By Marcus Tomalin

This formidable and ground-breaking e-book examines the linguistic experiences produced by way of missionaries in line with the Pacific Northwest Coast of North the United States (and quite Haida Gwaii) through the overdue 19th and early 20th centuries. Making wide use of unpublished archival fabrics, the writer demonstrates that the missionaries have been liable for introducing many cutting edge and insightful grammatical analyses. instead of in basic terms adopting Graeco-Roman versions, they drew commonly upon reviews of non-European languages, and a cautious exploration in their scripture translations demonstrate the origins of the Haida sociolect that emerged due to 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. due to the fact this publication attracts upon contemporary paintings in theoretical linguistics, spiritual historical past, translation reports, and anthropology, it emphasises the inevitably interdisciplinary nature of Missionary Linguistics examine.

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Sapir's and Haeberlin's work was received with indifference by the wider linguistics community. 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.

1 Haida Gwaii Haida Gwaii is an archipelago that is situated off the Northwest Coast of British Columbia, about 240km north of Vancouver Island. The two largest islands in the chain are Graham Island, to the north, and Moresby Island, to the south, and these are surrounded by about 150 smaller islands. including Langara, Louise, Lyell, Burnaby, and Kunghit. The total land-mass of the chain is estimated to be around 10,000 km2, making it twice the size of Prince Edward Island, Canada's smallest province.

These intricacies are typical since, whenever new names have been proposed - either for Haida Gwaii in its totality or else for particular islands, bays, and coves that form part of the archipelago -they have usually come with potent socio-political connotations. In the whimsical passage quoted above, Bringhurst refers to 'the Haida who have always lived' on Haida Gwaii. In truth, it is not known when the early ancestors of the modern Haidas first arrived on the islands, though recent estimates suggest that they have lived there for around 12,000 years (Fisher 1996: 117).

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