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By Peter Bakker

The Michif language -- spoken through descendants of French Canadian fur investors and Cree Indians in western Canada -- is taken into account an "impossible language" because it makes use of French for nouns and Cree for verbs, and includes varied units of grammatical principles. Bakker makes use of historic examine and fieldwork info to provide the 1st specific research of this language and the way it got here into being.

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Additional resources for A Language of Our Own: The Genesis of Michif, the Mixed Cree-French Language of the Canadian Metis (Oxford Studies in Anthropological Linguistics, 10)

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In all these cases the Turkish verbs are fairly infrequent. 3 Therefore we must conclude that the formal similarity between this Romani dialect (and the others mentioned) and Michif is only superficial. In Romani, there is only a limited number of verbs from another language, but in Michif all the verbs, along with their inflection, come from another language. 4 Aleut is a language related to the Eskimo languages. Copper Island Aleut or Mednyj Aleut, as reported in Golovko (1994) and Thomason and Kaufman (1988: 233-238), following Menovshchikov (1969), has Aleut stems but Russian inflectional affixes in the finite verbs.

The Metis are a new nation, both in their own eyes and in the eyes of other peoples, from the early 1800s onward (see Chapter Three). The Metis are not only a new nation with their own ethnic identity but also a mixed group. It can safely be assumed that the Michif language arose as a consequence of the contact of French-speaking men with Cree-speaking Amerindian women. Their descendants speak the mixed language. Considering the rather unusual social circumstances under which the Metis emerged, it is reasonable to assume that the atypical linguistic result is somehow a consequence of these atypical social circumstances (Thomason and Kaufman 1988: 233).

Furthermore, not only verbs are used from the supposed source language, Cree, but also many other categories, including syntax. Again, both the nature and extent of Cree dictate that Michif cannot be the result of verb borrowing into French. "Mixed" Languages with some Verb-Noun Dichotomy There seem to be only two other languages in the world with a kind of verb-noun dichotomy. Both cases only vaguely resemble Michif. The first is the language spoken in a Gypsy community in the Athenian suburb Ajia Varvara.

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