Some Ethnolinguistic Notes on Polar Eskimo by Stephen Leonard

By Stephen Leonard

This ebook serves as an insightful ethnographic advent to the language and oral traditions of the Inugguit, a sub-group of the Inuit who reside in north-west Greenland. a different paintings, it encompasses an summary of the grammar of Polar Eskimo - a language spoken by way of approximately 770 humans - in addition to an outline in their oral traditions (drum-dancing and story-telling) and the main vast word list of the language compiled so far. The publication offers the Polar Eskimo language within the orthography proven by means of the writer at the side of the local people in Greenland, an incredibly tough activity for a language made of such an aberrant phonology and with out written culture. via exploring their methods of talking and methods of belonging, Leonard offers an unique ethnographic interpretation of the character of Inugguit social association and their world-view. Some Ethnolinguistic Notes on Polar Eskimo will function a useful source for linguists who focus on the Eskimo-Aleut staff and may be of a lot curiosity to anthropologists operating within the Arctic area

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Here are the endings for a word which has a weak consonant base (qimmiq ‘dog’): Case Absolutive Relative Singular Plural –( ) –it –p –it Instrumental –mik –nik Locative –mi –nik Allative –mut –nut Ablative –mit –nit Vialis –kkut –tigut Equalitive –hut –hut There is little redundancy in the case system and the fact all the cases are used more or less all the time means that after a short period one is using the ablative, allative and locative without realising it. Whilst it might look daunting, the case system should not pose any unnecessary obstacles when learning the language.

Chapter 7 The Polar Eskimo Lexicon Some basic elements of the lexicon (such as words for ‘yes’ and ‘no’ and perhaps the facial inscriptions which relay these meanings) derive from proto-Inuit, with the remainder of the lexicon being SWG produced in PE phonology, with a few innovations specific to NBI and PE. The lexicon is becoming more Greenlandicised because of the influence of SWG as the language of education and media, and reduced contact with NBI. About thirty or forty per cent of the lexicon I compiled from my older informants is not understood by variety A speakers.

All original geminate laterals appear to be now glottalised. As previously mentioned, PE is also characterised by a very loose articulation of both consonants and vowels. One exception to this is the voiceless uvular stop, /q/, whose articulation had to be rather precise in order to be understood. Initially, I was told that my pronunciation was too harsh, and that the sound was a subtle, soft popping sound at the bottom of the throat and not the harsh, guttural plosive of certain Semitic languages.

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