User:Fverdon1/Language selection

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I am planning on working with Henry Nguyen on Western Abenaki

Possible Languages

-ISO 639-3 csw
-ISO 639-3 abe
-ISO 639-3 fry

Swampy Cree

Swampy Cree is an Algonquian language spoken in small communities throughout northern Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario along the Hudson bay. There are approximately 2,500 speakers according to Ethnologue, with a Threatened status. Most speakers also speak English.

Swampy Cree is a member of the 'West Cree' dialect group, and is known as the n-dialect due to its use of the n phoneme in place of other variable phonemes indicative of other dialects. It is a polysynthetic language with plenty of inflectional morphology. It distinguishes grammatical gender on the basis of animacy. It seems to not employ adjectives and uses verbs instead, as in "he strongs" in place of "he is strong."

The language is written in Cree Syllabics, a writing system developed by James Evans, a missionary, in the 1830s. However, the language can also has a second orthography using the Latin alphabet. There seems to be a good amount of text out there using both orthographies, although most of it is Biblical in nature. There are a few good dictionaries of Cree, purported to include grammar on Swampy Cree among other dialects. Mainly, any version of Spoken Cree (Levels I or II) by C. Douglas Ellis.


Ethnologue, Swampy Cree, Cree Syllabics

Western Abenaki

Western Abenaki is another Algonquian language spoken in northern New England and the surrounding area in Canada. It is part of the Algonquian language family. There are only 10-15 active speakers, but a fairly robust collection of scholarship regarding the language and people attempting to revitalize it. Presumably, due to its low speaking population, all speakers also speak English or French (if in Quebec).

Western Abenaki is a polysynthetic language with free word order. It has a highly complex inflectional system which has lead many philologists to call Western Abenaki (along with other Amerindian languages) "languages of verbs." This languages makes a similar distinction to Swampy Cree in terms of noun class, diving along animate/inanimate boundaries.

The language is written using the Latin script with the notable addition of the 8 symbol to represent an open-mid nasalized back vowel: /ɔ̃/. There seems to be a good collection of resources and texts written in and about this language. Many text samples seem to be in the form of transcribed stories. Gordon M. Day has written two volumes of a Western Abenaki/English dictionary, one for each translation direction.


Ethnologue, Abenaki language, Western Abenaki wesbite, Western Abenaki pronounciation guide

West Frisian

West Frisian, or simply Frisian, is a Germanic language spoken mainly in the northern Dutch province of Friesland. Its speaking population comprises under 900,000 individuals across the eponymous province and surrounding border towns. In Friesland, the language has become well established as a second official language, along with Dutch. Interestingly, the language is one of the closest extant approximations to Old English, and still contains much similarity with modern English.

Like English and other Germanic languages, West Frisian is analytic, even more so that its predecessor Old Frisian. It inflects for pluralization (single vs plural), verb tense and subject, and for diminution, among other cases. However, many of those forms are not purely inflectional as they can be formed with periphrastic constructions.

This language is written using the Latin alphabet. Due to its much larger speaking population (compared to the previous two options), finding text samples is much easier. For example, here is Genesis translated in West Frisian. Pieter Meijas Tiersma has written what seems like a very comprehensive Frisian dictionary: Frisian Reference Grammar. Bonus points because McCabe has a copy!


Frisian, West Frisian language, West Frisian grammar

  • Main thing: which of these languages are you able to find dictionaries/grammars for? (The rest are all very minor points.)
  • Swampy Cree and Western Abenaki are both Algonquian languages (not "Amerindian").
  • Links to other things on the wiki can be linked using double brackets, not single brackets, so like this: Henry.
  • Don't put commas between categories