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Hey, I think it's pretty cool as a language, and I never had realized that
the language might have started off as a conlang, but that seems to be the
most logical explanation I've ever heard, unlike the one native speaker I've
met, who gave a presentation on Michif during First Nation week or whatever
it was called in High School. He seemed to think something like they got
thier verbs from thier Cree father, and nouns from thier French mother, but
that doesn't make much sense, and he didn't seem to know much about the
language either, at least beyond being able to speak it, and he had no time
to give further thought to the question "if Michif takes nouns from French
and verbs from Cree, where did it's determiners and articles/demonstratives
go." I believe that I asked him about the preverbs too, to which he had no
real answer :(

Anyhow, are there other language like Michig out there, I've only ever heard
of it, and it's listed in 1000 languages as a mixed language, to support
that analysis.

I think it stops being a pure conlang, and begins it's (long we all hope)
life as a natlang when it becomes someone's L1.

PS. where are you gathering data from, just out of curiosity since I'm from
Manitoba.

On Thu, Jun 10, 2010 at 2:55 AM, Dale McCreery <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> This summer I'm finishing up documenting and learning Michif, a language
> spoken by mostly a lot of older Metis from central/western Canada and
> North Dakota.  The language is unique in that it uses almost exclusively
> French nouns and Cree verbs.  French nouns largely maintain French NP
> structure, gender, articles, etc., while Cree verbs maintain all the
> inherent complexity of Cree (including marking for an inanimate/animate
> gender giving every noun 2 distinct genders!).
>
> Basically the only way this language could come in to being is for some
> kid some day from a bilingual French/Cree community to say "wouldn't it be
> cool if we started talking like this?" and then have their friends adopt
> the way of speaking.  Because the language was such a strong statement of
> identity, much of the larger Metis community adopted it and it took on a
> life of its own (I think this happened around 1780-1820).  To me, that
> means that this language is/was a conlang.
>
> So, a few questions for yous - at what point does a conlang cease to be a
> conlang and become an natlang? and - have any of you ever looked at SILs
> Dictionary Development Project resources as a tool for fleshing out a
> conlang? http://www.sil.org/computing/ddp/
>
> Dale
>
>
>
> Here's a few of the cool things this language does just for kicks:
>
> kipwaashkwaamow sa shmiizh ana la pchi gaarsoń
> you-button-up-it-for-him his shirt (of) that-one (animate determiner) the
> little boy
>
> notice how it uses French NPs, but not VP?  and of course having multiple
> dimensions of gender marked for...
>
> en ban zhornii anohch
> (it's) a nice day today
> miyo-kiishikaaw anohch
> (it's) nice-day-ing today
>
> and here's an example of how there's two ways of saying the same thing -
> both from the same language, but one using nouns (from French), and the
> other using a verb (from Cree).  Really expands on the way you can say
> things.
>
> soń nestomaa
> his stomach
>
> This means his stomach, but semantically it's meaning isn't drawn only
> from the French word - actually it also corresponds to the Cree noun watay
> - meaning the chest below the ribcage.  Many nouns have assumed the
> semantic meaning of the words they replaced, even though they've
> maintained their own NP structure, though I should add that many nouns
> have not changed meaning.
>
> Last for now - it has all kinds of words related to water travel - to go
> across the current, against the current, to drift across, against, with,
> to be blown over water by the wind, and many more - reflecting a culture
> that was built around canoes and navigable lakes.  Another semantic domain
> to add to your language...
>