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Mi'kmaw Grammar of Father Pacifique

Bernie Francis John Hewson

288 pages
Nimbus Publishing

First published (1939), as Leçons grammaticales théoriques et pratiques de la langue micmaque of Rev. Father Pacifique Buisson, The Mi'kmaw Grammar of Father Pacifique is a vast and important collection of information on the Mi'kmaw language. It represents a tradition of Mi'kmaw grammatical studies by missionary priests that spans more than 200 years, from the days of abbé Pierre Maillard (ca. 1710-1762), to Father Pacifique, who, although he intended his grammar to be a guide to other priests who wanted to learn Mi'kmaw, seems to have been the last priest to speak the language fluently.

The purpose of updating the orthography is, of course, to give the reader who does not know the language exact information on the pronunciation of each Mi'kmaw word. This was not an important goal for Pacifique, since he recommends, in the original, that the pronunciation should be obtained from a native speaker. Now that the language has been lost from many communities so that native speakers are not as available as they once were, it has become crucially important to use the new, exact, orthography, so that the written word can be used to convey as much information as possible on the accepted pronunciations.