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Principes de la langue algonquine


DomaineTraditions non-occidentales
SecteurGrammaires amérindiennes [4639]


Datation: fl. 1660

The work is anonymous. It is not unlikely that the author was one of the predecessors listed in the prologue of Nicolas’ grammar. Nicolas mentions the following fathers who wrote papers and note-books on the Algonquian language: Quain, Buteux, Gabriel Drouilletes, Albanel, Aloës, Henry Nouvel, Claude d’Ablon, Jacques Frémin, Julien Garnié, Pierre Bailloquet. To date, the author of this anonymous grammatical sketch has not been identified.

Titre de l'ouvragePrincipes de la langue algonquine
Titre traduitPrinciples of the Algonquin language
Titre courtPrincipes de la langue algonquine
Remarques sur le titre
Période|17e s.|
Type de l'ouvrageManuscript
Type indexéGrammaire descriptive | Grammaire didactique | Grammaire élémentaire
Édition originaleca 1662
Édition utiliséeHanzeli (1969)
VolumétrieThe grammatical compendium Principes de la langue algonquine is included between the letters “L” and “M” of a French-Algonquin dictionary, which contains 338 pages, 12˝ X 8˝, hold at the Archives Indiennes, Notre-Dame de Montréal, in the edition of Hanzeli (1969, p. 126), numbered as Manuscript 12.
Nombre de signes12500
Reproduction moderneTranscription and edition by Hanzeli (1969, Appendix A, p. 103-116).
Langues ciblesAlgonquin/Ojibwa (endonym, which is also used as ethnonym: Omàmiwininìmowin), also called Ojibwa (Black 2016), Algonquian family, also called Algic family (Mithun 1999), Central branch, Middle Tier.
MétalangueFrench, and Latin is used in several places (verb possum, habeo).
Langue des exemplesAlgonquin/Ojibwa
Sommaire de l'ouvrageLettres: a, b, d, e, g, h, I, k, l ou r, m, n, ȣ, p. s. t. (no rules given regarding pronunciation); des noms, les verbes algonquins (paragraph devoted to the modes, tenses, number and person; three subjunctives are given: l’affirmatif, le douteux and “le formé”; no clear definition is given); verbes de suite, nobles, ignobles. In addition, the anonymous author gives tenses which are lacking in Algonquin (in the sense that they are marked by morphological endings), but particles are used instead; “articles des personnes”, “lettres figuratives”. Paradigms are given for the verbs ending in -ha, l’ignoble ending in -ton, verbs ending in -rintan, -antan, -sa, hȣa, -taȣa. Verbes nobles ending in -ra, verbes negatives; “remarques generales pour expliquer plusieurs choses communes”. This paragraphs gathers mostly particles, with a bi-directional approach; i.e. translating Algonquin particles into French, such as nita, to be translated with French ‘pouvoir’, ȣ corresponding with French ‘avoir’, the particle tȣk which has the meaning of ‘peut-être’ (perhaps), but also translating so-called French particles, such as ‘on’, ‘cela est’, ‘un peu’, ‘dedans’, into Algonquin. In other cases, French verbs are selected, such as ‘faire’, ‘vouloir’, the latter corresponding with Algonquion particle ȣich. This paragraph is followed by a section entitled “le verbe seul en -i", including paradigms with conjugated forms (moods and tenses); verbe actif ignoble and verbe actif noble with different ‘figurative’ letters; The final part, is almost exclusively devoted to paradigms, where several combinations of argument indexes are described, such as “je-le”, “il-te”, “il-nous”, “tu me”. Two of them are labelled as such (“le verbe tu-me” and “le verbe je-te”. The pronouns “moy, toy, luy, vous et nous, vous autres, eux” are given as well (here the plural inclusive and exclusive are both given). The final section is a French-Algonquin paradigm, the verb ‘tomber’ (to fall). The grammar seems to end abruptly, so it is likely that it is an unfinished grammatical sketch.
Objectif de l'auteurNo prologue is given. The work seems not to be written with the purpose to have it published. The manuscript is more like a sketch, a notebook for individual use.
Intérêt généralAccording to Hanzeli (1969, p. 84), this manuscript “appears to be the earliest organized grammar sketch of Ojibwa-Algonquin which attempts to cover all essentials of the morphology”. Although the date of the manuscript is estimated ca 1662, the Ms 1661 seems to be earlier than the one described here. Both manuscripts are related, although the relationship is not a direct one (Aubin 1997, p. 4). It is significant that Ms ca 1662 is three times longer, with more paradigms of conjugated forms, missing in the 1661 version (in particular the final part of ca 1662 with the verbal paradigms). The ca 1662 versions seems more coherent than the 1661 version. As Aubin (1997, p. 4-5) demonstrates, the shorter 1661 version also contains elements that are not included in the ca 1662 version.
Parties du discoursThe anonymous author(s) do(es) not sum up the parts of speech as a whole. The text is unfinished, but concentrates primarily on nouns, verbs, and particles. The pronouns are dealt with after the verbal paradigms, but only the forms corresponding with “moy, toy, luy”, etc. There are no separate paradigms devoted to subject or object argument indexes, corresponding to French personal pronouns, since they appear directly in the verbal paradigms. The anonymous forms, corresponding with French possessive pronouns (“exemples pour coniuger les noms quand ils sont ioinds aux articles des personnes… Nipirem ‘c’est ma perdrix’…”).
Innovations term.Most terms used in the 1661 version also occur in Ms ca 1662; except for the term ‘mœfs’. The definition of ‘noble’ is different: “nobles, qui sont des choses vivantes ou en estime […] ignobles qui sont des choses inanimez…”), whereas in Ms 1661 has: “Les noms nobles sont des choses animez ou considerables”.
Corpus illustratifAlgonquin/Ojibwa
Indications compl.
Influence subieIt is obvious that the two manuscripts (1661 and ca 1662) are related. If the ca 1662 were indeed written afterwards, the Ms could have been the direct source of inspiration. In that case, the anonymous author used the 1661 version freely, adding and deleting sections. Another possibility is that this manuscript (or maybe both versions) is/are derived from previous notebooks, which have been lost.
Influence exercéeIn the grammar of Nicolas, we find some terms which also occur in the anonymous grammars (in the 1661 Ms, or in the Ms ca 1662, or in both). It is obvious that the three sources belong to the same tradition. This is evident in the cases where the dichotomy between ‘noble’ vs ‘ignoble’ is described and the “lettres figuratives”. It is not clear if Nicolas followed one of the anonymous sources directly, or if the three grammars (1661, ca 1662 and Nicolas’s grammar) were inspired by another source, which has since been lost.
Renvois bibliographiques→ Références
Anonyme 1661; Anonyme 1662 {ca 1662}; Aubin G. F. 1997; Black M. J. 2018; Daviault D. (éd.) 1994; Hanzeli V. E. 1969; Mithun M. 1999

Case, Justin · Zwartjes, Otto

Création ou mise à jour2020-01