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ERIC Number: EJ787783
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 18
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0161-6463
"In the Old Language": A Glossary of Ojibwe Words, Phrases, and Sentences in Louise Erdrich's Novels
Beidler, Peter G.
American Indian Culture and Research Journal, v27 n3 p53-70 2003
It is known that for Louise Erdrich the "old language" is Ojibwe, sometimes called Anishinaabe or Ojibwemowin, a language that is still spoken, but that, like most Native American languages, is losing ground to English or, more rarely, Spanish. Erdrich has been learning the Ojibwe language for some years, and she is increasingly macaronic in her fiction--that is, she increasingly uses Ojibwe words, phrases, and even sentences, intermixed with and juxtaposed against English. Often Erdrich's use of the scattered Ojibwe words and phrases is straightforward enough. Although Erdrich sometimes seems not so concerned that all readers understand precisely the Ojibwe words and phrases that she uses, the author feels that there is a need for a glossary. In this article, the author presents a glossary in order to help the readers of Erdrich's novels understand her Ojibwe words, phrases, and sentences. The glossary lists the words and phrases that Erdrich uses in her novels published through the year 2003, excluding "The Birchbark House," a juvenile novel. In creating this glossary, the author hopes to stimulate an interest in the old language among Erdrich's many non-Indian readers and thus help to encourage further study of it. (Contains 19 notes.)
American Indian Studies Center at UCLA. 3220 Campbell Hall, Box 951548, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1548. Tel: 310-825-7315; Fax: 310-206-7060; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A