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Vol. 38, no. 2 (Summer 1996)



Sapir's Classifications: Haida and the Other Na-Dene Languages Alexis Manaster Ramer 179
Dyadic and Polyadic Kin Terms in Gooniyandi William McGregor 216
An Integrated Vocabulary of Mobilian Jargon, a Native American Pidgin of the Mississippi Valley Emanuel J. Drechsel 248

Discussion and Debate

Historical Truths and Partisan Misrepresentations Stephen O. Murray 355

Book Reviews

Wittgenstein on Mind and Language (David G. Stern) David R. Cerbone 361
Language and Human Behavior (Derek Bickerton) Robbins Burling 363
Analytical Lexicon of Navajo (Robert W. Young and William Morgan, Sr., with the assistance of Sally Midgette) Sharon Hargus 366
Comanche Vocabulary: Trilingual Edition (Manuel García Rejón, compiler; Daniel J. Gelo, translator and editor) Jean O. Charney and Thomas W. Kavanagh 370
Âtalôhkâna nęsta tipâcimôwina: Cree Legends and Narratives from the West Coast of James Bay, Told by Simeon Scott et al. (C. Douglas Ellis) David J. Costa 373
Ergativity in Coast Tsimshian (Sm'algyax) (Jean Gail Mulder) John A. Dunn 376
Au pays des Innus: les gens de Sheshatshit (José Mailhot) Louis-Jacques Dorais 378
"So Wise Were Our Elders": Mythic Narratives from the Kamsá (John Holmes McDowell) E. Jean Langdon 380
Arabs and Arabic in the Lake Chad Region (Jonathan Owens, editor) Catherine Miller 383
Discrimination through Language in Africa? Perspectives on the Namibian Experience (Martin Pütz, editor) Carol M. Eastman 387
Language Attitudes in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Sociolinguistic Overview (Efurosibina Adegbija) William J. Samarin 389
The Ancestry of the Chinese Language (William S.-Y. Wang, editor) William G. Boltz 395
Language Change in Child and Adult Hebrew: A Psycholinguistic Perspective (Dorit Diskin Ravid) Eliezer Ben-Rafael 397
Spanish in Four Continents: Studies in Language Contact and Bilingualism (Carmen Silva-Corvalán, editor) Laura Martin 400
Improvisational Poetry from the Basque Country (Gorka Aulestia; Lisa Corcostegui and Linda White, translators) James Fernandez 403


Sapir's Classifications: Haida and the Other Na-Dene Languages

Alexis Manaster Ramer
Wayne State University

Abstract. Sapir's proposal, following earlier suggestions by Boas and Swanton, that Haida is related to Athabaskan and Tlingit is reexamined, as are the critiques of Sapir by Krauss, Levine, and Jacobsen, and the defense of Sapir by Greenberg. I argue that both sides in the debate have taken extreme positions which have not been logically justified and which have presupposed a false picture of the history and nature of linguistic classification and of Sapir's role in it. I conclude that the majority of the criticisms against Sapir are invalid, or else can easily be responded to, and that even by the critics' own criteria there is a rather impressive case for the validity of Sapir's construction. In addition, I call attention to significant amounts of data which have been ignored in the debate to date and which again seem to support Sapir's views. At the same time, unlike Greenberg, I identify a number of mistakes in Sapir's arguments and leave the case for Haida being Na-Dene, as did Sapir, at a preliminary stage, pending a careful examination of additional data, especially those in Sapir's manuscripts.

Dyadic and Polyadic Kin Terms in Gooniyandi

William McGregor
University of Melbourne

Abstract. Like many Australian Aboriginal languages, Gooniyandi (a non-Pama-Nyungan language of the Kimberley region of Western Australia) shows various morphological means for deriving dyadic and polyadic kin terms--where the former denote pairs of individuals in some kin relation to one another, the latter, groups of three or more individuals in such relationships. The notion of propositus is shown to be fundamental to an understanding of the meanings of these stem-forming morphemes and processes, and to the pragmatics of use of the derived kin terms. An attempt is made to characterize these meanings, and to compare and contrast them with the meanings of constructions involving conjunctions.

An Integrated Vocabulary of Mobilian Jargon, a Native American Pidgin of the Mississippi Valley

Emanuel J. Drechsel
University of Hawai`i at Manoa

Abstract. This vocabulary offers a substantial lexical inventory of Mobilian Jargon, a Muskogean-based pidgin of the lower Mississippi River valley, and includes some 1,250 entries plus comparative data of sources, drawn both from memory fieldwork with the pidgin's last speakers and from philological research. Allowing for idiosyncrasies of early spelling conventions, the historical evidence demonstrates not only remarkable consistency with modern recordings of Mobilian Jargon and with comparative data for related source languages, but also the feasibility of systematic philological reconstructions or reconstitutions by triangulation. The vocabulary shows considerable lexical richness with a diversity of semantic domains, confirming multiple usages and manifold social contexts for the pidgin, as indicated by historical and ethnographic data. Its lexicon further reveals substantial etymological variation, reflecting contributions from the speakers' diverse first languages, and lends support to a multilectal interpretation of Mobilian Jargon, including the lingua franca Creek of colonial Alabama and Georgia.

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