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Technical Report on the Hopi Dictionary Project Kenneth C. Hill Introduction The Hopi Dictionary Project, headquartered at the University of Arizona, shortly expects to complete a comprehensive Hopi-English dictionary . The completed dictionary will have about 30,000 entries and will have some 8,000 entries in an English-to-Hopi finder list.1 The origin ofthe project, in principle, goes back more than twenty years: Emory Sekaquaptewa, now a senior Hopi and a faculty member at the University ofArizona, has had a dream of compiling such a dictionary as a vehicle for cultural preservation and language revitalization. Over the years he has managed to bring other people in to help him in his vision, including Mary Black, the editorial assistant, and me, the linguist for the project . The project has been helped immensely by the participation of Ekkehart Malotki of Northern Arizona University. He has worked on Hopi for many years, fostering a large amount of text publication and developing a large card file of Hopi lexicographical information that he contributed to the project. He has also been an on-going collector and verifier of materials for the dictionary. Hopi is a Uto-Aztecan language of northeastern Arizona with 5,000 to 10,000 speakers. There are three dialects of Hopi: First Mesa, 1TtIe project has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities (grant numbers RT-20713-86 and RT-21344), the Arizona Humanities Council, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and a number of corporate and private foundations and individual donors. Funding for the project began inJuly 1986. ____________Technical Report on the Hopi Dictionary Project_________157 Second Mesa,2 and Third Mesa. The dictionary focuses on Third Mesa Hopi. Hopi culture has received quite a lot ofattention from ethnographers , but the Hopi language has by comparison received little serious linguistic study. This has allowed the perpetuation of the myth fostered by the early work of Benjamin Lee Whorf to the effect that Hopi was a language without linguistic representation of temporal notions, a "timeless language" (Carroll 216). That this is untrue has been demonstrated by Malotki in his Hopi Time? Hopi is ofconsiderable comparative linguistic interest because of its apparent status as an independent branch within the Uto-Aztecan family, though recent work by Cortina-Borja and Valiñas (1989) suggests that Hopi belongs within an expanded version of the "Takic" group (which includes the Californian languages Cahuilla, Cupeño, Gabrielino , Luiseño, and, with Cortina-Borja and Valiñas's additions, Tübatulabal [also in California], and Hopi).4 The lexicography of Hopi Hopi offers few structural challenges to the lexicographer. Roots are mainly word-initial; items whose citation forms involve prefixes are 2There are two distinct phonetic varieties of Second Mesa Hopi. See n. 6. 3See Malotki. I have been told by Alexis Manaster Ramer (personal communication ) that Whorf himself, somewhere in his later unpublished notes, admits that Hopi is no more "timeless" than is English: in the very narrow meaning of "timeIessness " that Whorf had had when he was making that claim for Hopi, English too would be "timeless," i.e., not encoding direcdy the notion of "time" as understood by physicists of the period. I speculate that Whorf may have been put on this false track by the fact that the Hopi verb system is an aspectual one, with heavy investment in the perfective /imperfective contrast. But unlike the similar verb systems found in Slavic languages, e.g., Russian, the Hopi system leaves past as the unmarked category, instead marking future obligatorily. Thus, in Hopi an unmarked perfective verb is necessarily construed as past, while the unmarked imperfective is understandable as past or present, depending on context; in Slavic, an unmarked perfective verb is future and an unmarked imperfective verb is either present or future, depending on context. Both perfective and imperfective verbs in Slavic are marked for past tense. 4As a long-time student of this group, I cannot but agree: impressionistically, Hopi strikes the Takicist as familiar ground, in contrast with, e.g., the Numic languages , the Sonoran languages, or Cora/Huichol. 158Kenneth C. Hill relatively few.5 Pronominal inflectional prefixes must be included in the citation of a certain...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 156-179
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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