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[Virtual] Scholars@Hallwalls: Karin Michelson, “Weaving a grammar of the Onʌyoteʔa·ká· (Oneida) language”

March 26 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

In this talk, Michelson confronts an issue faced by anyone contemplating writing a comprehensive reference grammar of a language, especially of a language with a different “genius” from better known languages. Traditionally, grammars of languages spoken by the Haudenosaunee are exhaustive catalogues of grammatical structures, akin to describing beads in a necklace. Michelson’s approach to an Oneida grammar describes it as a richly textured woven fabric, with formal elements used for diverse functions. This conception or “theory” is exemplified by the way kin relations, nationalities, personal names, tools, diseases, and other artifacts are talked about.

About Karin Michelson, Professor, Linguistics

Karin’s research focusses on the languages spoken by the Haudenosaunee, especially Oneida and Mohawk. For the last forty years she has been describing and documenting them, recording what speakers think is important and relevant (and sometimes funny and playful), and delving into the more unusual grammatical patterns present in these languages. She has published a dictionary (Oneida-English, English-Oneida Dictionary 2002) and a volume of texts (Glimpses into Oneida Life 2016), in addition to articles dealing with theoretical issues in linguistics. Currently she is finishing up a dictionary of Mohawk, with annotations referencing historical works.



March 26
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Event Category:


Humanities Institute