An 1860 English-Hopi Vocabulary Written in the Deseret Alphabet

An 1860 English-Hopi Vocabulary Written in the Deseret Alphabet

by Kenneth R. Beesley, Dirk Elzinga


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In 1859, Brigham Young sent two Mormon missionaries to live among the Hopi and "reduce their dialect to a written language" i.e., create a writing system for the Hopi language. The goal was to teach this orthography to the Hopi so that they would be able to read the Book of Mormon is their own language. This new orthography was based on the Deseret Alphabet, a non-Roman phonemic alphabet that Young was promoting in place of the traditional Latin alphabet. The Deseret Alphabet faded out of use by 1875, and the Book of Mormon was never translated into Hopi, but a suspected Indian vocabulary of almost 500 words, written completely in the Deseret Alphabet, survived unidentified in the archives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. Authors Beesley and Elzinga have now identified the mystery language of this document as Hopi, traced it to one of the 1859 missionaries, and researched the history behind the mission. The resulting book includes a complete reproduction of the original vocabulary, identifies the Hopi words in modern dictionaries, and adds comments and transcriptions from the Desert Alphabet into the International Phonetic Alphabet. An 1860 English-Hopi Vocabulary Written in the Deseret Alphabet offers a fascinating mix of linguistics, Mormon history Native American studies, and a fascinating story.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781607813538
Publisher: University of Utah Press
Publication date: 05/26/2015
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Kenneth R. Beesley is a computational linguist with thirty years of experience in Natural Language Processing.  He holds a D.Phil. in Epistemics from the University of Edinburgh and is currently a development architect in the Text Analysis group at SAP Labs.  He spends his spare time researching the Deseret Alphabet and other spelling reforms, Hopi history and language, and nineteenth-century pioneer trails in Utah and Arizona.
Dirk Elzinga is an associate professor in the Department of Linguistics and English Language at Brigham Young University. He also holds a PhD from The University of Arizona in Linguistics. His primary research interests are the documentation, description, and analysis of the Uto-Aztecan languages of the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau.

Table of Contents

List of Figures vii

List of Tables viii

Acknowledgments ix

1 Introduction

1.1 The 1859-60 Mormon Mission to the Hopi 3

1.2 An English-Hopi Vocabulary Identified 8

2 Provenance

2.1 The Deseret Alphabet 10

2.1.1 Historical Overview 10

2.1.2 Isaac Pitman's Phonotypy Alphabets 11

2.1.3 The 1859-60 Version of the Deseret Alphabet 17

2.1.4 The Fate of the Deseret Alphabet 17

2.1.5 Deseret Alphabet to IPA Transliteration 18

2.2 The Hopi Language Identification 18

2.3 Author Identification 19

2.3.1 Mormon Missions to the Hopi 19

2.3.2 The Second Mormon Mission to the Hopi 19

2.3.3 Deseret Alphabet Handwriting and English Accents 43

2.4 Mormon Interest in Native American Languages 44

2.5 Deseret Alphabet Orthographies for Native American Languages 46

2.6 Other Early Hopi Vocabularies 47

3 Hopi Language

3.1 Hopi and the Uto-Aztecan Family 50

3.2 Phonology 52

3.2.1 Hopi Vowels 52

3.2.2 Hopi Consonants 53

3.3 The Third-Mesa Hopi Dialect 54

3.3.1 Coda /p/ 54

3.3.2 The /s/ Phoneme 55

3.3.3 The /r/ Phoneme 56

3.3.4 Third-Mesa Dialect Words 65

3.3.5 Modern Third-Mesa Falling Tone 66

4 The 1860 English-Hopi Vocabulary

4.1 English-Hopi Entries 70

4.2 Notable Entries 71

Appendix A Hopi Locations

A.1 The Moquitch Village 73

A.2 Blue Canyon 75

Appendix B Hopi People and Legends

B.1 Kuyngwu 77

B.2 Pahaana 79

Format of the 1860 English-Hopi Vocabulary 81

Text of the 1860 English-Hopi Vocabulary 85

Index of English-Hopi Vocabulary Entries 123

Notes 133

Bibliography 147

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