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LING 433 : Native Languages of the Americas: Getting Started

Background Information

Looking for a research paper topic? An encyclopedia or handbook is a good starting point for key readings and background information on a topic.

Search Tips

When searching for material on indigenous languages, you will need to consider alternate terms and spellings for your language and concepts. Not finding anything on your topic? Try alternate phrases, spelling, and keywords. Some general tips to guide you:

Try different keywords for indigenous communities:

  • First Nations
  • Aboriginal
  • Native
  • Indigenous
  • Indian

Also consider  different terms for indigenous languages:

  • heritage languages
  • aboriginal languages
  • indigenous languages
  • endangered or threatened languages
  • under-described languages
  • community languages

Language Names : Spelling Changes and Variation

What do you call your language? Consider what other names the language has been called over time and by different groups.

Example: Dane-zaa Záágéʔ was called the Beaver language.
Example: Dakelh was called the Carrier language

Dialects also pose a challenge.

Example:  Plains Cree is also known as the Y-dialect or Nehiyawewin.

Spelling Variations

Consider spelling variations, especially for languages that have had multiple (or no) written systems.
Classification systems in libraries or archives might use a different spelling.

Example:. Stó:lō, Stó:lô, Stó:lõ, Stahlo, Staulo, Stolo, Stohlo, Sto:lo (group of people)
Example:. Tsuut’ina, Sarcee, Sarsi, Tsuu T’ina, Tsu T’ina, Tsúùtínà (language)

Note: These search tips have been borrowed from the Aboriginal Languages Research Guide.

Subject Guide

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