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Reviewed by:
  • Umatilla Dictionary
  • Paul D. Kroeber
Umatilla Dictionary. T heC onfederatedT ribes of theU matillaI ndianR eservationand N oelR ude. [Umatilla Indian Reservation]: The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation; Seattle: University of Washington Press. 2014. Pp. xii + 622. $50.00 (hardcover).

This very welcome and useful dictionary covers one of the southerly dialects of Sahaptin, belonging to a different dialect group from the Northern Sahaptin dialect represented in Beavert and Hargus’s work on Yakima (2009). The core of the dictionary is the Umatillato-English section (pp. 52–463); although the total number of entries in this section does not seem to be mentioned anywhere, I estimate, extrapolating from counts of some sample pages, that there are 5,800 or more. The English-to-Umatilla section is much shorter (pp. 465–616) and is effectively an index; it is the Umatilla entries that provide information on grammar and usage, as well as examples. In size and comprehensiveness, the present book is comparable to the Yakima dictionary, although unlike the latter, sound files are not provided.

An admittedly nitpicking criticism of the book’s title is that it does not identify Umatilla as a dialect of Sahaptin. While most likely readers will doubtless already be aware of Umatilla’s affiliation, including the word “Sahaptin” would have assisted Internet searches and the like.

While the Beavert and Hargus Yakima dictionary employed a practical orthography, the present work uses mostly standard Americanist phonetic symbols, although word-initial glottal stop is omitted (p. 50). In the alphabetization of lexical entries, the high central vowel ɨis ignored, except when word-initial, on the grounds that it “is epenthetic and its occurrence varies in the dialects and among individual speakers” (p. 50); this seems a reasonable policy, even though it could be confusing for some nonlinguist users. A similarly confusing point that seems not to be discussed in the introductory matter is that long vowels (indicated by gemination– aa, ii, uu) are alphabetized identically with short ones; for example, the entries c’íkc’ik‘wagon’, c’íikn‘scream, yell, holler; cry out’, c’íil‘circle, hoop’, c’íiln‘be a circle, be round’, and c’iluc’ílun‘turn every which way, glance around’ (pp. 84–85) appear in that order, with headwords whose first vowel is long iiintervening between ones whose first vowel is short i.

A compact but useful grammatical sketch (pp. 3–18) discusses both paradigms and allomorphy, as well as some syntactic information; an additional section provides tables displaying further grammatical paradigms (especially of kinship terms) and lists of grammatical forms (pp. 21–40). Twenty-one more tables, mostly on grammatical matters, appear at various points in the dictionary proper, typically on or near the page containing the first entry for an affix or grammatical form to which the table is relevant; thus, table 16, “Functions of Obviative á–,” and table 17, “Suffixes of the Past Tense” (p. 53), appear on the page facing the entry for the obviative prefix á– and on the same page as the entry for the past tense suffix –a. While all tables can readily be located through a list in the front matter (pp. vii—viii), it might have been preferable to collect them in the introduction, with the other grammatical information–especially since some tables in the dictionary proper duplicate information in the introduction and its tables. Cross-referencing between dictionary entries and relevant tables could occasionally have been improved as well–for instance, the entry for the progressive suffix –ša(p. 279) does not indicate that the past progressive form –šanacan be found in table 17, over two hundred [End Page 415]pages earlier, as well as in table 6 in the introduction (there is no dictionary entry for –šanaitself). A terminological glitch is the use of “imperfective aspect” for certain suffixes in the grammatical introduction (e.g., table 6 on p. 8), but “progressive aspect” for the same forms in their dictionary entries (e.g., the entry for –šaon p. 279, and the table on the same page).

Usefully, dictionary entries are provided not only for full words but also for grammatical...


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