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ERIC Number: EJ936312
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0161-6463
Unexpected Languages: Multilingualism and Contact in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century North America
Phillips, Lisa
American Indian Culture and Research Journal, v35 n2 p19-42 2011
This exploration of the languages of contact in the North American British-US borderlands in the period between 1783 and 1860 provides insights into the types of extended contact that occurred in the areas north of 42[degrees] and south of 50[degrees]. Although multilingualism was the norm in the Old Northwest and the old Oregon Territory during the nineteenth century, just as it was almost everywhere else in the world where different groups were in contact, current and contemporary assumptions have led to the false assumption that multilingualism was and continues to be unexpected. Mining data that began as a collection of "anomalies" that kept surfacing in historical documents around the British-US borderlands, this analysis presents ways in which multilingualism might add to our understanding of early, extended, and unexpected contact between diverse peoples and of the widespread and continuing use of languages, particularly Aboriginal languages of North America. Further delineation of the languages that were spoken in the Old Northwest and the old Oregon Territory, different categories of translators, reasons for multilingualism, and ways of becoming bilingual underscore the varied types of social interactions that were prevalent in the borderlands regions during the nineteenth century, many of which continue into the twenty-first century. (Contains 1 figure, 1 table, and 54 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 - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A