Native American Languages

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Postby pastorant » 2006-09-08, 8:51

Mapuche has contributed the word gaucho to Spanish. Most linguists prefer to call Mapuche Araucanian.

Both Quechua and Ayamara are vibrant languages, and rather easy for an Amerind language.
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Postby Alcadras » 2006-09-08, 11:36

Lakota - hard grammar and fascinating ortography.
Nahuatl - Great pronunciation.
Quichua - Easy grammar, enjoyable verb conjugations.

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Postby amoeba » 2006-09-18, 4:03

Some Amerindian words in English:

alpaca - Quechua allpaka
avocado - Nahuatl ahuacatl
barbecue - Carib barbricot
bayou - Choctaw bayuk
buccaneer - Tupi mocaen 'grill for frying or curing meat'
cannibal - Tupi caryba 'superior man'
canoe - Caribbean
capybara - Tupi
caribou - Algonquian
cashew - Tupi acajú
caucus - Algonquian caucauasu 'counselor'
chocolate - Aztec xocolatl
chile, chili - Nahuatl chilli
chipmunk - Algonquian chitmunk
cigar - Maya sik'ar 'smoke'
cocoa, cacao - Nahuatl cacahuatl (Note: French cacahuète is from Nahuatl tlacucahuatl)
cougar - Tupi suasuarana 'like a deer'
coyote - Nahuatl cóyotl
guacamole - Nahuatl ahuaca-molli 'avocado sauce'
hammock - Taino
hickory - Algonquian pawcohiccora
hurricane - Carib huracan 'his one leg' - the name of a god
igloo - Eskimo iglu
iguana - Arawak iwana
jaguar - Guarani jaguá
jerky - Quechua ch'arki
kayak - Eskimo qajaq
lima [bean] - Quechua rimay 'speak' (Lima, the city, is named after the river Rimaq, i.e 'Speaking')
llama - Quechua llama
mangrove - Taino mangle
moccasin - Natick mohkussin
moose - Natick moos
muskrat - Natick musquash + 'rat'
opossum - Powhatan aposoum
parka - Aleut parka 'skin' (< Russian < Samoyed!)
pecan - Algonquian paccan
piranha - Tupi pirátsainha
poncho - Araucanian pontho
puma - Quechua puma
raccoon - Algonquian arathkone
savannah - Taino zabana
skunk - Massachuset squnck
squash - Massachuset asko:o:tasquash
tapioca - Tupi tipioca 'residue'
tobacco - Arawak tzibatl
toboggan - Micmac toba:kan
tomato - Nahuatl tomatl
woodchuck - Algonquian otchek

Not to mention all the place names.
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Re: Native American Languages

Postby TaylorS » 2008-11-29, 5:06

I have Ojibwa relatives and the Ojibwa language is one I've always wanted to learn. It's often used as an example of an archtypal polysynthetic language.

I've read that Quechua is pretty much completely regular, even it's word for "to be" is conjugated regularily. I'm hopless with using ejective consonants (especially /t'/) so I won't be learning it anytime soon, sadly.

I have always wondered why polysynthesis is so common in the Americas and why it is rare elsewhere. Are there anytheories about this?
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Re: Native American Languages

Postby Formiko » 2008-11-29, 7:14

TaylorS wrote:I have Ojibwa relatives and the Ojibwa language is one I've always wanted to learn. It's often used as an example of an archtypal polysynthetic language.

I've read that Quechua is pretty much completely regular, even it's word for "to be" is conjugated regularily. I'm hopless with using ejective consonants (especially /t'/) so I won't be learning it anytime soon, sadly.

I have always wondered why polysynthesis is so common in the Americas and why it is rare elsewhere. Are there anytheories about this?


The ejective t' is actually pretty easy once you hear it. It's just T that you push out, a quick push like you if have a piece of sesame seed stuck on the end of your tongue and you want to get rid of it :)

Ojibwe is a VERY vibrant language and there is even a Pimsleur course for Ojibwe! (Of course, I have it) There is the scientific theory about polysynthetism and there's my grandma's (lishi's) theory :) If you hear a sentence in most Amerindian languages, there is usually NO doubt about what was said. They are VERY exact and specific. They leave no room for miscommunication. The Native American's lifestyle was very different than ours now. They lived day by day. They communicated for survival (generally speaking). If you were out hunting buffalo (we'll use common stereotypes :)), and there was any doubt about what you were saying in the middle of August on the Nebraska plains, that could mean no food for your extended family that year (and major sunburn). Most NDN cultures take pride in their stoicism, and speak only when they have something to say, so a lot of detailed information is contained within a small unit. Nice and compact. If you ask me, the reason why the men were traditionally quiet, is because it took them a long time to conjugate this humongous polysynthetic verbal phrase :) One mishap, and that could've been war :ohwell:
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Re: Native American Languages

