Title

MSL: Michif Sign Language-The Noun Phrases

Date of Award

8-1-2002

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Abstract

By focusing on the noun portion of the conventional Michif sentence, consisting of Cree verb phrases with the intertwining of French noun phrases, the objective of this research is to attempt to reveal some novel parallels in languages, as an initial step in the process of understanding more about the genesis of Michif and American Sign Language. In examining the separate and individual histories and applications of French Sign Language (FSL), American Sign Language (ASL), North American Indian Sign Language (NAISL), and the Amerindian Michif Language, certain commonalities and parallels are indeed present, even transcending the boundaries of diverse races, cultures, and modalities of transmission. Subsequently, one language’s perspective may be used in an effort to understand the genesis of another.

Having withstood negative attitudes, these languages have respectfully endured and have persisted in defining the affiliated members’ respective cultures and in depicting their self-identifying empowerment in a dominating society different from and unlike their own. Translating randomly selected Michif nouns to American Sign Language is perhaps, at best, an initial step in optimistically discovering both how and why the Michif language was derived from two separate and distinct language entities, with further research obviously required. A sociolinguistic perspective then allows the reader to examine how these particular languages and their parallels are capable of signifying and demonstrating a cultural self-identity, relative status, and perception of the world.

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