Monday, July 20, 2009

Cayuga grammar

While doing fieldwork for a Cayuga dictionary between 1993-1999, Carrie Dyck also gathered information for a Cayuga grammar. You can view the ongoing draft at this website:

Pan-Innu dictionary workshop

The editorial team of the Pan-Innu dictionary met at UQAM (June 10-12) to review more additions and revisions to the main database, a project funded by Marguerite MacKenzie's SSHRC CURA grant. The meeting was attended by speakers of three Innu dialects, Yvette Mollen, Hélène St. Onge and Anne-Marie André, primary editor and ethno-linguist José Mailhot, linguists Lynn Drapeau and Anne-Marie Baraby from UQAM and the principal investigator. The team has been meeting several times a year since the summer of 2006 and hopes to have an on-line version of the Innu-French-English lexicon posted on the website by December of this year.

Innu environmental terminology workshop

Marguerite MacKenzie and Laurel Anne Hasler were invited to lead a workshop (July 7-10) to begin the translation of scientific terminology into Innu-aimun for use by the staff and translators of the Environmental office of the Innu Nation ( Three employees, a translator for each of the two Innu dialects, an environmental consultant and the linguists, reviewed a list of over 250 terms having to do with environmental assessment for hydro and mining development. Plans to construct a dam on the Lower Churchill River would significantly affect Innu lands ( This and subsequent workshops will result in a glossary of terms which allow the Innu interpreters and translators to better inform the community members during the consultation process.

Workshop on Southern East Cree

Marguerite MacKenzie participated in a workshop to document Southern East Cree verb paradigms and to revise and add items to the dictionary of that dialect. Marie-Odile Junker and her team at Carleton University hosted the seven day meeting (June 1-9), where six Cree speakers worked with linguists prepare verb paradigms for eventual posting on the website. The dictionary already appears there and is regularly updated. Later in the month she met with instructors in the Cree Literacy Certificate program to continue detailed planning of the course content.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Philip Comeau (York University) speaks at MUSL Brown Bag Talk

Philip Comeau (York University) will be giving a brown bag talk on Wednesday, July 22 at 1:00 pm (SN-3060). His paper is on the distribution of interrogative particles *–ti / –tu* in Canadian French. The abstract follows. Questions in both French and English are encouraged.

Previous accounts of interrogative particles in Quebec French differ not only in terms of the analyses, but also with respect to the distribution of these particles across the person paradigm (e.g., Picard (1992) claims they do not occur with second person subjects while Maury (1990) and Vecchiato (2000) report that they do). Subject-verb inversion, another variant for total interrogation, is reported to occur only with second person subjects (e.g., Auger 1994) or not at all (e.g., Vinet 2000). This paper presents an analysis of the spread of –*ti* across the person paradigm in one variety of Acadian French (Baie Sainte-Marie, Nova Scotia). Following a brief outline of the historical development of –*ti*/–*tu* in French, I present data from a number of varieties of Canadian French (both Acadian and Quebec) while considering a number of structural differences which may account for cross-dialectal differences.

Il existe en français populaire deux particules postverbales (–*ti* et –*tu*) qui marquent l’interrogation totale. Cependant, certains chercheurs ne sont pas d’accord sur la distribution de cette particule (p. ex. Picard (1992) soutient que –*tu* ne se trouve pas à la deuxième personne tandis que Maury (1990) et Vecchiato (2000) confirment la présence de –*tu* à la deuxième personne). Auger (1994) conclut que l’inversion du sujet et du verbe, une autre variante qui sert à marquer l’interrogation, se trouve uniquement à la deuxième personne alors que Vinet (2000) conclut que l’inversion n’existe plus comme option en français québécois. Suivant une analyse s'agissant de la répartition de la particule à travers du paradigme de personne dans le français acadien de la Baie Sainte-Marie (Nouvelle-Écosse), j’examine quelques différences dans les grammaires des variétés du français canadien, ce qui expliquerait les différences entre l'utilisation de la particule dans ces variétés.

Dr. Brittain takes part in Tibetan Education and Language Symposium

In May, Julie Brittain took part in the Tibetan Education and Language Symposium, a week-long event hosted by the Tibet Sustainable Governance Program at the University of Virginia (Charlottesville, Va). Her presentation, "Language under pressure: The Cree Child Language Acquisition Study and its contribution to language maintenance in a bilingual community", fitted with one the principal themes of the gathering - bilingual education. (In the Tibetan context, bilingual education refers to Tibetan and Mandarin Chinese.) This was a unique event as it brought together scholars and practitioners from all over the world, including a number from many different regions of Tibet, as well as from other parts of the people's Republic of China. Julie taught at Tibet University (Lhasa) in 1987-88 and goes back to the region as often as time permits.