A vivid commentary on Jewish survival and Jewish speech communities that will be enjoyed by the general reader, and is essential reading for students and researchers interested in the study of Middle Eastern languages, Jewish studies, and sociolinguistics.
Oneida is an endangered language of the Iroquoian family of northeastern North America. Among its more notable structural features are: its relatively small phonemic inventory lacking in labials; its use of whispered syllables; the complexity of the verbal morphology; the dominance of verbal structures over nominal ones; and the productive use of noun incorporation. The current work is based on two and a half decades of field work in the Wisconsin community of Oneidas where there are now fewer than a couple dozen native speakers remaining. Other communities exist in Ontario and New York state where the language is similarly endangered. Despite the endangered status there is an oral literature, primarily in the rich ceremonial tradition. The community actively invests in language revitalization efforts and there is limited literacy in an orthography not more than a few decades old.