Postby TaylorS » 2008-11-30, 0:58

Formiko wrote:If you ask me, the reason why the men were traditionally quiet, is because it took them a long time to conjugate this humongous polysynthetic verbal phrase :) One mishap, and that could've been war :ohwell:


ROFLMAO!!! :lol:
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Re: Native American Languages

Postby Ayiaearel » 2008-11-30, 4:43

Los idiomas indígenas hablados aquí en Nuevo México son navajo, tegua, tigua, togua, zuñi, jicarilla, mescalero, y keres.

Quiero aprender el navajo, porque es bastante común aquí y quiero aprender el tigua, el tegua, o el togua porque son hablados solo en Albuquerque y sus alrededores. Es posible que sea mi abuelo navajo o pueblo en parte, pero creo que es completamente [nuevo]mexicano.
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Re: Native American Languages

Postby TaylorS » 2008-11-30, 16:47

Formiko wrote:The ejective t' is actually pretty easy once you hear it. It's just T that you push out, a quick push like you if have a piece of sesame seed stuck on the end of your tongue and you want to get rid of it :)


About [t'], my problem is that I always end up give it a nasal quality, almost turning it into something like [t'n], it seems like my soft palate wants to lower, opening the path to my nasal cavity, when I compress the air in my mouth by raising my vocal cords.

Now implosive consonants I find very easy, I just lower my vocal cords right before the consonant releases, giving a kind of hollow timbre to it.
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Postby Łukasz » 2008-12-06, 5:04

ᐋᓃᐣ! ᐴᔔ! ᐚᒋᔦ!

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Re: ᐊᓂᐦᔑᓈᐯᒧᐏᐣ

Postby Formiko » 2008-12-06, 6:54

Łukasz wrote:ᐋᓃᐣ! ᐴᔔ! ᐚᒋᔦ!

ᐘᔕᐡᐠ ᓂᐣᑎᔑᓂᐦᑳᓂᑰ᙮ ᓂᓇᐣᑕᐊᓂᐦᔑᓈᐯᒼ᙮ ᑮᓇᐚ ᑕᐦᐡ ᑭᑕᓂᔑᓈᐯᒧᓈᐚ?


You're going to make me get my Ojibwe dictionaries out of storage, aren't you? :hmm:
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Re: Native American Languages

Postby ''' » 2008-12-08, 10:21

Which languages have resources? I'd take up a few (tlingit, mohawk, naxuatl) but if they're so endangered, what're the chances of finding resources out here?
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Re: Native American Languages

Postby ILuvEire » 2008-12-08, 23:34

''' wrote:Which languages have resources? I'd take up a few (tlingit, mohawk, naxuatl) but if they're so endangered, what're the chances of finding resources out here?


Nahuatl is the only one the I think you could find resources in. Most likely in Spanish. You'll also be able to find some Navajo resources, but I don't know if they'll ship to Australia.
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Re: Native American Languages

Postby Formiko » 2008-12-09, 3:54

My doctoral dissertation was on Tlingit, and I have plenty of resources to give you. Plus I have a boat load of other NDN resources for you as well. Tlingit is as hard to find in Australia as Warlpiri is to find here. Not impossible, but nevertheless difficult. My university has a couple of books on Australian languages such as Gunwinggu that haven't been checked out since the 60's. I've personally seen a book about this STRANGE and WEIRD language called Strine....maybe you've heard of it :partyhat:
I once knew a student who was doing his thesis on Andagarinya while I was getting my graduate degree.
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Re: Native American Languages

Postby ''' » 2008-12-09, 6:55

Strine ('stray'an in local phonetic spelling) Is indeed like Danish to Norwegian I think. Vowels are lengthened and morphed, consonants dropped, stops are more frequent than real sounds these days. Fascinating language.

Even so, local languages have never really fascinated me. I sort of go for language with a cool history. Inca, aztec etc. I mean, Aboriginies: land in australia, MFKR for 50,000 yrs. Hardly gripping.

