The Massachusett language is an Algonquin language that was spoken by several ethnic groups in the southeast of what is now the US state of Massachusetts, including Cape Cod and the offshore islands , until the 19th century . Based on a complete 17th century translation of the Bible by John Eliot , it is by far the best-documented indigenous language in New England . It is also known as Natick , Wôpanâak ( Wômpanâak , Wampanoag ) and Pokanoket according to its regional variantsknown. Due to a resuscitation project that has been ongoing with the Wampanoag Indians since 2000 , it is once again spoken fluently by a handful of people.
Historical language area
The Massachusett language was adopted by the Massachusett , Wampanoag , Naumkeag , Nauset and Cowesit ethnic groups at the beginning of the colonial period around 1620 on the Atlantic coast and in the downstream areas of Massachusetts between what is now Boston , Cape Cod and Mount Hope in the far east of Rhode Island spoken.
Differentiation from other Algonquin languages
Massachusett is one of the Southern New England Algonquian (SNEA) languages within the Eastern Algonquian languages . Closely related were the Narragansett language in the Rhode Island area and the Pequot-Mohegan in eastern Connecticut, as was the language of the north-west inland nipmuck . It differs from these languages as an "N dialect", which realizes the assumed original East Algonquin * r as n , while the Munsee of the Lenape an "R dialect", Nipmuck an "L dialect" and Narragansett like Pequot- Mohegan is a "Y dialect". So the word for "dog" (Ur-Ost-Algonquin * arum ) is in Massachusett annúm , in Nipmuck alùm , in Mohegan ayum and in Narragansett ayim . Of the languages mentioned, only the Massachusett received the middle vowel of certain words (no syncope , "firearm" on Montauk boshkeag , Pequot poshkeege , Massachusett paskehheg / paskiːhək / ; "I'm cold" on Pequot nuxquatch , Massachusett nukquosquatch / nukkʃwaskəwatwat / ). Other special features include newly formed nasals such as / ã / instead of / a / and the shortening of the verb ending * - eyəw to -ai ("It is white", Ur-Ost-Algonkin * wapeyəw , Massachusett wompi / wãpaj / , Munsee wápew , Mahican wapayo ; cf. from the same root the ethnonym Wampanoag , "People of the Dawn / East": Ur-Algonkin * wapan , Massachusett wampan / wãpan / - "Dawn", -ow- "Person of", * -aki Plural).
Depending on the ethnic group, the English settlers named the language after the ethnonyms Massachusett, Natick, Pokanoket or Wampanoag (in the new spelling Wôpanâak), but mostly simply "Indian language". Under this influence, the Indians of the prayer cities called their own language Indianne unnontꝏwaonk ("language of the Indians") and other dialects they could understand hettuog or unnnontꝏwaonk , while languages they did not understand penꝏwantꝏwaonk .
Speakers of the Massachusett language first came into contact with English and French traders and fishermen in the 16th century. At that time, the language area was reportedly densely populated. Smallpox introduced by Europeans , possibly also leptospirosis , caused an epidemic among the Massachusett, Wampanoag and their neighbors on the Atlantic coast between 1616 and 1619, which caused the death of a large part of the Massachusetts-speaking population. The groups that had traded with the French were particularly hard hit by the epidemic. According to the medical historian Alfred Crosby , the death rate among the Massachusett and Pokanoket of the mainland was around 90%. So the settlers came across a sparsely populated area. The Wampanoag and Massachusett ethnic groups - speakers of this language - were the first to come into contact with the settlers of the English colonies of Plymouth ( Pilgrim Fathers from 1620) and Massachusetts Bay ( Puritans from 1629). Some settlers learned the language in order to trade with the Indians . With the increase of the English population there was a growing interest in integrating the indigenous people who had become a minority . English missionaries John Eliot , Thomas Mayhew, and Roger Williams learned the indigenous language to preach the gospel to the Indians. John Eliot preached his first sermon on October 18, 1646 in Nonantum in the Nipmuck area (now part of Newton, Massachusetts ), whereupon the first indigenous people converted to Christianity. From 1651, the Christianized Indians (Praying Indians) were settled in prayer cities , where they learned the European way of life and were subject to colonial jurisdiction.
Together with his teacher of the Massachusett language, Job Nesutan, the printer James Wowaus (called James Printer) from the Nipmuck ethnic group, the Montaukett Cockenoe (kakan-o, "the interpreter") from Long Island and the Wampanoag Indian John Sassamon Eliot translated the Bible into the Massachusett dialect of Natick , for which he created an orthography based on the Latin script.
