Relativization in Ojibwe


Relativization in Ojibwe

Michael D. Sullivan Sr.

392 pages
45 tables, 1 illustration, index


January 2020


$75.00 Add to Cart

February 2021


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eBook (PDF)
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January 2020


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eBook (EPUB)
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January 2020


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About the Book

In Relativization in Ojibwe, Michael D. Sullivan Sr. compares varieties of the Ojibwe language and establishes subdialect groupings for Southwestern Ojibwe, often referred to as Chippewa, of the Algonquian family. Drawing from a vast corpus of both primary and archived sources, he presents an overview of two strategies of relative clause formation and shows that relativization appears to be an exemplary parameter for grouping Ojibwe dialect and subdialect relationships.

Specifically, Sullivan targets the morphological composition of participial verbs in Algonquian parlance and categorizes the variation of their form across a number of communities. In addition to the discussion of participles and their role in relative clauses, he presents original research linking geographical distribution of participles, most likely a result of historic movements of the Ojibwe people to their present location in the northern midwestern region of North America.

Following previous dialect studies concerned primarily with varieties of Ojibwe spoken in Canada, Relativization in Ojibwe presents the first study of dialect variation for varieties spoken in the United States and along the border region of Ontario and Minnesota. Starting with a classic Algonquian linguistic tradition, Sullivan then recasts the data in a modern theoretical framework, using previous theories for Algonquian languages and familiar approaches such as feature checking and the split-CP hypothesis.

Author Bio

Michael D. Sullivan Sr. (Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe) is the school linguist at the Waadookodaading Ojibwe Language Immersion School. He previously served as the community language curator for the Ojibwe People’s Dictionary, among other publications.


“Breaking new ground with some of the world’s best tribal language speakers, Michael Sullivan has forged a powerful tool for revitalization of Ojibwe. The Ojibwe language is in motion. From linguists in the ivory tower to the staff of the immersion schools sprouting up across Ojibwe country, this is required reading.”—Anton Treuer, professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations and Tables
List of Abbreviations
1. A Basic Introduction to the Study
1.1. Purpose and Goals
1.2. Ojibwe Relative Clauses
1.2.1. What Is a Relative Clause?
1.2.2. Linguistic Preliminaries
1.2.3. Ojibwe RCs Core versus Relative Root Arguments
1.2.4. Variation in SW Ojibwe
1.3. Algonquian Dialectology
1.3.1. Ojibwe Dialects
1.3.2. Implications of Classifications
1.3.3. Southwestern Ojibwe
1.3.4. Literature Review: Dialect Studies Rhodes and Todd (1981) Valentine (1994) Nichols (2011, 2012)
1.4. Literature Review: Algonquian RCs
1.4.1. Rhodes (1996)
1.4.2. Johns (1982)
1.4.3. Johansson (2011)
1.4.4. Johansson (2013)
1.4.5. Lochbihler and Mathieu (2013)
1.5. Theoretical Preliminaries
1.5.1. Nonconfigurationality The Pronominal Argument Hypothesis (PAH)
1.5.2. The Mirror Principle and the Minimalist Program Feature Checking Independent versus Conjunct
1.5.3. Split-CP Hypothesis (Rizzi 1997)
1.6. Conclusion
1.6.1. Concluding Remarks
2. Ojibwe Morphosyntax
2.1. Typological Preliminaries
2.2. The Sound System
2.2.1. The Vowels
2.2.2. Consonant Inventory
2.3. Morphology
2.3.1. Nouns
2.3.2. Pronouns
2.3.3. Verbal Morphology Palatalization Nominalization
2.3.4. Preverbs
2.4. Inflectional Subsystems
2.4.1. Modes
2.5. Topicality Hierarchy
2.5.1. Obviation
2.6. Initial Change
2.6.1. Wh-questions
2.6.2. Participles
2.6.3. Past/Completive
2.7. Word Order and Clause Structure
2.7.1. The Noun Phrase
2.7.2. Basic Constituency Order
2.7.3. The Left Periphery Focus Topic
3. Methodology
3.1. Survey Apparatus
3.2. Archival Data
3.3. Findings
3.3.1. ji-/da- Complementizer, jibwaa/dabwaa
3.3.2. Preterit Peripheral Suffixes
3.3.3. Neutralization of Inanimate Plural in Conjunct
3.3.4. Number under Obviation
3.3.5. Restructuring of Dependent Stems
3.3.6. Core Demonstratives
3.3.7. Phonological Variation Nasal Behavior Initial /n/ Final Nasal in Negation Suffix -sii(n) Final Nasal /n/ Behavior Nasal Spreading Initial /g/ Vowel and Glide Quality Labialization and Rounding Vowel Height /i/ versus /a/ Articulation of Glides /y/ and /w/ Other Points of Variation Women’s Names -k(we) /t/ Epenthesis Syncope
3.3.8. Lexical Variation Body-Part-Incorporating Suffix -e -ngwaam(i) Verbs -aadage/-aadagaa Verbs
3.3.9. Animacy Status
3.3.10. TA -aw Stem Contraction
3.3.11. Initial Vowel Change
3.3.12. Iterative Suffix
3.3.13. Participles Southern Strategies Innovations gaa- Participles
3.4. Discussion
3.4.1. Geographic Variation Leech Lake as a Transitional Area Intelligibility
3.4.2. Age-Graded Variation
3.4.3. Free Variation
4. Relativization in Ojibwe
4.1. Ojibwe Relative Clauses
4.1.1. Findings: Core Argument versus Relative Root Arguments
4.1.2. Variation in Relativization Strategies
4.2. Theoretical Framework
4.2.1. Plain Conjunct Morphosyntax Brittain (2001)
4.2.2. Split-CP Hypothesis (Rizzi 1997) FinP as Host to Conjunct FocP Host to IC ForceP and RCs
4.2.3. Cyclicity and Phases (Bruening 2001)
4.3. Refining the Analysis
4.3.1. Feature Bundles
4.3.2. The Structure of the Ojibwe CP
4.3.3. Internally versus Externally Headed RCs
4.3.4. Concluding Remarks
5. Conclusions
5.1. Review
5.1.1. Implications of the Findings
5.2. Limitations
5.2.1. Obsolescence
5.2.2. Access
5.2.3. L2 Interference
5.3. Comparisons within the Algonquian Family
5.3.1. IC
5.3.2. Algonquian Participles PA Participles
5.4. Directions for Future Research
Appendix: VTA Paradigms

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