The LINGUIST List is dedicated to providing information on language and language analysis, and to providing the discipline of linguistics with the infrastructure necessary to function in the digital world. LINGUIST is a free resource, run by linguistics students and faculty, and supported primarily by your donations. Please support LINGUIST List during the 2016 Fund Drive.
Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Subject:||Native American speech|
|Question:||Dear Ask A Linguist Panel, I work for a production company called Nutopia, and we’re making a television drama series about the Pilgrim Fathers’ voyage to the New World in 1620. Some of our Algonquian native American characters were able to speak a limited amount of English, and indeed one we think would have had a good grasp of the language having spent several years previous living and working in England. Our screenwriter is keen to find out how these people would have spoken, in terms of formulating expressions, word order, degree of fluency and so on. From what I’ve read, a lot of the communication that took place in these early years was through gestures and signs, but we know some of the Wampanoag did make an attempt to learn English. I wonder if you might happen have any advice on this? It may be something that very little is known or can be known about, since records for that time are so scarce, but perhaps an expert on a later period might be able to make suggestions at least about what to avoid. If you had any thoughts, I would be really grateful for your help. Kind regards, James Allnutt email@example.com|