena), the obviation contrast involves both discourse and phrasal syntax, tracking both topicality and argument configuration in its distribution. Goddard 1990 is a foundational work on the discourse-interpretational effects of the contrast; Thomason 2003 follows in that tradition with an extensively detailed and solidly documented account of its distribution in discourse and especially in narratives and is currently the most extensive and dedicated work in this domain. Rhodes 2002 is the most recent of a series of articles on key syntactic properties of obviation, while Quinn 2006 and Mühlbauer 2008 both offer formal analyses of the phenomenon as a derivative rather than a structurally primitive contrast.

                                                                      • Aissen, Judith. 2001. The obviation hierarchy and morphosyntactic markedness. Linguistica Atlantica 23:1–34.

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                                                                        Examines the Algonquian obviation contrast in a cross-linguistic context.

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                                                                        • Dryer, Matthew S. 1998. Obviation across clause boundaries in Kutenai. In Studies in Native American Linguistics IX. Edited by John Kyle, Hangyoo Khym, and Supath Kookiattikoon, 33–51. University of Kansas Working Papers 22. Lawrence: Univ. of Kansas Graduate Student Association.

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                                                                          Examines an obviation-like phenomenon in Kutenai, an isolate with strong contact relations with Algonquian.

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                                                                          • Goddard, Ives. 1990. Aspects of the topic structure of Fox narratives: Proximate shifts and the use of overt and inflectional NPs. International Journal of American Linguistics 56:317–340.

                                                                            DOI: 10.1086/466161Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                            Examines the discourse properties of obviation in Fox (Meskwaki); identifies some of the crucial patterns of discourse obviation as a system.

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                                                                            • Macaulay, Monica. 2000. Obviative marking in ergative contexts: The case of Karuk ‘îin. International Journal of American Linguistics 66:464–498.

                                                                              DOI: 10.1086/466438Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                              Examines an element of Karuk (isolate, California) morphology that appears to mark obviative arguments in ergative constructions; part of a large body of evidence tying obviativity and ergativity together.

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                                                                              • Mühlbauer, Jeffrey T. 2008. kâ-yôskâtahk ôma nêhiyawêwin: The representation of intentionality in Plains Cree. PhD diss., Univ. of British Columbia.

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                                                                                Argues for obviation as not a primitive of Algonquian grammars, but rather a derivative construction based on the representation of participant perspective.

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                                                                                • Quinn, Conor M. 2006. Referential-access dependency in Penobscot. PhD diss., Harvard Univ.

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                                                                                  Argues for the obviation contrast as emergent from the referential dependencies inherent in the derivation of person features, and in fact homologous to the main vs. subordinate clausal contrast.

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                                                                                  • Rhodes, Richard A. 2002. Obviation, inversion, and topic rank revisited. Paper presented at the 34th Algonquian Conference, Queen’s Univ., Kingston, ON, 24 October.

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                                                                                    Most recent of a series of articles (see references within) that establish some of the core syntactic properties of the obviative.

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                                                                                    • Thomason, Lucy G. 2003. The proximate and obviative contrast in Meskwaki. PhD diss., Univ. of Texas–Austin.

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                                                                                      Currently the most empirically detailed analytical survey of an Algonquian proximate-obviative system in both its morphosyntactic and discourse-pragmatic aspects.

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                                                                                      Inverse System and Person Feature Hierarchies

                                                                                      Closely related to the proximate-obviative contrast is the direct-inverse system of person marking in transitive verbs. Still relatively unfamiliar to the general linguistic field, it pervades the entire Algonquian family and is usually described with reference to a pronominal feature hierarchy (Blain 1998): transitive verbal constructions generally require a special inverse marker when the notional object is hierarchically higher than the subject (see Quinn 2006 for a critical view of this framing). The inverse looks in many ways like a specialized passive construction: Dahlstrom 1991 argues that it is not, while Bruening 2005, based primarily on scopal evidence from Passamaquoddy, argues for a greater similarity to the passive. In a similar vein, the characteristically Algonquian 2»1 ranking of person features is explained in terms of pragmatics in Heath 1998, a view challenged in detail by Quinn 2006 and Hamilton, et al. 2010.