Are your Tlingit resources good for learning from scratch? Tlingit I'm not sure about. Their phonemic inventory is awesome, and their grammar looked cool on wiki, and you score linguistics points "...and then I studied Tlingit for a while. Not much, but of course I published poetry..." but I don't know if it'd grip me. Still, would be fun to look into that. So exotic. Besides, Dying languages need to be preserved.
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Re: Native American Languages

Postby eskandar » 2008-12-09, 9:02

''' wrote:Even so, local languages have never really fascinated me. I sort of go for language with a cool history. Inca, aztec etc. I mean, Aboriginies: land in australia, MFKR for 50,000 yrs. Hardly gripping.

Wow, what a perfectly racist statement. :roll:
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Re: Native American Languages

Postby ''' » 2008-12-09, 9:25

a lot of "Racism" is truthful. I mean they didn't do anything I find interesting. Other cutlures have history and change. Aboriginal lifestyles in a given area didn't change over time. 50,000 years and they never invented proper construction, writting and hence literature, never formed nations or changed their culture much. It isn't just them, all of Australia is like this. A lot of the animals you see here are relatively unchanged over time. This whole continent has this aura of...if it ain't broke don't do anything...and it ain't broke.
The inca, aztec, maya and the rest of them, built huge cities, they had central government, they spanned empires. Ancient/Cultural languages for me are more a way to reach into that time and that culture, sort of like walking through Pompeii. What did the Aboriginies do that would make me go "...Wow"? And as far as their languages are concerned in and of themselves, I just don't care for them based on the sounds.
Prove me wrong, then call me racist. Until then it's history.
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Re: Native American Languages

Postby j0nas » 2008-12-09, 10:37

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Re: Native American Languages

Postby ''' » 2008-12-09, 10:50

Care to rebutt?
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Re: Native American Languages

Postby peterlin » 2008-12-09, 13:12

''' wrote:a lot of "Racism" is truthful.


I'd rather say there's a kernel of truth in many stereotypes. Like in that one which says non-Aboriginal Australians, on average, have nothing but contempt for Aboriginal culture, even though they don't know a thing about it. Or the one about angsty and unsure-of-themselves teenagers posing as arrogant know-it-alls on the internet.

I mean they didn't do anything I find interesting.


Fine. You are free to have whatever tastes and distates you like, and to be willfully ignorant of things you don't feel like learning about. It's only it's better to realize that, when talking about your likes and prejudices, you are talking about yourself and not about the things you like/despise/are not interested in.

Other cutlures have history and change. Aboriginal lifestyles in a given area didn't change over time.


Oh really? You mean, like, the advent of the Europeans didn't have any impact on them whatsoever? You mean, like, they didn't trade with Macassarans (I'm most familiar with Yolngu people, hence the example)? You mean, like, they don't have a history? Like, no stories of the olden days to tell your grandchildren? C'mon, stop being silly. Nothing ever remains the same.

Yes, we (I) know very little of the history of the pre-European contact Australia, because, it wasn't written, but mainly because, and don't hold your breath now, many generations of the people who inherited and transmitted the history and the traditions were persecuted (sometimes to the point of extermination) by White Australians. The cultural transmission was purposedly broken in many communities before their histories had the chance to be recorded. At the very best, the Aborigines and their culture were ignored for a long time, because - you guessed - many people didn't find them interesting enough to care.

Anyway, what I know is that the linguistic situation in Australia suggests a long and complex history of migrations and intermixing between the communities.

50,000 years and they never invented proper construction, writting and hence literature,


Equating "culture" with "material culture" and "literature" with "written literature" is quite naive, to use a charitable word.

Many Aboriginal communities, for what little I know, have developped a very, very complex system of kinship and other social relations. If you don't call this an aspect of cultural richness, then I guess we're using different dictionaries.

What did the Aboriginies do that would make me go "...Wow"?


I don't know. What makes you go "wow" in general? Pyramids? Chicks in bikinis? It's all about YOU, not THEM.

Myself, when I first heard of Damin, I was amazed. I still am. The people who came up with it (I think the consensus is Damin is an artifically created language) are geniuses in my books.

Prove me wrong, then call me racist. Until then it's history.


Isn't MFKR short for "Mate-Feed-Kill-Repeat"? If so, pray tell, is it not a dismissive and derogatory term? If so, how is describing a culture, any culture, in blanket dismissive and derogatory terms, different from being "racist"? One doesn't exactly need to "prove you wrong" to see that the picture you're showing us has racist frames.

