LINGUIST List 7.1436

Mon Oct 14 1996

Sum: Bibliography for Native North American languages

Editor for this issue: Ljuba Veselinova <>


  1. Steven Schaufele, Sum: bibliography for Native North American languages survey

Message 1: Sum: bibliography for Native North American languages survey

Date: Sun, 13 Oct 1996 22:11:37 CDT
From: Steven Schaufele <>
Subject: Sum: bibliography for Native North American languages survey
Dear fellow linguists:

A few months ago i posted the following query:

>I'm trying to develop a survey course on languages native to the North
>American continent, and have so far had little luck finding any good
>text material to serve as background reading, etc. Does anybody out
>there have any good suggestions? I'll summarize for the list.

Summary is long overdue, and i can only plead the pressures of my
current employment situation, which leaves very little time for
scholarly activity. First of all, i would like to thank all the
people who responded. Many of these responses developed into at
least short dialogues, but i would now like to try to mention all
of them:

Peter Daniels <>
Julia S. Falk <>
Louanna Furbee <>
John E. Koontz <>
Monica Macaulay <>
Marianne Mithun <>
Robert L. Rankin <>
Rood, David S. <>
Shirley Silver <>
Michael B. Smith <>
Karl Teeter <>
Markell R. West <>

Please forgive me if i've left anybody out!

Although i've mentioned her in the above list, i must single out
for extra-special thanks Monica Macaulay, who very graciously
sent me a huge file of stuff from a class she has taught on this
subject from time to time -- nearly 9 pages of bibliography, plus
syllabi, etc.

In discussing my query with one respondent, i offered this
clarification on what i hoped to come up with, in the way of a
survey course for undergraduates:

>I think it can be done. Of course, it would have to be geared
>to fairly general interests. (In other words, not a seminar on
>`Polysynthesis in North America'!) What i have in mind is a
>general survey course, designed to (1) provide some general
>knowledge to those who are mildly interested in Native American
>culture, while correcting some stereotypes, misunderstandings,
>and popular fallacies, and (2) whet the appetites of people who
>might then want to go on and study Native American culture and
>(especially) languages in greater detail. A lot of technical
>stuff would have to be left out -- some of the courses i've been
>hearing about from people who have taught them involve students
>developing outlines of grammars of individual languages, working
>with native informants, etc.; that's a bit more sophisticated
>than what i have in mind -- but a lot of stuff could be included
>that would make the students aware of the range of linguistic
>expressions and grammatical phenomena attested in the native
>languages of this continent, as opposed to what we're used to in
>typical `Standard Average European' languages. As such, what i'm
>really talking about is something solidly within the general
>liberal-arts general-education goal.

And now, some of the leading resource materials recommended to me
by various people:

Campbell, Lyle. 1996? American Indian Language: the Historical
Linguistics of Native America. Oxford University Press.

Campbell, Lyle, & Marianne Mithun, eds. 1979. Languages of
Native America. University of Texas Press.

Handbook of North American Indians, vol. 17 -- due out sometime
in 1997, acc. to Marianne Mithun, is said to be devoted entirely
to language.

Hinton, Leanne. 1994. Flutes of Fire: Essays on California
Indian Languages. Berkeley, CA: Heyday Books.

Mithun, Marianne. 1997 (proj.) a book for the Cambridge
Language Survey series.

Sebeok, Thomas A., ed. 1973. Linguistics in North America, Part
III: Native Languages of North America (Current Trends in
Linguistics, vol. 10) The Hague: Mouton.

Silver, Shirley, & Wick R. Miller. 1997 (proj.) American Indian
Languages: Cultural and Social Contexts. University of Arizona

`There's a Native American encyclopedia coming from Scribners --
or it may already be out; it may have been related to the
1492/1992 events, in fact -- with a good series of articles on
American languages, with an overview by Mithun and chapters by
other specialists.' -- Peter Daniels

Many people recommended the Hinton book, even though it's
concerned only with California, as a very useful introduction to
Native-American linguis- tics. Apart from that, i very quickly
noticed that three of the most frequently-mentioned resources
aren't due from their respective publi- shers until sometime next
year, from which i concluded that maybe the 1997-98 school year
might be a better time to plan on teaching a course such as i've
got in mind. Maybe i should be grateful i'm not in a position to
do it right now??!

Again, thanks to all.

- -------------------
Dr. Steven Schaufele
712 West Washington
Urbana, IL 61801

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