Language Variation & Change

May 20, 2022 | 3:30PM

May 20: Megan Lukaniec (University of Victoria)- ZOOM @ 3:30pm


Please join us for the last meeting of the quarter this Friday, May 20 at 3:30PM.  Dr. Megan Lukaniec (Huron-Wendat Nation / University of Victoria) will give us a talk about the representation of variation in a digital dictionary of Wendat.  Abstract and title are attached and also included below. A zoom link will be sent out on Friday. 


Title: Understanding and representing historical variation in a modern digital dictionary of Wendat 


Abstract: Although there is a growing discussion of modern Indigenous language lexicography and its particularities (Abbott 1998; Anderson 2020; Czaykowska-Higgins et al. 2014; Dyck & Kumar 2012; Frawley, Hill & Munro 2002; Garrett 2011; Kroskrity 2015), there remains many questions and issues to address, with one such issue “being how to represent (describe) different dialects or variations of a language in a dictionary without identifying a standard form (prescribe)” (Sear & Turin 2021: 246). While this is a concern for the modern Wendat (Iroquoian) dictionary, representing variation is a secondary task, since the greater challenge is understanding the variation itself. Since Wendat fell dormant during the second half of the 19th century and is now being reawakened in Wendake, Québec, we can only base our understandings of the language and its variation through interpreting the 17th and 18th century archival documentation and conducting comparative analyses with other Northern Iroquoian languages. Within the context of a SSHRC-funded lexicography project, Kwakwendahchondiahk ‘We are preparing our words’, I will discuss the complexities of deciphering variation in the Wendat archival record, teasing it apart from diachronic change, contact-induced change, and transcription errors, and representing it in a digital dictionary.