Again, there's absolutely nothing wrong in not taking an interest in Aboriginal, Polish, French, or any other culture. But there's a fundamental difference between saying "I'm simply not interested in it. It doesn't float my boat" and "Oh, c'mon, can't you see it's really worthless? They're little more than animals, anyway. MFKR for 50,000 years" (which is what you've effectively said).

And that difference, my "friend", is what makes your statements here morally wrong and repulsive in my eyes.

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Re: Native American Languages

Postby ''' » 2008-12-09, 15:38

I'm going to reply in dot points because..well it's a long post.

[edit] When you come to long paragraphs with seemingly no point just skip them. I'm tired as all hell but wanted to write a reply before this turns into some flame war. the essencials are contained in the beginning and end.

- Non-Aboriginal locals (I'm not aussie, only a citizen) often have contempt for modern aboriginal society, since there are many drunkard aboriginies (they didn't develop they enzyme the whites did to break down alcohol as effectively) who do horrible things, and they are far more prevalent in the news and media than those who do not. pre-colonisation Aboriginal history which is compulsory education in NSW since primary school is held neither in contempt or high esteem. It just is.

- I'm not posing as arrogant, I am arrogant, consequently I'm not unsure of myself nor am I angsty, but I don't pretend to know it all. I do however take offence to beign called a racist since in my eyes comments can only be racist if intended to be prejudicial or...racist. Mine was not, it was a matter of oppinion stating that Aboriginal culture because of its style does not grip me. Your oppinion on my comments is your oppinion, as mine is mine, it is not however, a universal consensus and so does not give you the right to unilatterally declare it racist.

- Noooo, I'm talking about Aboriginal culture. I'm pretty sure I mentioned it specifically. Me not being enthused about said culture is PARTIALLY about my preferences, and PARTIALLY about how that culture fares with respect to them.

- This one I liked:
Oh really? You mean, like, the advent of the Europeans didn't have any impact on them whatsoever? You mean, like, they didn't trade with Macassarans (I'm most familiar with Yolngu people, hence the example)? You mean, like, they don't have a history? Like, no stories of the olden days to tell your grandchildren? C'mon, stop being silly. Nothing ever remains the same.

No, they had stories as we both know, but I think it's pretty obvious that I'm talking exclusively about pre-colonisation, just as when most people say "Aztec culture" they will likely mean strictly pre-colonised culture. Stories they had, but they passed them down generation to generation to generation. Their creation myths are ancient, like ANCIENT, so little change there. The Aboriginal people who came to the schools were proud of how far back their cultural identity and stories stretch. THIS is why I said they didn't change. Because their legends have continued relatively unchanged, as have their customs and traditions, for millenia.

- Yes you are entirely correct about the kinship relationships. (yay yr9 geography) And I'll be honest I was impressed at that, the system which determines your category based on your parents' categories and hence determines the category of your future partner. Cunning system to avoid inbreeding, but immaterial and I think now is the time to make a very important clarification. I noticed you made a rather angry comment
Yes, we (I) know very little of the history of the pre-European contact Australia, ...t mainly because, ... many generations of the people who inherited and transmitted the history and the traditions were persecuted (sometimes to the point of extermination) by White Australians. The cultural transmission was purposedly broken in many communities before their histories had the chance to be recorded. At the very best, the Aborigines and their culture were ignored for a long time, because - you guessed - many people didn't find them interesting enough to care.
(my bold)