                                                                                      • Blain, Eleanor M. 1998. The role of hierarchies and alignment in Direct/Inverse. In Papers of the 29th Algonquian Conference. Edited by David H. Pentland, 43–56. Winnipeg: Univ. of Manitoba.

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                                                                                        A good starting point, understanding the problem of the Algonquian inverse system as a system for aligning person feature hierarchies across thematic roles.

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                                                                                        • Bruening, B. 2005. The Algonquian inverse is syntactic: Binding in Passamaquoddy.

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                                                                                          Offers evidence from scope and binding to suggest that the Passamaquoddy inverse does have a passive-like syntactic structure.

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                                                                                          • Dahlstrom, Amy. 1991. Plains Cree morphosyntax. New York: Garland.

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                                                                                            An in-depth examination of a variety of core morphosyntactic questions in Plains Cree, showcasing evidence against the claim that the obviative is structurally akin to the passive.

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                                                                                            • Hamilton, Michael, Marie-Odile Junker, and Marguerite MacKenzie. 2010. Is there “pragmatic skewing” in East Cree? In Papers for WSCLA 15, the Fifteenth Workshop on Structure and Constituency in Languages of the Americas. Edited by Beth Rogers and Anita Szakay, 126–148. Vancouver, BC: UBCWPL.

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                                                                                              Examines East Cree data to conclude that the fundamental claim in Heath 1998 of a pragmatically driven tendency toward morphological opacity does not substantially hold in East Cree (and by extension, Algonquian systems in general).

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                                                                                              • Heath, Jeffrey T. 1998. Pragmatic skewing in 1 ↔ 2 pronominal combinations in Native American languages. International Journal of American Linguistics 64:83–104.

                                                                                                DOI: 10.1086/466351Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                A survey of realizations of 1st- and 2nd-person pronominal feature configurations across several families, including Algonquian, attributing special properties such as the apparent 2»1 ranking to effects of the special pragmatic relationship characterizing this contrast.

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                                                                                                • Quinn, Conor M. 2006. Referential-access dependency in Penobscot. PhD diss., Harvard Univ.

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                                                                                                  Reframes the person feature hierarchy descriptively underlying the direct-inverse system as derivative of the inherent dependency relations existing between person features (including obviative on proximate), suggesting all instances of apparent 2»1 ranking actually reflect the dependency of 2nd person on 1st.

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                                                                                                  Discontinuous Constituents, and Subset Agreement

                                                                                                  Two other noteworthy features of Algonquian languages are showcased in LeSourd 2006, a refutation of the applicability of the Pronominal Argument Hypothesis (Jelinek 1984) to Maliseet-Passamaquoddy: discontinuous constituents, and the ability of noun phrase arguments across the family to refer only to a subset of an argument morphologically encoded on the verb—resulting in, among others, a comitative construction marked only by verbal number morphology.

                                                                                                  • Jelinek, Eloise. 1984. Empty categories, case, and configurationality. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 2:39–76.

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                                                                                                    Foundational article for the Pronominal Argument Hypothesis—the claim that agreement morphology in nonconfigurational languages itself functions as the syntactic arguments of the verb.

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                                                                                                    • LeSourd, Philip S. 2006. Problems for the Pronominal Argument Hypothesis in Maliseet-Passamaquoddy. Language 82:486–514.

                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1353/lan.2006.0150Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                      A substantial article critically reviewing the evidence for the Pronominal Argument Hypothesis in Maliseet-Passamaquoddy, offering a solid discussion of discontinuous constituents and subset agreement, both being noteworthy syntactic properties found across the Algonquian family.

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                                                                                                      Relative Roots

                                                                                                      Relative roots—essentially, lexical pro-adpositionals—are an important but relatively understudied feature of Algonquian languages, despite the prevalence of comparable forms across North American languages (e.g., in Iroquoian, Athabaskan, Siouan [see especially Craig and Hale 1988], Muskogean, and Wakashan) and even in Romance languages. Rhodes 2006 outlines the basic details of distribution and interpretation of Algonquian relative roots and discusses how they fit into a unified theoretical model of argument types.

