By Bernard C. Perley
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Extra resources for Defying Maliseet Language Death: Emergent Vitalities of Language, Culture, and Identity in Eastern Canada
Fortunately, assumptions about language based on European languages were challenged by research in American Indian languages, most notably by Franz Boas (Boas 1940; Harris 1993), Edward Sapir (Mandelbaum 1985), and Benjamin Lee Whorf (Whorf 1970). Boas in particular, in 1917, set the agenda for research in Native American linguistics in his introduction to the “International Journal of American Linguistics” (Boas 1940). In the introduction Boas acknowledges the difﬁcult task of documenting language change through extended contact with European languages (1940:201).
From United Native Nations Report, Vancouver)4 To emphasize the ﬁnality of language death, Nancy Dorian provides the following East Sutherland proverb in the front of her book on Scots Gaelic: “Tha leigheas air gach càs, Ach cha’n eil leigheas air a’bhàs” (There’s a cure for every condition except death; Dorian 1981:vi). There is no cure for Maliseet language death. However, the Maliseet language is not dead yet. Perhaps language obsolescence is a better descriptor for the state of the Maliseet language.
Of course it is not that simple either. That is why intersubjectivity plays an important role. Discerning the linguistic and cultural forms that the community apprehends as Maliseet and who determines Maliseetness requires an analysis of “embodied constellations of voices,” an analysis that includes not only my contributions to the emergence of linguistic and cultural forms but also outside hegemonic contributions to formative constellations of Maliseetness. Those questions have no easy answers, as Teresa O’Nell had discovered while working among the Flatheads of Montana.
Defying Maliseet Language Death: Emergent Vitalities of Language, Culture, and Identity in Eastern Canada by Bernard C. Perley