A Concise Dictionary of the Nuuchahnulth Language of Vancouver Island (Native American Studies v. 17)

A Concise Dictionary of the Nuuchahnulth Language of Vancouver Island (Native American Studies v. 17)

By: John Stonham (author)Hardback

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This is the first published dictionary of the Nuuchahnulth language of Vancouver Island, based primarily upon the Tsishaath variety and supplemented by material from a number of other dialects of the language. Nuuchahnulth is the preferred term for a group of First Nations peoples occupying the West Coast of Vancouver Island from Port Renfrew to Cape Cook. The traditional European name applied most commonly to both the people and the language is Nootka, although there have been notable exceptions, such as the use of the term Aht (adapted from the suffix - 'ath 'people of...') used by Knipe 1868 in his early description of the grammar of the language. Note should be taken of the distinction between the linguistic use of Nuuchahnulth, referring to the group of dialects north of Bamfield on the west coast and the socio-political use of the term, which extends to the Ditidaht and Pacheedaht bands south from Bamfield to Port Renfrew, who speak a distinct language. This dictionary is a first attempt at providing a detailed account of the lexicon of the Nuuchahnulth language, complete with examples and grammatical information. Prior to this there have been a number of short wordlists (e.g. , Jewitt 1824, Tolmie & Dawson 1884, Boas 1890, 1916) and several larger glossaries (e.g. Knipe 1868, Sapir & Swadesh 1939), but there has been no full dictionary with detailed grammatical information and examples published. Dictionaries are always works-in-progress and this one is no different: it will hopefully provide a foundation upon which to build ever more complete entries of each word of the language. The entries for this dictionary are based on data from a number of sources. The principal source for examples are the fieldnotes gathered by Edward Sapir between 1910 and 1922, principally in the Tsishaath variety, but including material from Clayoquot, Hupachasath, and Ucluelet varieties. Additional fieldnotes from Morris Swadesh in the late 1940s and my own fieldnotes since the 1980s were also consulted. Supplementing this material are forms from a number of additional sources, cited in the References at the end of the dictionary, but notably the chapter by St. Claire in Arima 1991 on Nuuchahnulth placenames, which provides detailed information on local placenames. Other important sources include "Ellis & Swan 1981", and "Turner & Efrat 1982", and "FNP 1995" on ethnobotany and ethnozoological terms, "Rose 1981" on the Kyuquot dialect, and "Drucker 1951" on ethnographical information. Sources are not cited for each entry and example, as this would have increased the length, and hence the cost, of the dictionary inordinately, but every effort has been made to provide full references to the sources. The dictionary is separated into two main parts: (1) a Nuuchahnulth-English dictionary, consisting of over 7,000 main entries with examples and detailed grammatical information, and (2) an English-Nuuchahnulth glossary, containing some 8,500 entries consisting of English headwords with their Nuuchahnulth equivalents and a marker of part of speech. Following the main body of the dictionary are several appendices, including an outline of the inflectional paradigms, an index of placenames derived from St. Claire 1991, and a list of references. In setting up the structure of entries, a number of issues were taken into consideration. First, headwords include roots, affixes and extended words, which include compounds, with specialised meanings. Roots, typically mono- or bisyllabic, have basic meanings and more variation in part of speech, so there may be entries under several part of speech categories and a number of different senses. Roots may have bound forms, which are used in combination with derivational suffixes, noted in the dictionary by means of the label Variant followed by the bound form. Affixes, mainly suffixes with a handful of infixes, are more regular in terms of part of speech category, but may have several different senses and uses. A further important aspect of suffixes is the effect they may have upon the bases to which they attach. "Sapir & Swadesh 1939" and "Stonham 1999", among others, discuss this in more detail, so I will simply state here that a number of abbreviations are employed to indicate the effects which suffixes impose. These include [R] marking reduplication of the base, [L] marking vowel length on the base, and others, as noted under Abbreviations at the end of this section. There is also a significant amount of homonymy among affixes, as there is with roots, and this is addressed by the use of subscript numbers to distinguish homonyms in the dictionary. With extended words, meanings and part of speech membership often seems more transparent, and in these cases, reference is often made to the root or affixes involved under the label of Morph, for morphological structure, in order to clarify the structure of the complex word. A word of caution: A note should be made here concerning the assignment of part of speech categories. There has been a considerable amount of controversy among linguists surrounding parts of speech in Southern Wakashan languages (see, for example, Jacobsen 1979). In this dictionary, the use of part of speech categories should be taken as making no claim concerning the part of speech of the Nuuchahnulth headword. Both Nuuchahnulth and English have many ambiguous cases of word class and it seems best to determine this in relation to the role a form has in a specific context, but this is beyond the scope of a dictionary. The part of speech marker is intended to indicate examples of forms appearing in various part of speech contexts in the English translations of the examples provided. I have tried to provide examples which demonstrate different usages, where possible. This approach demonstrates in many cases the variation that may be found in Nuuchahnulth grammar, especially with respect to bare roots. With respect to the different senses of a word, indicated by numbers, 1), 2), etc., these are again generalisations and may not be exact equivalents of the Nuuchahnulth senses. As with any