19th Century Missionary Linguistic Documentation of Ojibwe (Red Lake & Leech Lake, MN)
This paper presents a preliminary report on a large cache of language documentation pertaining to Ojibwe (Algonquian), which was originally produced by the Oberlin-affiliated missionary Sela Goodrich Wright (1816-1906) just before the turn of the 20th century. Now publicly available on the Digital Collections website of the Oberlin College Archives (http://www.oberlin.edu/library/digital/sela/index.html), this collection should be of great interest to a wide variety of communities, including Ojibwe language specialists (heritage language speakers and language advocates as well as academics); Algonquianists and other scholars interested in the comparative and historical linguistics of Native American languages; and those interested in 19th century missionary linguistics and "pre-modern" language documentation much more broadly. This report provides background information on Oberlin College and S. G. Wright; describes the contents of the language-related materials in the Wright collection, including (i) a description of Wright‘s lexical collection (based on John Wesley Powell‘s "Schedules" for elicitation and documentation of Native American languages) and (ii) a near-final grammatical sketch of the Ojibwe language which was written by Wright ("Some Characteristics of the Ojibway Language"). I also describe the pedagogical uses of Wright‘s linguistic documentation for current students at Oberlin College.
Haugen, Jason D. 2011. 19th Century Missionary Linguistic Documentation of Ojibwe (Red Lake & Leech Lake, MN): Linguistic Materials from the Sela G. Wright Collection in the Oberlin College Archives. Proceedings of the 7th Conference on Endangered Languages and Cultures of Native America (CELCNA 7). Center of American Indian Languages, University of Utah.
Linguistic materials from the Sela G. Wright Collection in the Oberlin College Archives.
Ojibwe language, Sela Goodrich Wright, Linguistics