                                                                                                      • Craig, Colette, and Kenneth Hale. 1988. Relational preverbs in some languages of the Americas: Typological and historical perspectives. Language 64:312–344.

                                                                                                        DOI: 10.2307/415436Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                        Does not explicitly discuss Algonquian relative roots, but offers extensive data in a generativist analysis of comparable relational elements across several American languages.

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                                                                                                        • Rhodes, Richard A. 2006. Clause structure, core arguments, and the Algonquian relative root construction. Winnipeg, MB: Voices of Rupert’s Land.

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                                                                                                          Currently the most extensive examination of relative roots, offering them as a possible example of a special category (a potential target of advancement that does not trigger agreement) in Relational Grammar.

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                                                                                                          Ditransitives and Primary-Secondary Object Contrasts

                                                                                                          Radically head-marking, Algonquian languages are strictly limited in ditransitives to double-object constructions (Branigan and MacKenzie 1999) and so showcase a primary vs. secondary object contrast (Dryer 1986). Most distinctively, many Algonquian verbs can take a secondary object in the absence of a primary object (O’Meara 1992, Rhodes 1990)—making them important to the study of ditransitivity in particular and argument structure in general. Of related interest are relational verbs, comparable in many senses to ethical datives, and examined in depth for East Cree in Junker 2003.

                                                                                                          • Branigan, Phil, and Marguerite MacKenzie. 1999. A double-object constraint in Innu-aimun. In Papers of the 30th Algonquian Conference. Edited by David H. Pentland, 28–33. Winnipeg: Univ. of Manitoba.

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                                                                                                            A discussion of the limitation of Algonquian ditransitives to double-object constructions.

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                                                                                                            • Dryer, Matthew S. 1986. Primary objects, secondary objects, and antidative. Language 62:808–845.

                                                                                                              DOI: 10.2307/415173Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                              Foundational article on primary-secondary objects in ditransitive systems.

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                                                                                                              • Junker, Marie-Odile. 2003. East Cree relational verbs. International Journal of American Linguistics 16:307–329.

                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1086/381338Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                Comprehensively discusses the relational construction East Cree, highlighting its syntactic requirements and its relationship to applicatives and to obviation.

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                                                                                                                • O’Meara, John. 1992. Intransitive verbs with secondary objects in Munsee Delaware. In Papers of the 23rd Algonquian Conference. Edited by William Cowan, 322–333. Ottawa, ON: Carleton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                  Useful presentation of the distinctive AI+O (animate intransitive with [secondary] object) construction common to the Algonquian family.

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                                                                                                                  • Rhodes, Richard A. 1990. Ojibwa secondary objects. In Grammatical relations: A cross-theoretical perspective. Edited by Katarzyna Dziwirek, Patrick Farrell, and Errapel Mejías-Bikandi, 401–414. Stanford, CA: CSLI.

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                                                                                                                    Examines Ojibwe secondary objects in depth, suggesting them as the category of relational 3 in Relational Grammar.

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                                                                                                                    Cross-Clausal Phenomena

                                                                                                                    There is a lively literature on cross-clausal phenomena in Algonquian languages. Branigan and MacKenzie 2002 provides a recent and summary discussion of the ongoing issue of cross-clausal agreement and its relationship to topicality. In particular, because most Algonquian languages contrast two wholly distinct paradigms (the Independent and Conjunct orders) according to clause type, these paradigms’ alternating use in content interrogatives (or “wh-questions,” in the generativist framework of most of the examinations; see especially Richards 2004 for Wampanoag) has led to an ongoing debate over whether or not such constructions are biclausal clefts: Oxford 2010 is a good overview of the issue.

                                                                                                                    • Branigan, Phil, and Marguerite MacKenzie. 2002. Altruism, Ā-movement, and object agreement in Innu-Aimûn. Linguistic Inquiry 33:385–407.

                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1162/002438902760168545Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                      A generativist analysis of the topicality effects of cross-clausal agreement in Innu-Aimûn.

