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Michif language

From Academic Kids

Michif (also Mitchif, Mechif, Michif-Cree, Métif, Métchif) is the language of the Métis people of Canada, who are the descendants of Cree woman and (mostly French Canadian) fur trappers. Michif emerged over two hundred years ago as a mixed language (similar to a creole but noticeably different). The language solidified sometime between 1820 and 1840.

Michif combines Cree and Canadian French, with some additional borrowing from English and First Nation languages such as Ojibwe and Assiniboine. In general, Michif noun phrase phonology, lexicon, morphology, and syntax are derived from Canadian French, while verb phrase phonology, lexicon, morphology, and syntax are from a southern variety of Plains Cree. (Plains Cree is a western dialect of Cree.) Articles and adjectives are also Canadian French, but demonstratives are Plains Cree.

The Michif language is unusual among contact languages, in that, rather than choosing to simplify its grammar, it chose the most complex and demanding elements of the chief languages that went into it. French noun phrases retain lexical gender and adjective agreement; Cree verbs retain much of their polysynthetic structure. This suggests that, instead of haltingly using words from another's tongue, the people who devised Michif were fully fluent in both French and Cree.

Once widely spoken, the language is endangered with under 1,000 native speakers reported in 1997.

See also

External links

Template:Na-lang-stubde:Michif pl:Michif

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