Labrador Innu-Aimun: An Introduction to the Sheshatshiu Dialect

Sandra Clarke Marguerite MacKenzie
Labrador Innu-Aimun: An Introduction to the Sheshatshiu Dialect
Publisher: Memorial Univ. of Newfoundland | 2007 | ISBN: 0889013888 | English/Innu-aimun | File type: PDF |195 pages | MP3 Time: 04:28:00 | 550 mb

This volume outlines the sounds and grammatical structure of the Innu-aimun dialect spoken in the community of Sheshatshiu, Labrador, formerly known as North West River. This variety of Innu-aimun (also known as Montagnais) is similar to the Uashunnu dialect spoken in Sept-Iles and Schefferville, Quebec and is also closely related to the Innu-aimun varieties of the Quebec Lower North Shore - that is, the Mashkuannu dialect spoken in Mingan, Natashquan, La Romaine and St. Augustin. (The map on page ix shows the location of these communities.)

To a lesser extent, Sheshatshiu Innu-aimun shares features with the only other variety of Innu-aimun spoken in Labrador, the Mushuau dialect spoken in Natuashish, which from a linguistic perspective is best described as Eastern Naskapi (MacKenzie (1980) contains a discussion of the use of the terms Montagnais and Naskapi).
The Innu-aimun dialects spoken in the Quebec-Labrador peninsula form a dialect continuum with the Cree dialects spoken in Central and Western Canada (see for example MacKenzie 1980 for details). The Cree-Montagnais-Naskapi grouping constitutes, both geographically and numerically, the largest aboriginal Canadian linguistic subgroup. Like Ojibwa, Blackfoot and Mi'kmaq, CreeMontagnais-Naskapi is part of the Algonquian language family.
This volume provides an introduction to Sheshatshiu Innu-aimun for speakers of English. The orthography it uses is the revised version set out in Drapeau apd Mailhot (1989) as well as Mailhot (1997), and used by Drapeau (1991). Our orthographical system differs from theirs, however, in that it contains the additional specification of marking for vowel length. While this orthography is relatively abstract and does not represent the speech of any particular community, it has the advantage that it can be used by Innu speakers throughout the Quebec-Labrador peninsula.

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