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                                                                                                                      • Oxford, Will. 2010. Nominal predication and verb morphology in Innu-aimun. In UBCWPL 29: Papers for WSCLA 15, the Fifteenth Workshop on Structure and Constituency in Languages of the Americas. Edited by Beth Rogers and Anita Szakay, 30–46. Vancouver, BC: UBCWPL.

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                                                                                                                        Cogently summarizes the debate over whether or not wh-questions in Algonquian languages are biclausal or monoclausal, within an examination of instances of nominals carrying verbal morphology in Innu-Aimûn.

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                                                                                                                        • Richards, Norvin W. 2004. The syntax of the Conjunct and Independent orders in Wampanoag. International Journal of American Linguistics 70:327–368.

                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1086/429206Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                          A generativist analysis of the contrasts between Conjunct and Independent paradigms in Wampanoag, with special reference to their properties relative to wh-constructions.

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                                                                                                                          Stem Structure

                                                                                                                          For verbal (and nominal) stem structure, a key resource is Goddard 1990, discussing primary and secondary stem derivation across the family. O’Meara 1990 on Munsee offers perhaps the most-detailed extensive analysis of Algonquian stem-derivational morphology. For more on this, see Semantics.

                                                                                                                          Grammatical Gender

                                                                                                                          The grammatical gender contrast traditionally referred to as animate vs. inanimate has been an early and substantial area of research in Algonquian linguistics, largely because nouns referring to certain notionally inanimate designata are formally animate in various Algonquian languages. Early examinations attempt a cultural/anthropological explanation (Darnell and Vanek 1976). These have not been very successful, however, and extensive evidence suggests that the formal gender feature tracks the semantic feature of animacy in large part: Goddard 2002, Quinn 2001, and Dahlstrom 1995 all propose accounts involving a primarily culture-independent form of semantic predictability.

                                                                                                                          • Dahlstrom, Amy. 1995. Motivation vs. predictability in Algonquian gender. In Papers of the 26th Algonquian Conference. Edited by David H. Pentland, 52–66. Winnipeg: Univ. of Manitoba.

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                                                                                                                            Argues for a degree of predictability of Algonquian gender, based on a model of prototypes and radial categories.

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                                                                                                                            • Darnell, Regna, and Anthony L. Vanek. 1976. The semantic basis of the animate/inanimate distinction in Cree. Papers in Linguistics 9:159–180.

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                                                                                                                              An early effort to account for Algonquian gender semantically from cultural/anthropological factors.

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                                                                                                                              • Goddard, Ives. 2002. Grammatical gender in Algonquian. In Papers of the 33rd Algonquian Conference. Edited by John D. Nichols, 195–231. Winnipeg: Univ. of Manitoba.

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                                                                                                                                The most recent substantial work on the semantics of grammatical gender in Algonquian languages.

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                                                                                                                                • Quinn, Conor M. 2001. A preliminary survey of animacy categories in Penobscot. In Actes du 32e Congrès des Algonquinistes. Edited by John D. Nichols, 395–426. Winnipeg: Univ. of Manitoba.

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                                                                                                                                  Argues for the productive/predictable status of Algonquian gender as a process of strictly constrained analogical extension.

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                                                                                                                                  Semantics

                                                                                                                                  Semantics is still a fairly thinly researched area of Algonquian linguistics. At the level of the whole stem, Francis and Leavitt 1994 examines synonymy in Passamaquoddy as a means of lexical exploration. The semantics of the stem-building elements traditionally known as initials, medials, and finals has been examined in depth, however. Cook 2003 offers a semantic categorization of initials in their guise as preverbs in Menomini; Rhodes 2005 examines the role of preverbs in the lexicalization and indication of Path components of the verbal event. Medials, which lexicalize incorporated body parts, instrumentals/locatives, and verbal shape-classifiers, are examined in Lachapelle 2008. A particularly extensive set of work in this domain is Denny 1984, followed up by Rhodes 1980 and Hirose 2003 on finals, and especially the subcomponents thereof called abstract finals (see Bloomfield 1962 in Descriptive and Analytical Grammars).