two languages, there is often no direct equivalency in meaning between Nuuchahnulth and English words. The ordering in the dictionary: The entries in the Nuuchahnulth-English portion of the dictionary follow the order below: I, II...This is basically the order of the Roman alphabet, but with consideration of the far greater number of distinct phonemes in Nuuchahnulth. I have grouped together long, short, and variable-length vowels since often two related words will vary only in the length of the first vowel and this strategy will make it easier to note that relationship. Roots, affixes and complex forms, including compounds, are intermixed according to the above order, and where there is a significantly distinct variant this is entered separately with a cross-reference to the main entry to assist the user in finding the basic form and fuller details. I have also decided not to adopt the English convention of capitalising proper names in Nuuchahnulth, mainly for typographical reasons, and so proper nouns are ordered together with common forms. The dialectal variation: There are a number of different dialects of Nuuchahnulth, roughly divisible into three main regions: Northern, Central, and Southern, which exhibit significant differences. Variation occurs in all areas of the grammar and lexicon, but much work remains to be done to establish the extent of this variation. In this dictionary, forms have been noted as coming from various dialectal sources, although this should not be taken to imply that the forms do not occur in other varieties. Given the principal source for the examples, the majority of forms come from the Tsishaath dialect. The structure of entries : Entries include information concerning the part of speech, English glosses of the Nuuchahnulth headword, instances of the usage of the headword with example sentences where possible and relevant: possible, since appropriate examples are not always available and relevant, since this will depend on the part of speech label for the entry, separate subentries for different senses and for different part of speech usage, and further details concerning cultural information, usage, dialect variation, and specific grammatical information concerning variant forms, irregular plural forms, and the appropriate classifiers associated with nouns. A number of abbreviations have been employed in the entries, some of which demand further clarification. In citing some sources, I have abbreviated the references, including the following (full details are provided in the References):"FNP First Nations' Perspectives Relating to Forest Practices, Appendices V, VIKn Knipe 1868", "S&S Sapir & Swadesh 1939", "R&S Roberts & Swadesh 1955 Sw Swadesh 1949". In addition to these abbreviations there are a number of labels employed to convey further information, including: Cls: This provides the appropriate classifier for each noun, if known. Morph: Morphological analysis of a complex word form. Note: Ethnographic notes relating to the headword. Plur: Irregular plural forms of the headword. See main entry: The main entry for a variant found elsewhere in the dictionary. See: Cross-reference to related words or meanings. Usage: Usage notes about dialect and register of the headword. Variant: Bound forms of the headwordWith respect to the determination of headwords, I have tried to include as many lexical items as are obviously distinct lexical forms, preferring to err on the side of excess, occasionally including redundant or predictable information perhaps. Similarly, in the glossary, I have tried to include as many near-synonyms as possible to ensure adequate retrievability of information. The English-Nuuchahnulth glossary entries are in a more concise format than the Nuuchahnulth-English dictionary, in order to constrain the size of the dictionary, while providing reference to the more detailed information in the first part. In addition to these two parts there is also a set of appendices, which are intended to provide further information related to entries but grouped together in a separate section. These include a list of grammatical paradigms, an index of place-names, based on the study of St. Claire (1991), and a list of further references, many of which are referred to in the body of the dictionary. With regard to culturally-sensitive entries, it was felt that there was a delicate balance between the need for as complete a record of Nuuchahnulth vocabulary as possible and the need to be sensitive to culturally-important observances. Primary among such sensitive issues is the observance of cihlaa 'ghost-naming', which demands the avoidance of names for a period of time after the death of the possessor of the name. In order to achieve this, all references to specific individuals' names have been removed from the translations of native names, while providing translations or romanisations of the names. Words considered to be slang or vulgar have been included in the dictionary because they constitute a part of the language and would otherwise riskdisappearing from the vocabulary of Nuuchahnulth. Comments on the status of such words are included under the Usage label. The driving impetus for the writing of this dictionary is the desire to provide documentation of the Nuuchahnulth lexicon as a record of the richness of the vocabulary and as a tool for language learning. As with all living languages, Nuuchahnulth vocabulary is open-ended and there will inevitably be errors and omissions in this work. In addition, there are a number of places in this dictionary where I have included question marks. These are genuine questions/entries for which I have questions. I would greatly appreciate any observations/corrections from users of the dictionary and will make every effort to incorporate all suggestions into a revised edition of this dictionary in the future.

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Acknowledgements, ix; Introduction, xi; Abbreviations, xix; Nuuchahnulth-English Dictionary, 1; English-Nuuchahnulth Glossary, 407; Appendices, 517; Appendix I - Grammatical Paradigms, 519; Appendix II - Placename Index, 521; References, 535.

Product Details

  • publication date: 30/04/2005
  • ISBN13: 9780773461383
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 547
  • ID: 9780773461383
  • ISBN10: 0773461388

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