This Indian Bible was published in 1663 under the title Mamusse Wunneetupanatamwe Up-Biblum God, naneeswe Nukkone Testament kah wonk Wusku Testament ("The Holy Bible containing the Old Testament and the New, translated into the Indian language") with financial support from the 1649 founded in London " Society for the Propagation of the Bible" in England as the first Bible and one of the first books in North America ever printed at Harvard College in Cambridge (Massachusetts) with an edition of 1000.
Eliot began teaching Indians to read and write. There was an "Indian College" at Harvard University from 1655 to 1698. In Natick he used the local Monequassun as a schoolmaster. Thomas Mayhew began to alphabetize and proselytize with the Wampanoag in 1651. These activities continued his children, including Experience Mayhew .
In 1674, among the Indians of the prayer cities in the Plymouth Colony area, 29% could read and 17% could write in the Massachusetts language, while 2% could read English and 0% could write, according to a study conducted by Daniel Gookin . The proportion of Indians able to read (59%) and literate (31%) was highest in the villages of Codtanmut, Ashimuit and Weesquobs in what is now Mashpee, Massachusetts .
Missionary work with Natick's Eliot Bible spread the Massachusett language among the Nipmuck and Pennacooks . Dialect differences were evened out by the use of the Natick dialect, so that in 1722 John Mayhew , missionary to the Wampanoag on Martha's Vineyard, said with satisfaction: “Most of the small differences among them are fortunately lost, and our Indians [Wampanoag of Martha's Vineyard] speak and especially write like Natick's do ”.
Even Roger Williams , who as a champion of believers' baptism and the religious freedom declined mass baptisms and was therefore expelled from Massachusetts in 1636, the Eliot Bible used in his lectures under the Narragansett in Rhode Iceland. His personal copy of the Eliot Bible, which is kept in the Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence, Rhode Island , shows handwritten adaptations of the Massachusett Bible text to the Narragansett language he learned .
Importance of Bible translation for language
The Eliot Bible was to remain the only complete Bible translation into an indigenous language of the American double continent for two centuries - until the completion of the Bible translations into the Cree in 1862 (in syllabary ) and into the Dakota language of the Santee in 1879. At that time the Massachusett- Language already extinct. In South and Mesoamerica, complete translations of the Bible were not expected to appear until the second half of the 20th century, although many indigenous languages there have far more speakers than the Massachusetts language ever had. A comparatively extensive text corpus has been preserved for these , which offers significantly more favorable conditions for an almost complete reconstruction than is the case with all other extinct languages on the North American Atlantic coast.
Today only 37 of the 1000 Eliot Bibles of the first edition of 1663 are known to have survived; of the second edition from 1685 there are 53.
Other language monuments
John Eliot and his Indian colleagues translated a catechism and the New Testament ( Nukkone Testament , published 1651), the Book of Moses and a revision of the Gospel of Matthew (1655), the Book of Psalms (1658, revised 1663) and the complete Bible ( 1663), also by Richard Baxter A Call to the Unconverted (1664, 2nd edition. 1688) and by Lewis Baley The Practice of Piety (1665, 2nd edition. 1686). In 1666 John Eliot published the first grammar of the Massachusett language.
Experience Mayhew , missionary to the Wômpanâak on Martha's Vineyard / Noepe, who incidentally used Eliot's translations, gave the "Indian Psalter" (Indian Psalter) in the local Wômpanâak dialect , a collection of psalms and the Gospel of John (1709, 2nd edition. 1720), as well as the language textbook Indian Primer (1720) and a separate work, Indian Converts (1721), which was mainly written in English but contained reports from Wampanoag in their own language.
In 1707 Josiah Cotton, resident of Plymouth (Massachusetts) and son of the preacher in the Wampanoag, John Cotton, published a "Vocabulary of the Massachusett (or Natick) Indian language".
In addition, some personal notes have been preserved in this language. In 1988 Goddard and Bragdon published in one volume all the handwritten texts by native speakers that they could find.
Due to the atrocities during the " King Philips War " (1675–1676) and immediately afterwards, around 40% of the Massachusett speakers died. While "praying Indians" who helped the English were killed by the insurgents, the English hunted down the insurgents and killed all men in many places while they sold the women and children into slavery in the West Indies, where they gave their cultural identity lost. But the English were also suspicious of the “praying Indians”, which is why they were imprisoned on Deer Island during the war , where most of them died. After the war, children from the prayer towns were raised in English families, where they were alienated from the indigenous culture and language. Many of the persecuted Narragansett and Wampanoag Indians found refuge with the Abenaki or Mahican , where they adopted their languages. Further epidemics of smallpox , measles , diphtheria and scarlet fever continued to decimate the indigenous population in the 18th century. Only four of the prayer cities lasted until the 19th century. Forced emigration and land sales melted the indigenous communities. Marriage between Native American women and black or white men due to the lack of indigenous men in the 18th century accelerated assimilation.