                                                                                                                                  • Cook, Christopher. 2003. A semantic classification of Menominee preverbs. In Papers of the 34th Algonquian Conference. Edited by H. C. Wolfart, 35–56. Winnipeg: Univ. of Manitoba.

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                                                                                                                                    Examines the set of semantic categories realized by preverbs in Menomini.

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                                                                                                                                    • Denny, J. Peter. 1984. Semantic classes and abstract finals. In Papers of the 15th Algonquian Conference. Edited by William Cowan, 241–271. Ottawa, ON: Carleton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                      Culmination of a long series of articles on the role of abstract finals in the semantic categorization of Algonquian verb stems.

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                                                                                                                                      • Francis, David A., and Robert M. Leavitt. 1994. More lexical exploration: Passamaquoddy synonyms. In Actes du 25e Congrès des Algonquinistes. Edited by William Cowan, 274–284. Ottawa, ON: Carleton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                        One of the few works to examine Algonquian semantics at the level of the complete stem.

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                                                                                                                                        • Hirose, Tomio. 2003. Origins of predicates: Evidence from Plains Cree. New York: Routledge.

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                                                                                                                                          Extensive discussion of finals and abstract finals in Plains Cree.

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                                                                                                                                          • Lachapelle, Magali. 2008. Le rôle de la catégorisation dans l‘utilisation des médianes dans le verbe innu. MA thesis, Université du Québec à Montréal.

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                                                                                                                                            Examines the use of medials in Innu-Aimûn.

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                                                                                                                                            • Rhodes, Richard A. 1980. On the semantics of the instrumental finals in Ojibwa. In Papers of the 11th Algonquian Conference. Edited by William Cowan, 183–197. Ottawa, ON: Carleton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                              Most detailed discussion of the important subcategory of Algonquian finals known as instrumental finals.

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                                                                                                                                              • Rhodes, Richard A. 2005. Directional pre-verbs in Ojibwe and the registration of path. In Papers of the 36th Algonquian Conference. Edited by H. C. Wolfart, 371–382. Winnipeg: Univ. of Manitoba.

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                                                                                                                                                Examines the subset of preverbs (a form of initial) specialized to indicate the Path component of the verbal event.

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                                                                                                                                                Phonetics and Phonology

                                                                                                                                                Phonetics and phonology are somewhat understudied in Algonquian linguistics relative to other subfields; for many languages, the primary discussions are simply introductory accounts in descriptive grammars. One possible reason for this is that Algonquian languages generally have fairly small and simple phonemic inventories. Work has focused chiefly on subtleties in the laryngeal and prosodic domains.

                                                                                                                                                Laryngeal

                                                                                                                                                Whispered vowels are a notable feature of some Algonquian languages and are examined for Cheyenne in Leman and Rhodes 1978.

                                                                                                                                                • Leman, Wayne, and Richard Rhodes. 1978. Cheyenne vowel devoicing. In Papers of the 9th Algonquian Conference. Edited by William Cowan, 3–24. Ottawa, ON: Carleton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                  Discussion of vowel devoicing in Cheyenne.

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                                                                                                                                                  Word-Level and Clause-Level Prosody and Lexically Contrastive Pitch-Accent

                                                                                                                                                  Word-level and clause-level prosody have been examined in Mühlbauer 2006 and Cook 2006, respectively. Lexically contrastive pitch-accent is found in all Plains languages: see Salzmann 1983 for Arapaho, Leman 1987 for Cheyenne, and van der Mark 2003 for Blackfoot. Contrastive pitch-accent appears again in a portion of the northeastern Algonquian range—primarily in the Eastern Algonquian languages of Penobscot (Siebert 1988) and Maliseet-Passamaquoddy, but spilling over into adjacent dialects of (Central Algonquian) East Cree and Innu-Aimûn. LeSourd 1993, on accentuation and syllable structure in Passamaquoddy-Maliseet, is the most extensive and detailed treatment of the phenomenon and indeed is arguably the most comprehensive phonological work to date on any Algonquian language.

