From: Derek Irwin <dirwinlakeheadu.ca>
Subject: Creating Canadian English: A systemic functional linguistic analysis of First Nations loanwords in early Canadian texts
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Institution: York University, Toronto
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2008
Author: Derek Irwin
Dissertation Title: Creating Canadian English: A systemic functional linguistic analysis of First Nations loanwords in early Canadian texts
Ling & Literature
This dissertation presents the results of my exploration of the interactions among linguistic
strata through close lexicogrammatical analyses of Canadian aboriginal loanwords in the
context of early Canadian English texts, using the tool of systemic functional linguistics.
Based on the examination of hundreds of these contextual examples, I argue that the same
tension which existed (and exists) between English-speaking settlers and the Native population
is reflected in the appropriation of words from aboriginal languages: Essentially, these words
are simultaneously employed for an exoticism that borders on fantasy while also evoking the
fear of the wild so prevalent within interactions among the inhabitants of Canada. This tension
is evident at the level of the context of culture, and is also reflected in the use of these terms in
their lexicogrammatical contexts. Further, because these words are considered an essential part
of Canadian English and its distinctiveness, such connotational meaning embedded within them
provides a valuable insight into not only the words themselves but also the culture which
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