Oneida

amoeba

Oneida

Postby amoeba » 2006-09-09, 13:53

Does anyone know anything about this language? I'll be taking a course in it at my university, and this will be the first time I'm learning a language I know nothing about. I'm having trouble finding resources online, and it doesn't seem there is even a textbook to use.

Wikipedia:
Oneida is an Iroquoian language spoken primarily in the American states of New York and Wisconsin, and the Canadian province of Ontario. There are only an estimated 160 native speakers left, despite attempts to reinvigorate the language.
There are four oral vowels, /i e o a/, and two nasal vowels, /ũ/ (written <u>) and /ə̃/ (written <ʌ>). Vowel length is indicated with a following colon, <:>.

Curiously, Hungarian Wikipedia is the only other one with an explanation about this language. But I don't understand Hungarian, of course.
http://hu.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oneida_nyelv

What do you think of learning a language with 160 native speakers?

Nero

Postby Nero » 2006-09-09, 14:06

Good luck, amoeba! Finding texts/resources online for any northern native american language is hard - even searching up Navajo with it's 140,000 speakers barely gives me more resources than Oneida with 160.

What do you think of learning a language with 160 native speakers?


Ah, 160. I knew the northern Iroquoian languages were pretty bad (Cayuga has 40 speakers, Tuscarora has 7 or 8 ), but this one may still have some hope. Good to see you'll be taking it, one more speaker to the count maybe 8)

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Postby pastorant » 2006-09-09, 16:23

That's fantastic, amoeba!
I am just thrilled when others have interest in the beautiful ancient tongues of North America.

More info on Oneida is here:
http://www.oneida-nation.net/language/

Why are you tsking Oneida? Do you live near Wisconsin? Or is your major linguistics?

I have a degree in North American Languages, and I studied Mohawk for a while, so any info you need, I'll be glad to help.
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Postby Aleco » 2006-09-09, 19:00

Wow, interesting :D I didn't know there were so many lnguages over there :D we are often in the states and we're always in Wisconsin, 'cause that's the place where my family lives ;)
Exciting :D
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Postby darkina » 2006-09-09, 22:50

Never heard of that... :oops:
век живи, век учись, а дураком помрешь

Pleasures remain, so does the pain

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Postby Egein » 2006-09-09, 23:25

Woh! The word skunk nearly sounds like your name! [,@ni:'das] which sounds abit like [,@:mi:'ba].

It sounds nice actually! It seems to have a glottal stop and some kool h's. My favorite word is wolf [thahi:'on] (tahion ?).
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Re: Oneida

Postby CoBB » 2006-09-09, 23:39

amoeba wrote:Curiously, Hungarian Wikipedia is the only other one with an explanation about this language. But I don't understand Hungarian, of course.

There is a Russian, a German and a Catalan page too. The Hungarian one has no explanation apart from two example sentences:

Van egy orosz, egy német és egy katalán oldal is. A magyaron nincs magyarázat, csak két példamondat:

Dokaan bineshiish ganadawendagin odadagwanan jibimisech, jibanisgwesich amiiweni obimaadisowin, amii gaye anishnaabeg omaa wisgwansin, onadawendaanaawaa odishigiishiwewiniwaa.

Ahogyan a madárnak szüksége van a szárnyaira, hogy repülhessen, szabad legyen és élni tudjon, úgy Wisconsin indián embereinek szüksége van az anyanyelvükre.

'Just as birds need their wings in order to be able to fly, be free and live, native people of Wisconsin need their mother tongue.'

Gego baabitoosiidaa ji waabang; giikino'amawaadaanig aabinoojiiyag nongom.

Ne várjunk a holnapra, még ma tanítsuk gyermekeinket.

'Let's not wait for tomorrow, but teach our children today already.'
Tanulni, tanulni, tanulni!

A pő, ha engemély, kimár / De mindegegy, ha vildagár... / ...mert engemély mindet bagul, / Mint vélgaban a bégahur!...

amoeba

Postby amoeba » 2006-09-10, 4:08

This language looks interesting from a typological point of view (being polysynthetic, it seems). I hope this course will teach the linguistic side, not the cultural side, although I strongly suspect that the latter will be emphasized. Not that I mind learning about Oneida or Iroquoian culture, but I'm more interested in the grammar.

Also, it's a language that was traditionally spoken around the area where I live, so it's interesting from a historical point of view. Very few people here can claim any knowledge of Aboriginal culture, let alone language.

pastorant, my major is linguistics. I'm taking Oneida because of the reasons I mentioned above, and also because I need a language component for my program. I'm always interested in new things.

amoeba

Postby amoeba » 2006-09-12, 2:48

I had my first Oneida class today. I have to say I'm pleased, and looking forward to continuing.
The professor is a native speaker of the language (one of the few), and he wrote our workbook himself. I got a rare grammar book and verb book to work with as well.
The professor says he doesn't know how to teach grammar, and it shows! He asked us to compose a 3-4 minute speech for next Monday, in Oneida, telling something about ourselves. It's sort of chaotic without any real grammar lesson (besides some sidenotes about subject pronouns), but I think it's my chance to work independently and show my skills in a way I can't do in a more structured class. I just hope most of the students come back next week - today we had only about 10.
As for the setting, it's ideal for language learning. There are less than a dozen of us, and we sit in a circle on some comfortable couches in a lounge. We have our own kitchen to make tea and coffee. It's very different from the huge lecture halls I'm used to.
Today we went over the orthography (15 letters based on the Latin alphabet), counting, some basic vocabulary (months, seasons, body parts), some greetings, and a thanksgiving blessing written by the professor. A very different experience than what I'm used to, but something very special. I think I'm very lucky to get to study this language, while it's still alive, with a native speaker. There's really no formal textbook on it, and there remains a lot of work to be done on the language, so in a way it feels like I'm a linguist doing field work. It's quite exciting.
So, I should get to studying...

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Postby Aleco » 2006-09-12, 5:20

Wow :D Good luck with your class - this will be exciting :wink:
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Postby Alcadras » 2006-09-12, 14:20

Wow, he's native? That's great. Tell me more about this language.

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Postby Nukalurk » 2006-09-12, 14:47

That's great! :D I envy you. :P

Das ist wunderbar! :D Ich beneide dich. :P

Nero

Postby Nero » 2006-09-12, 20:04

Amikeco wrote:That's great! :D I envy you. :P

Das ist wunderbar! :D Ich beneide dich. :P


Ich auch / Moi aussi / Yo también

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Postby Aleco » 2006-09-12, 20:15

Nero wrote:
Amikeco wrote:That's great! :D I envy you. :P

Das ist wunderbar! :D Ich beneide dich. :P


Ich auch / Moi aussi / Yo también


Yeah :D
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amoeba

Postby amoeba » 2006-09-17, 21:35

So I've been doing my linguistic analysis of Oneida for almost a week now, and I can say I feel comfortable with the general features of the language (polysynthesis, verbs, noun incorporation).

There are so many interesting things I can tell you about this language, but that will probably bore you to no end. Instead I'll write the first 5 sentences I've composed in this mysterious language.

1. Alex yúkyats = My name is Alex

2. tewáhsʌ tewakohsliyá:ku = I am 20 years old

3. wakhyatúhslayʌ kahyatuhsli: = I have a good book

4. kwʌnahnótha = I read

5. kwʌni:sáks = I look for words

For the sake of fun, let's examine what I needed to do to compose sentence #3, "I have a good book".

First of all, Oneida doesn't have adjectives. So I can't really say "I have a good book". It does, however, have adjectival verbs - in our case, the verb "to be good". Thus our composition will look something like this:

I have a book, (it) is a good book.

Let's stard with the first part, "I have a book".

The stem for the word book in Oneida is -hyatuh-, but this must be used with affixes to have any meaning.

Here is the construction I used:

wak + hyatuh + sl + a + yʌ

"wak" is the first person singular objective c-stem pronoun, esentially meaning "I".
"hyatuh" is the root for book which we already saw.
"sl" is the nominalizer for hyatuh; hyatuh cannot combine with a suffix unless this nominalizer is present
"a" is an epenthetic vowel to break the consonant sequence *sly
"yʌ" is the verbal form indicating possession.