                                                                                                                                                  • Cook, Christopher. 2006. Prosodic correlates of Plains Cree clause boundaries: Patterns from two speakers. In Papers of the 37th Algonquian Conference. Edited by H. C. Wolfart, 75–101. Winnipeg: Univ. of Manitoba.

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                                                                                                                                                    Prosody/intonation at the clause level in Plains Cree.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Leman, Wayne. 1987. Cheyenne obviation pitch alternations. In Papers of the 18th Algonquian Conference. Edited by William Cowan, 173–186. Ottawa, ON: Carleton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                      Contrastive pitch-accent in Cheyenne, with special reference to its use in obviative morphology.

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                                                                                                                                                      • LeSourd, Philip S. 1993. Accent and syllable structure in Passamaquoddy. New York: Garland.

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                                                                                                                                                        The most extensive discussion to date of accentuation and contrastive pitch-accent in any Algonquian language. Foundational for understanding northeastern Algonquian accentual systems.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Mühlbauer, Jeffrey T. 2006. Pitch as accent in Plains Cree nominals. In Papers of the 37th Algonquian Conference. Edited by H. C. Wolfart, 229–268. Winnipeg: Univ. of Manitoba.

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                                                                                                                                                          Prosody at the (nominal) word-level in Plains Cree.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Salzmann, Zdeněk. 1983. Dictionary of contemporary Arapaho usage. Wind River Reservation, WY: Arapaho Language and Culture Instructional Materials.

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                                                                                                                                                            Contrastive pitch-accent in Arapaho, summarized in dictionary introduction.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Siebert, Frank T. 1988. The suprasegmental phonemes of the Penobscot dialect of Eastern Abenaki, an Eastern Algonquian language. In In honor of Mary Haas: From the Haas Festival Conference on Native American linguistics. Edited by William Shipley, 715–763. New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1515/9783110852387Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                              Contrastive pitch-accent in Penobscot.

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                                                                                                                                                              • van der Mark, Sheena C. 2003. The phonetics of Blackfoot pitch accent. MA thesis, Univ. of Calgary.

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                                                                                                                                                                Contrastive pitch-accent in Blackfoot.

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                                                                                                                                                                Discourse and Pragmatics

                                                                                                                                                                Word order in Algonquian languages is by all accounts determined chiefly (though not exclusively) by pragmatics and information structure. Discussions include Dahlstrom 1995 and Shields 2004. Evidentials (Blain and Déchaine 2007, Inglis 2003) has a growing literature, as does work on discourse markers (Reinholtz and Wolfart 2001, Oxford 2008). See also Morphology and Syntax for more on the obviation contrast: its overlapping effects in morphology, syntax, and discourse/information structure also make it one of the more thoroughly researched aspects of Algonquian linguistics in this domain.

                                                                                                                                                                • Blain, Eleanor M., and Rose-Marie Déchaine. 2007. Evidential types: Evidence from Cree dialects. International Journal of American Linguistics 73:257–291.

                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1086/521728Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                  Examination of categorizational realizations of evidentiality across the Cree dialects.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Dahlstrom, Amy. 1995. Topic, focus and other word order problems in Algonquian: The Belcourt Lecture. Winnipeg, MB: Voices of Rupert’s Land.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Foundational model of the information-structural foundations of word order in Algonquian.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Inglis, S. 2003. The deferential evidential in Mi’kmaq. In Papers of the 34th Algonquian Conference. Edited by H. C. Wolfart, 193–200. Winnipeg, Canada: Univ. of Manitoba.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Examination of evidentiality categories contrasted in Mi’kmaq.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Oxford, Will. 2008. A grammatical study of Innu-aimun particles. Algonquian and Iroquoian Linguistics Memoir 20. Winnipeg: Univ. of Manitoba.

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                                                                                                                                                                        An extensive survey of grammatical particles in Innu-Aimûn, including discourse particles.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Reinholtz, Charlotte, and H. Christoph Wolfart. 2001. The syntax of emphatic ani in Eastern Swampy Cree and in Plains Cree. In Actes du 32e Congrès des Algonquinistes. Edited by John Nichols, 427–454. Winnipeg: Univ. of Manitoba.

