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ERIC Number: ED355808
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993
Pages: 9
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Emergence of a Definite Article in Montagnais? The Truth of the Linguists vs. the Trust of the Natives.
Cyr, Danielle
A study investigated the existence of a definite article in Montagnais, an Algonquian language spoken by about 6,000 Canada natives. The language has not yet been totally described, and teachers, who must create their own instructional materials for Montagnais language instruction, are unsure as to whether to teach their own usage or what they are told by linguists. No description of a definite article system has ever been included in the language's grammar. However, analysis of Montagnais now suggests that it does have such a form, and that it differs enough from French not to have been borrowed from it. Comparison of frequency of usage of the definite article and demonstratives in this and other languages support this hypothesis. Others argue that because the definite article is much more frequent in the speech and writing of younger people, it is just emerging. This perspective is supported by an analysis of pupils' retelling, in writing, of an elder's story but not by frequency data from the spontaneous speech of elderly Montagnais monolinguals. It is concluded that the explicit grammar reflects more the incomplete construct of linguists than the real usage of the language. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada