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Applying Linguistic Analysis to the Study of Ojibwe as a Heritage Language

Thursday, December 12, 2013
5:00 AM
3512 Haven Hall

with Brendan Fairbanks

Fairbanks received his Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Minnesota in 2009 and holds an appointment as Assistant Professor, teaching Anishinaabemowin and Native American courses at Minnesota. His current work examines the meaning & function of “discourse markers” in the Ojibwe language.

In this talk, I will be highlighting some of my Ojibwe research findings, and show why these findings are significant within the wider context of the language preservation and reclamation movement currently underway in Ojibwe country.  The research findings that I will highlight will include a discussion about the use of the Ojibwe mii particle, the use of some Ojibwe discourse markers, and the use of the Ojibwe changed conjunct as instantiating completive aspect.

These findings are significant for two reasons.  First, they contribute new characterizations and analyses to our general descriptive knowledge of Algonquian linguistics.  Such descriptive analyses may lend themselves to more theoretical or typological expositions.  Second, they allow L2 heritage language learners who are endeavoring to acquire native-like language ability to understand, use, and apply newly gained grammatical concepts into their own Ojibwe language.  In this way, my role as an Ojibwe linguist is not only to do research on the Ojibwe language, but also to make my research and the research of others available to Ojibwe language heritage learners in a way that is both digestible and understandable.