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Encountering Language and Languages of Encounter in North American Ethnohistory

Michael Silverstein
Journal of Linguistic Anthropology
Vol. 6, No. 2 (DECEMBER 1996), pp. 126-144
Published by: Wiley on behalf of American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43103169
Page Count: 19
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Encountering Language and Languages of Encounter in North American Ethnohistory
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Abstract

On the basis of primary sources and of reviewing recent scholarship on linguistic contact in North America, an ethnohistory of communication is advocated to achieve a greater realism. Central to this framework ought to be conceptual differentiation of speech community, an organization of communicating peoples by regularities of language-in-use, and language community, an organization of people by their orientation to structural (formal) norms for denotational coding (whether explicit or implicit). While considering the various parameters of the social organization of languages in North American contact communities, we survey a sample of cases to show their ethnohistorical distinctness from the traditional pidgin-and creole-forming situations, and the basis in contact for the role of indigeneous languages in contemporary ethnic politics of culture.

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