The First French-Huron Dictionary, by Father Jean De Brebeuf and His Jesuit Brethren

The First French-Huron Dictionary, by Father Jean De Brebeuf and His Jesuit Brethren

By: John Steckley (editor_and_translator)Hardback

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This work provides, for the first time, a lexical and grammatical description of the Huron language. It includes a translation and an analysis of what may be the oldest surviving French-Huron dictionary, composed by French-Jesuit missionaries, sometime during the 1640s or 1650s. The work of these missionaries established a body of linguistic work unique from any other Aboriginal language in the Americas. 'Why did you write this book'? I have three answers to that question, or better stated, there are three groups for whom I am writing/editing this work. One answer relates to the Huron (or Wendat, as they called themselves before Europeans gave them another name) or Wyandot who are descendents of the people who spoke Wendat in the 17th century (i.e., the Huron and the also French named Petun). These contemporary people, living in communities in Quebec, Kansas, and Oklahoma, and living out of band populations, but still identifying themselves as descendants, particularly in Michigan and Ohio, are currently engaged in bringing the language back to life. The more they can learn about the past of their language, and their ancestors, the more material that is printed in and about the language, the easier that very difficult but vital task becomes. Then there are the historians and anthropologists (the latter go by the labels of ethnohistorians or archaeologists), who work on this period and have not had the opportunity to mine the data rich Jesuit Huron dictionaries that I have had. I want them to approach translated and edited dictionaries such as this like an archaeologist looks at a new site, as a potential site for learning what has not been previously known, rich data to be smelted through various interpretive processes. There is much in this dictionary, the significance of which needs to be determined by many readers informed by a variety of perspectives. Finally, there are contemporary Jesuits, who in these postmodern, post-colonial times can access through this dictionary new reasons to respect their predecessors. I deconstruct with the best of them, but sometimes 21st century scholars have to take a positive look at these major early Canadian figures.

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780773436169
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 260
  • ID: 9780773436169
  • ISBN10: 0773436162

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