This bit gets confusing, I'm sorry, I'll try and edit later

I'm not saying at ALL that they aren't interesting, but I don't find them to be. I believe very much that their history and culture and languages should be recorded, just not by me. You seem to be of the oppinion (or so it sounds) that I am the aussie equivalent of a Redneck, who doesn't care about the fate of the Aborigines. I do, and I respect their cutlure, it just doesn't fascinate me.
- For the record, in case it comes up, I did support the Apology -
On the topic of Immateriality, we're talking about Ancient civilisations here. Latin America is littered with Cities and Pyramids, Egypt too, Rome has ruines all over Europe and the Greeks have preserved a lot of their buildings. The written literature of these cultures exists to this day. It's something to connect with. Even if they die out (and actually, those ones did) they have left their mark on earth. I'm a science man at heart, so clearly I respect technology, thought, ideas. The Aborigines settled Oz some 50,000 years ago. WAY before the end of the last Ice age, their level of technology for the time was average except that they showed ingenuity in building watercraft with which they could make it to Australia. Other cultures and peoples made technological breakthroughs. Agriculture, Iron working, construction, the list goes on. They developed vast empires and unified tribes. Now, I'm not at all saying that the Aboriginies' failure to do the same makes them a lesser people. As Aesop said, necessity is the mother of invention, and in fact for a long period in human history outside of Oz there was a technological halt since there was no need. I'm certain that had the Aboriginies faced hardships the likes of those the Europeans faced, and had the same materials at hand, they would have advanced technologically as well, however, they did not.
Looking from the point of view of a sociologist, I'm sure the Aboriginies represent a veritable gold mine of wealth, but even empires which I salivate over (Egypt being the first) when it comes to the actual day-to-day culture of the people, I don't care. I couldn't tell you what your average Roman Greek or Egyptian peasant did on a wednesday, what I CAN tell you is who was elected to office and how, who was assassinated, how they ran the empire, military conquests, great thinkers and leaders.
Aboriginies as far as I know (I may be wrong) never really developed philosophy, natural phenomina were explained by their myths, moral lessons passed on via stories, but were there any great thinkers? any heroes? Well, ok, speaking the names of the dead is banned so I'll admit there may have been but we don't know.

I understand I've gone way off topic here, but the point I'm poorly trying to make (and it's 2am) is that Aboriginal culture does not tell us of any great thinkers or individuals, they made no technological, philosophical breakthroughs, they didn't unify into greater and greater groups, they never broke out of being hunter-gatherer nomadic tribes. For want of a better explanation, I don't see how their societies differed in the 1600's from N-thousand BC. There is nothign wrong with this of course. Merely prevailing for 50,000 years is in and of itself a great achievement*

To the crux of the matter:
Isn't MFKR short for "Mate-Feed-Kill-Repeat"? If so, pray tell, is it not a dismissive and derogatory term? If so, how is describing a culture, any culture, in blanket dismissive and derogatory terms, different from being "racist"? One doesn't exactly need to "prove you wrong" to see that the picture you're showing us has racist frames.

Yes, it is MAte Feed Kill Repeat, as Slipknot stated the term was meant to reffer to the basic cycle of life. In this regard it wasn't meant to be derogatory at all, but yes it was dismissive. I'm not being racist, in that I'm not saying Aboriginal culture is lesser than my own, or that it isn't somethign to be proud of. The heritage is rich in stories and tradition, and they have prevailed in Australia for tens of millenia. However, it does not have any of the features of a culture which make it interesting to me.
Again, there's absolutely nothing wrong in not taking an interest in Aboriginal, Polish, French, or any other culture. But there's a fundamental difference between saying "I'm simply not interested in it. It doesn't float my boat" and "Oh, c'mon, can't you see it's really worthless? They're little more than animals, anyway. MFKR for 50,000 years" (which is what you've effectively said).

No, what I effectively said was "It's boring, they did the same thing over and over for millenia" by which I stand. If you can show me cultural evolution in Aboriginal society, it'll be news to me and I'll have to admit I was wrong, but otherwise, I don't find it interesting to read about such groups (and there are many) I mean even the schools only ever assessed post colonised aboriginal history. If you're going to say that because I said it was "boring" I was racist, ask yourself if you've ever called something boring without adding "... in my oppinion".

So yes, I was dismissive, but I respect their culture, I never said they were worthless or animalistic or even primitive, what I DID say is that they did NOT evolve much culturally, nor did they ever come to the same breakthroughs and innovations that many of what we concider "great civilisations" did. If I'm wrong there, correct me, but otherwise I don't see how pointing this out, and not being interested in societies like this is racist. Racism is me saying that BECUASE they never developed mechanisms or farming or settled down, they're nothing but primitive spear-chukkas. We all know this simply isn't the case and you'll be hard pressed to find someone on an intellectual forum such as this one who would think otherwise.

*Speaking of which, why is Damin so great? I saw the wiki some months ago, but didn't see much there, nor did I find other resources on it, so please enlighten me, all I know is it was an artificial language (yes I think that is the concensus I read) which is the only one to use a click-consinant outside of Africa which was used as a ritualistic second language after a man was innitiated
26/♂/hetero/Hu/★☭/PRESCRIPTIVIST
(en)(hu) - native
(de)(fr)(fa) - intermediate


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