Most of the Eliot Bibles were destroyed during the uprising, so Eliot had a second edition printed in 1685. The willingness of the English settlers to tolerate aspects of indigenous culture continued to decline as a result of the war. Thus, after Eliot's death, no more books were printed in the Massachusett language. However, a number of letters and official documents from the prayer cities show that the written language of the indigenous people was used until the mid-eighteenth century. In contrast to the prayer cities on the mainland, indigenous families were able to maintain their linguistic and cultural identity with their Christian faith over several generations with the Wampanoag on the island of Martha's Vineyard / Noepe (prayer city Gay Head / Aquinnah). In the oldest prayer town Natick there was only one speaker of the Massachusett language in 1798, while the last native speakers of the Wampanoag died in the 19th century. However, at the beginning of the 20th century, some Wampanoag could still remember the language.
The linguist Jessie Little Doe Baird , a member of the Wampanoag ethnic group, began her efforts to revive the language in 1993 and completed her master's thesis on this in 2000. She worked closely with the linguist Kenneth Hale and since his death has been cooperating with his successor Norvin Richards, a specialist in Algonquin languages, and with the teacher Nitana Hicks from the Wampanoag. Based on the corpus of text from the Eliot Bible, religious texts and letters from the indigenous peoples, she compiled a vocabulary and published a grammar in 2000. In the same year she started the Wampanoag project to revive her language (Wômpanâak Language Reclamation Project) . Between 2000 and 2013, 400 members of the Wampanoag ethnic group attended courses in this language. A handful of children, including Baird's daughter, have grown up with the language and speak it fluently. In 2013 the vocabulary database had around 10,000 word entries. In addition to the publication of a dictionary, further teaching materials, the introduction of immersion programs , the continuation of the courses and further research into the linguistic monuments are planned as part of the project . Classes in the language are available in four Wampanoag parishes: Aquinnah , Mashpee , New Bedford, and Plymouth, Massachusetts .
According to the reconstruction, the Massachusett has the following consonants:
|Plosive||[p]||[t] , [tʲ]||[tʃ]||[k]|
|According to||orthography||Word example||German example||annotation|
|[b]||B.||B ithnia / ˈbiθˌnia /, ' Bithynia '||B all||Only as / b / in loanwords. Also as [p] in Algonquian hereditary words, mostly replaced by P.|
medial / final: DJ, DCH, DTCH, HCH, JT, TCH
|ch eeku / ˈtʃiːˈkuː /, 'after a long time'||lish ako|
|[d]||D.||E d en / ˈiːˌdən /, ' Eden '||d place||Only as / d / in loan words. Also as / t / in Algonquian hereditary words, mostly replaced by T.|
|[f]||F.||f igse / ˈfiːkˌsə /, 'figs'||f all||Rarely, only in loan words.|
|[ɡ]||G||G od / ɡad /, ' God '||g just||Only as / ɡ / in loan words. Also as / k / in Algonquian hereditary words, mostly replaced by K.|
medial / final: HH
|h owan / ˈhaˌwan /, 'who?'||H and||H was used as a stretch h or for a respite.|
|[d͡ʒ]||J, G||J abal / ˈdʒeɪˌbəl /, ' Jabal '||Dsch ungel||Only as / d͡ʒ / in loan words. With other consonants or individually for / tʲ / or / tʃ / in Algonquian hereditary words. G before E or I was sometimes also / d͡ʒ /, cf. Gentilsog , 'Gentiles'. Correspondingly pronounced G as / ʒ / possibly in rare loan words.|
|[k]||C, K, Q
medial / final: CC, CK, G, GG, GH, GK, HK, KH, KK, CQ
|k ussokhoi / ˈkuˌsaˈkoj /, 'mountain peak'||Ha ck e|
|[kw]||KW, Q, QU
medial: CKQ, GW, GQU, KQU
medial / final: GHK, KQ
final: G, GK, GQ, K
|qu onꝏas q / ˈkwaˌnəˈwaːsˌkəw /, 'calabash'||qu he||Words that end in / kw / (or / kəw /), often only with consonants / k /.|
|[l]||L.||L ord / lɔrd /, 'Lord'||L ack||Rarely, only in loan words.|
