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Language Encounters in the Americas, 1492-1800: A Collection of Essays
     

Language Encounters in the Americas, 1492-1800: A Collection of Essays

by Edward G. Gray, Norman Fiering
 

ISBN-10: 1571812105

ISBN-13: 9781571812100

Pub. Date: 04/28/2000

Publisher: Berghahn Books, Incorporated

When Columbus arrived in the Americas there were, it is believed, as many as 2,000 distinct, mutually unintelligible tongues spoken in the western hemisphere, encompassing the entire area from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego. This astonishing fact has generally escaped the attention of historians, in part because many of these indigenous languages have since

Overview

When Columbus arrived in the Americas there were, it is believed, as many as 2,000 distinct, mutually unintelligible tongues spoken in the western hemisphere, encompassing the entire area from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego. This astonishing fact has generally escaped the attention of historians, in part because many of these indigenous languages have since become extinct. And yet the burden of overcoming America's language barriers was perhaps the one problem faced by all peoples of the New World in the early modern era: African slaves and Native Americans in the Lower Mississippi Valley; Jesuit missionaries and Huron-speaking peoples in New France; Spanish conquistadors and the Aztec rulers. All of these groups confronted America's complex linguistic environment, and all of them had to devise ways of transcending that environment - a problem that arose often with life or death implications.

For the first time, historians, anthropologists, literature specialists, and linguists have come together to reflect, in the fifteen original essays presented in this volume, on the various modes of contact and communication that took place between the Europeans and the "Natives." A particularly important aspect of this fascinating collection is the way it demonstrates the interactive nature of the encounter and how Native peoples found ways to shape and adapt imported systems of spoken and written communication to their own spiritual and material needs.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781571812100
Publisher:
Berghahn Books, Incorporated
Publication date:
04/28/2000
Series:
European Expansion and Global Interaction Ser.
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Preface

Norman Fiering

Introduction

Edward G. Gray

PART I: TERMS OF CONTRACT

Chapter 1. Babel of Tongues: Communicating with the Indians in Eastern North America

James Axtell

Chapter 2. The Use of Pidgins and Jargons on the East Coast of North America

Ives Goddard

PART II: SIGNS AND SYMBOLS

Chapter 3. Pictures, Gestures, Hieroglyphs: "Mute Eloquence" in Sixteenth-Century Mexico

Pauline Moffitt Watts

Chapter 4. Iconic Discourse: The Language of Images in Seventeenth-Century New France

Margaret J. Leahey

Chapter 5. Mapping after the Letter: Graphology and Indigenous Cartography in New Spain

Dana Leibsohn

PART III: THE LITERATE AND THE NONLITERATE

Chapter 6. Continuity vs. Acculturation: Aztec and Inca Cases of Alphabetic Literacy

José Antonio Mazzotti

Chapter 7. Native Languages as Spoken and Written: Views from Southern New England

Kathleen J. Bragdon

Chapter 8. The Mi'kmaq Hieroglyphic Prayer Book: Writing and Christianity in Maritime Canada, 1675–1921

Bruce Greenfield

PART IV: INTERMEDIARIES

Chapter 9. Interpreters Snatched from the Shore: The Successful and the Others

Frances Karttunen

Chapter 10. Mohawk Schoolmasters and Catechists in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Iroquoia: An Experiment in Fostering Literacy and Religious Change

William B. Hart

Chapter 11. The Making of Logan, the Mingo Orator

Edward G. Gray

PART V: THEORY

Chapter 12. Spanish Colonization and the Indigenous Languages of America

Isaías Lerner

Chapter 13. Descriptions of American Indian Word Forms in Colonial Missionary Grammars

Lieve Jooken

Chapter 14. "Savage" Languages in Eighteenth-Century Theoretical History of Language

Rüdiger Schreyer

Select Bibliography

List of Contributors

Index

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