Let's do the second part now, "(it) is a good book"

ka + hyatuh + sl + iyo

"ka" is the pronoun subclass that must be used with iyo.
"hyatuh" book (see above)
"sl" nominalizer (see above)
"iyo" is the adjectival verb meaning "to be good"

So now we have our two words:

(1) wak + hyatuh + sl + a + yʌ
(2) ka + hyatuh + sl + iyo

But we're not finished yet!

Now we have to apply the rules of stress. Stress in Oneida falls on the antepenultimate (next to final) syllable of a word, with a few exceptional conditions which will be encountered below. So, let's do it:

(1) wak + hyatuh + sl + á + yʌ
(2) ka + hyatuh + sl + íyo

We must make a revision. One of the special conditions for stress is that epenthetic vowels do not count in stress placement. So in (1), we should skip the epenthetic -a- and go to the previous syllable:

(1) wak + hyatúh + sl + a + yʌ

There's a problem with (2) as well. When a stressed vowel is followed by a consonant and then a vowel, the vowel becomes long, and its stress is transferred onto the following vowel:

(2) ka + hyatuh + sl + i:yó

: indicates a long vowel

So we have the right stress. Now we have to check the conditions for whispering. What is whispering? Oneida uses whispering in addition to the 'normal' voice. Essentially, some words, when appearing sentence-finally, will have some of its word-final phonemes articulated with a whisper. Consider the case of sentence-final word (2):

(2) ka + hyatuh + sl + i:yó

Due to rules I don't completely understand, the last two phonemes yó are pronounced with a whisper. We'll just take my textbook's word for that. Whispering is represented by underlining in the orthography:

ka + hyatuh + sl + i:

So our final result is:

wakhyatúhslayʌ kahyatuhsli:

:)

So as you can see, writing a sentence in a polysynthetic language is a very lengthy task for a language learner. It's amazing to realize that the native speakers quickly and subconsciously make these complex calculations in their mind.

It's rather different than "Ich habe ein gutes Buch"

:wink:

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Postby Egein » 2006-09-17, 21:44

But in the second part [kahyatuhsliyó], isn't there a way to replace the hyatuh by a pronoun, to avoid repetition?
I mean, let's say it could be "pa", so then you could say "wakhyatuhslayʌ kapasliyo" (if you understand what I mean).
Unless you really have to use the word because the logic of the language does not permit refering to a word by a simple pronoun?
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amoeba

Postby amoeba » 2006-09-17, 21:48

Egein wrote:But in the second part [kahyatuhsliyó], isn't there a way to replace the hyatuh by a pronoun, to avoid repetition?
I mean, let's say it could be "pa", so then you could say "wakhyatuhslayʌ kapasliyo" (if you understand what I mean).
Unless you really have to use the word because the logic of the language does not permit refering to a word by a simple pronoun?


I have the answer, but not the explanation. The answer is, you can't replace 'hyatuh' by a pronoun.

The explanation is there, and it's very theoretical and it would require me to have a very good knowledge of the grammar to answer it correctly. Now I can see some bricks but not the whole house. Hopefully in some weeks I can give you the answer. Sorry :(

amoeba

Postby amoeba » 2006-09-18, 4:08

I don't know if this is the right place to post this, and I don't want to start a brand new thread just about it, but...

Maybe there should be a separate forum for topics dealing with linguistics?

Another question: Would anyone be interested if I posted a few short Oneida lessons?

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Postby culúrien » 2006-09-18, 4:57

amoeba wrote:I don't know if this is the right place to post this, and I don't want to start a brand new thread just about it, but...

Maybe there should be a separate forum for topics dealing with linguistics?

Another question: Would anyone be interested if I posted a few short Oneida lessons?


M'estimaria veure una lliçó o dues :)
I would love to see a lesson or two :)
استیسی

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Postby pastorant » 2006-09-18, 7:08

I would as well. I'm wondering how close Oneida is to Mohawk.

Wa'katerharate'! (That's Mohawk. Ask your professor if he can understand that.)
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ᏱᎦᏊ ᎣᏌᏂᏳ ᎠᏓᏅᏙ ᎠᏓᏙᎵᎩ ᏂᎪᎯᎸᎢ ᎾᏍᏋ ᎤᏠᏯᏍᏗ ᏂᎯ

yigaquu osaniyu adanvto adadoligi nigohilvi nasquv utloyasdi nihi

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