medial / final: MM
|m iche m e / ˌməˈchiːˌmə /, 'forever'||M utter||M after a vowel and before a consonant can indicate that the previous vowel / ã /.|
medial / final: NN
|n ippe / ˈnəpˌpə /, 'water'||N eight||N after vowel and before / t /, / tʲ /, / tʃ /, or / k / can indicate that previous vowel / ã /. If double at the beginning of the word, the first N stands for / nə /. Also reproduced by N.|
medial / final: BB, BP, PB, PP
|p ohnque / ˈpãˌkəw /||No pp e|
|[r]||R.||che r ubimsog / ˈtʃɛˌrəˈbɪmˌsak /, ' Cherubim '||r Ufen||Rarely, only in loan words.|
medial / final: SS, SH
|s eep / siːp /, 'river'||Ma ss e||SH stands for / s / only in consonant groups like SHK (/ sk /).|
|[ʃ]||SH, HSH||an sh ap / ˈãˈʃãp /, 'fishing net'||sch uh||SH in front of a consonant stands for / s /.|
|[sk]||SC, SK, SKC, SHK, SHQ||o sk o sk / ˌaˈskask /, 'hay'||Ma sk e|
|[skw]||SKW, SQ, SQU, SKW
medial: SCKQ, SGW, SGQU, SKQU
medial / final: SGHK, SKQ
final: SG, SGK, SGQ, SK
|squ ont / skwãt /, 'door'||squ eeze||Words that end in / skw / (or / skəw /), often only with consonants / sk /.|
|[t]||initial: D, DT, T
medial / final: D, DD, DT, T, TD, TT
|t ummunk / ˌtaˈmãk /, 'beaver'||Ma tt e|
|[tʲ]||initial: D, DT, T
medial / final: D, DT, T, TT; possibly also JT or DJ. Generally these are followed by the vowels E or I and sometimes U.
|we t u / ˈwiːˈtʲuː /, 'settlement'||tj a|
|[v]||V||sil v er / ˈsilvər /, 'silver'||W elle||Rarely, only in loan words. Also occurs as a vowel form of V (alternating with U).|
initial / medial: OO, Ꝏ
|w ompi / ˈwãˌpaj /, 'it is white'||ba u s||W and U (vowel after consonant) are also / w /. The double-o-digraph and ligature are only / w / in vowel combinations or after certain consonants. Often not written in the middle or at the end of a word.|
|[ks]||X||o x suog / ˈaksˌwak /, 'ox'||He x e||Rarely, only in loan words, but / ks / can appear in syncope forms.|
|y ehquog / ˈjaˌkwak /, 'lice'||j a||E stands for / j / before the short vowels after / iː / and a consonant. Y is sometimes used for / aj /.|
|[z]||Z||z am z ummin / ˈzamˌzəmˈmiːn /, 'Samsummiter ( Rafaiter )'||S and||Only as / z / in loan words. Also as / s / in Algonquian hereditary words, mostly replaced by S.|
The vowels of the Massachusett language have been reconstructed as follows:
|According to||orthography||Word example||German example||annotation|
|[a]||A, AU, O, OU, OH, U||ou w a ssu / ˌaˈwaˌsuː /, 'he warms up'||a nders||Sound values for / a / maybe also / ɑ / and / ɔ /|
|[aː]||A, Á, AA, AÁ, AH, AI, AIH, O, OH, OO, Ó, OH||n a gum / ˈnaːkˌem /, 'oneself'||V a ter||Sound values for / a / maybe also / ɑː / and / ɔː /|
|[ã]||Ã, AM, AN, ÁU, AÚ, Õ, OM, ON, Û||n â m â g , / ˈnãˌmãk /, 'fish'||bl on chieren||A followed by N is / ã / with the following / t /, / tʲ /, / tʃ /, / k /. A followed by M with the following / p /. OH behind N can be nasal.|
|[ə]||A, À, E, I, O, OO, Ꝏ, OH, U, UH
|onkh u p / ˈãˌkəp /, 'strong drink'||Blum e||The double-o-digraph and the double-o-ligature at the beginning of the word stand for / ə / or / əw / in some vowel combinations. It can appear unwritten between consonants and the associated W or U or a vowel combination with / w / at the beginning.|
|[uː]||OO, Ꝏ, U, Ú||m ꝏ si / ˈmuːˌsaj /, 'bald'||M u t||OO, Ꝏ, and U can stand for / w / in vowel combinations and elsewhere. U can stand for / juː /.|
The language is rich in vowel and vowel-semivowel combinations such as / a / a /, / aː a /, / aː ã ã / / ã ə /, / aː iː /, / ãwa /, / əj /, / əw / , / əwa /, / əwaː /, / əwã /, / əwə /, / awa /, / aːw /, / aw /, / ja /, / jã /, / iːw / and / iːə /. Because of the inconsistent spelling of the 17th century, the vowels are the most difficult to reconstruct. The exact sound values are unknown, so the vowels / a /, / ã /, and / aː / may also have been pronounced / ɑ /, / ɑ̃ /, / ɑː / or / ɔ /, / ɔ̃ /, / ɔː / . The digraph AU might have stood for / a /, / a /, / aw / or variants of / a /.
