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MoG Man & Society vol. 4             Order this book on-line

M. Fortescue, 1983
A comparative manual of affixes for the Unuit dialects of Greenland, Canada, and Alaska

The information gathered in the present work is aimed at use both by students of the Eskimo languages and by Inuit speakers wishing to comprehend and communicate more directly with speakers of dialects other than their own. Productive affixes for fourteen dialect areas from East Greenland to North Alaska are presented for the first time in one place and in common orthographical form. These morphological elements, often difficult to isolate and subject to continual innovation within individual dialects, represent one of the most problematic areas for mutual comprehension. Particular emphasis has been placed on divergences from Central West Greenlandic in three other cardinal dialects, namely Tarramiut for the eastern Canadian Arctic, Copper for the western Canadian Arctic (where the author carried out field work in the summer of 1980), and North Slope Inupiaq for Alaska. For each of these dialects comprehensive lists containing morphophonemic information and English glosses are arranged in parallel columns according to twenty-six easily comparable semantic groups. Divergences from the main lists for the remaining ten dialects are presented in alphabetical lists. The introductory sections describe the phonological correspondences between the dialects (plus important grammatical differences) and explain how the book can be used in practical terms. To this end a translation into West Greenlandic is included. Linguistic isogloss maps and examples of usage of affixes with no direct equivalent in West Greenlandic are supplied, as is a short sample text for each dialect treated (with English glosses). Further, there is included an overview of the various orthographic systems to be encountered for material in Canada and Alaska, an essay on successive affix ordering, and, for the sake of camparison, a similarly organixed list of affixes for Central Alaskan Yupik.