- Actes du trente-deuxième Congrès des Algonquinistes ed. by John D. Nichols
The Algonquian Conferences are well known among linguists, anthropologists, and students of Native American cultures as an outstanding series in terms of longevity and variety of approach, and no less by the high quality of the papers themselves. Essays of particular interest to linguists in this volume include several language-specific studies: In ‘Contraction in Fox (Meskwaki)’ (164–230), Ives Goddard provides an exhaustive survey of vowel contraction in Fox and other Algonquian languages, arguing that the phenomenon has been misunderstood as a recent innovation but must instead date as far back as proto-Algonquian; ‘The Mi’kmaq future: An analysis’ (249–57), by Stephanie Inglis and Eleanor Johnson, reads Mi’kmaq tense endings in terms of Mi’kmaq’s system of evidentials; and in ‘A preliminary survey of animacy categories in Penobscot’ (395–426), Conor Quinn draws out a list of semantic properties that complicate the received view that the animacy (gender) category is based on a living vs. nonliving distinction with items not falling neatly in the distinction being simply added to the lexicon.
One particularly strong cluster of essays deals with referential strategies in Algonquian languages. ‘Text strategies in Métchif’ (455–69) by Richard A. Rhodes, ‘Point of view, reported speech, and obviation in two Fox texts’ (493–515) by E. Lee Skjon, and ‘Obviation, coreference and relational verb forms in East Cree’ (258–68) by Marie-Odile Junker and Louise Blacksmith all look closely at the complex mechanisms available in Algonquian languages for providing cross-references, especially in [End Page 814] narratives and reported speech. The last essay is presented in East Cree syllabic orthography as well as English, a first for linguistic essays even in this conference series, and includes the authors’ fascinating proposals for Cree equivalents of English grammatical terms. The volume includes two strong essays on syntax: ‘Constraints on dependencies in Passama-quoddy’ (35–60) by Benjamin Bruening offers several ingenious reasons for believing that a movement-like phenomenon occurs in some environments in that language; and in ‘The syntax of emphatic ani in Eastern Swampy Cree and in Plains Cree’ (427–54), Charlotte Reinholtz and H. C. Wolfart argue that the particle mentioned in the title falls into a class of postpositional adverbs called focusing particles in other languages that are realized in syntactic structure in [Spec, FocusP], a structural focus position above IP (451).
In addition to these, articles with relevance to language studies include ‘Symmetry preferences in Algonquian abstract designs’ by linguist and anthropologist J. Peter Denny (114–27), ‘The Algonquian-French manuscript ASSM 104 (1661)’ by George F. Aubin (1–16), and many other thoughtful anthropological and sociological studies in this excellent volume.