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                                                                                                                                                                          One of the few published discussions of the pervasive category of discourse particles in Algonquian.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Shields, R. 2004. Word order and discourse in Menominee. In Papers of the 36th Algonquian Conference. Edited by H. C. Wolfart, 373–388. Winnipeg: Univ. of Manitoba.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Discourse properties of word order contrasts in Menomini.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Acquisition

                                                                                                                                                                            Very little research has yet emerged on first-language acquisition of Algonquian languages, in large part because the majority of extant Algonquian languages are severely threatened. There is, however, an ongoing long-term research project into children’s acquisition of Cree at Memorial University, St. John’s, New Brunswick: the Chisasabi Child Language Acquisition Study.

                                                                                                                                                                            Descriptive and Analytical Grammars

                                                                                                                                                                            Limitations of space again allow for only a small sample of the currently published grammatical descriptions of Algonquian languages. Of the still relatively few book-length grammars, two stand out as fine starting points for a beginner in Algonquian linguistics. Valentine 2001, on Nishnaabemwin, not only gives the currently most extensive coverage of any Algonquian language in print but also is extremely accessible to newcomers to the field, with all technical terms thoroughly explained and exemplified; Cowell and Moss 2008 is a similarly accessible, thoughtful, and in-depth analysis of a Plains language. Bloomfield 1962 is a classic of Algonquianist literature: its structuralist analysis of Menominee represents what is still the de facto standard for descriptive Algonquian grammars. Costa 2003, on Miami-Illinois, is a comparable masterwork in the historical-reconstructive philological tradition. For Eastern Algonquian, Hewson and Francis 1990 is an annotated retranscription of a missionary grammar of Mi’kmaw, notably coedited by a native speaker linguist, and Leavitt 1996 is a brief but effective grammar of Passamaquoddy-Maliseet. Garrett 2010 offers the same for Yurok (Algic: Ritwan), as part of an extensive digital archive of language resources.

                                                                                                                                                                            • Bloomfield, Leonard. 1962. The Menomini language. Edited by Charles Hockett. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                              One of the foundational documents of Algonquian descriptive grammar tradition, establishing and working through the standard Bloomfieldian categorial analysis.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Costa, David J. 2003. The Miami-Illinois language. Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                A grammar of Miami-Illinois (Central Algonquian), based on detailed review of legacy materials, and with a strong focus on historical reconstruction.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Cowell, Andrew, and Alonzo Moss Sr. 2008. The Arapaho language. Boulder: Univ. of Colorado Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  A solid introduction to a Plains Algonquian language, marked by an extremely thoughtful discussion and presentation of core Algonquian grammatical concepts and analytical problems.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Garrett, A. 2010. Basic Yurok grammar. Berkeley: Department of Linguistics, Univ. of California Berkeley.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Substantial grammatical overview provided as part of an online digital archive of resources for the Ritwan (Algic) language Yurok, which also includes extensive sound recordings, glossed texts, and a valuable bibliography.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Hewson, John, and Bernard Francis, eds. and trans. 1990. The Micmac grammar of Father Pacifique. Algonquian and Iroquoian Linguistics Memoirs 7. Winnipeg: Univ. of Manitoba.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Annotated retranscription (coedited by a native speaker linguist) of early-20th-century missionary grammar of Mi’kmaw (Eastern Algonquian).

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Leavitt, Robert M. 1996. Passamaquoddy-Maliseet. Munich: LINCOM Europa.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        A brief but well-targeted grammar sketch of Passamaquoddy-Maliseet; also see references within for earlier substantial grammatical descriptions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Valentine, J. R. 2001. Nishnaabemwin reference grammar. Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          A comprehensive reference grammar of Nishnaabemwin, with extensive explanations, examples, and glossary. It is targeted at nonspecialist readers (the terminological glossary is particularly useful for beginners) but maintains solid and deep coverage of a Central Algonquian grammatical system, the bulk of which readily applies to most of the rest of the family.

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