The Massachusett language shares basic structures with other Algonquian languages . Nouns are divided into animate and inanimate gender . So the body is animate, but its parts are inanimate. Nouns and the third person in general are also marked in the sentence according to their relevance to the respective topic and according to their presence or absence (lost, deceased). There are three grammatical persons with a distinction between inclusive and exclusive we and two numbers (singular and plural). The sentence order is mostly subject-verb-object or subject-object-verb , but the meaning of the statement is determined by the synthetic structure of the language. Verbs are divided into four classes: animat-intransitive (AI), inanimat-intransitive (II), animat-transitive (AT) and inanimat-transitive (IT). As with other polysynthetic languages , the meaning of the verb is determined by a variety of prefixes and suffixes, so complex statements are often expressed by a single verb form.
Eliot's translations also resulted in numerous English loanwords, including testament , shepsoh ("shepherd", from 'shepherd') or with the ensouled plural ending / -ek / cowsuck ("cattle, cattle", from 'cow'), pigsack ("Pigs", 'pig'), sheepsog ("sheep", 'sheep') and horseog ("horses", 'horses'), or acre (English square measure), day ("day"), month ("month "), judge (" judge "), wheat (" wheat ") and barley (" millet ").
Loan words from the Massachusett in English
The English settlers adopted a number of words from the coastal Algonquian languages, some of which also ended up in German. Due to their great similarity to each other, it is often not possible from which of the Algonquin languages the respective word was borrowed. The following loanwords can come from the Massachusett language due to their sound structure: 'moose' ( mꝏs , " elch "), ' squaw ' ( squá, ussqua, eshqua, "woman"), ' papoose ' ( papaseit , "small child") , Narragansett papoos ), ' Moccasin ' ( makussin , "shoe"), ' Tomahawk ' ( tongkong ), ' Totem ' ( wutokhit , "belonging to this place"), ' Manitou ' ( manitt , "spirit") and others.
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- J. Eliot: The Indian Grammar Begun. In: Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society. IX (2), pp. 243-312. Original 1666, reprint 1832.
- JLD Baird: Introduction to the Wampanoag grammar. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Master Thesis 2000, pp. 10-63.
- David H. Pentland: Algonquian and Ritwan Languages. In: Keith Brown (Ed.): Encyclopedia of Languages and Linguistics. 2nd Edition. Elsevier, Amsterdam 2006, pp. 161-166.
- JLD Baird (2000), pp. 28-64.
- RW Bailey: American English: American English: its origins and history. In: A. Bergs, LJ Brinton (Eds.): Language in the USA: Themes for the Twenty-first Century. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England 2004, pp. 3-17.
- O'Brien, FW (2005).
- FR Karttunen: The Other Islanders: People who Pulled Nantucket's Oars. Spinner Publications, New Bedford (Massachusetts) 2005, pp. 40-41.
- B. Swann: Algonquian Spirit. Contemporary Translations of the Algonquian Literatures of North America. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln (Nebraska) 2005, pp. Xi-xiv.
- A. Bergs, LJ Brinton (2012)
- The Wôpanâak (Wampanoag) Language Reclamation Project
- Wampanoag Language and the Wampanoag Indian Tribe
- Katherine Perry (95.9 WATD-FM, Director): Special Feature Wômpanâak: Resurrection of a Language , November 23, 2012, 11 min.
- "We Still Live Here" Documentary (Documentation on the Wampanoag language)
- Natick Dictionary
- Vocabulary of the Massachusetts (or Natick) Indian language (1829)
- Trumbull, James Hammond (1903). Natick Dictionary , Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office (Washington) (also at the Internet Archive )
- Fermino, Jessie Little Doe (2000): An Introduction to Wampanoag Grammar (PDF; 7.0 MB), MIT
- Eliot, John (1666): The Indian Grammar Begun . Cambridge: Marmaduke Johnson.
- "Algonquian Texts" (features many Wampanoag texts, including the bulk of the Eliot bible and subsequent missionary writings) , University of Massachusetts
- Eliot, "Translation of the Book of Genesis , 1655, Kings Collection
- Eliot, John (1709): The Massachuset Psalter or, Psalms of David with the Gospel according to John . Boston, NE: Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England.
- OLAC resources in and about the Wampanoag language