Dr. Bill Bright (Linguist-speaker)

Andre Cramblit andrekar at NCIDC.ORG
Thu Sep 11 17:33:39 UTC 2003

The Department of Anthropology, the Department of English, and the Center
for Indian Community Development invite you to a talk by

DR. WILLIAM BRIGHT University of Colorado

Animal Names in Native Northwestern California

Thursday, September 18 3:30 - 5:00 p.m. Founders Hall 25

William Bright was for many years the Editor of Language, the journal of
the Linguistic Society of America.  He has also been Editor in Chief of the
International Encyclopedia of Linguistics (Oxford, 1992) and of the
forthcoming Native American Place names of the United States. As an
anthropological linguist, his research has focused on the languages of
native northwestern California, in particular Karuk.  His descriptive
grammar of Karuk, The Karok Language (1957), is regarded as one of the
classics of California Indian linguistics.  Prof. Bright remains in close
contact with the Karuk Tribe; he helped devise the writing system now in
use for the language and has recently been consulting with the Tribe on a
dictionary project.

In this talk he considers the  names for animals in the three major Indian
languages of north-western California Yurok, Hupa and Karuk.  The majority
of such names in Yurok consist of unanalyzable single morphemes, while the
majority in Hupa are "descriptive" combinations of several morphemes; the
Karuk language lies between the two others. A possible explanation is seen
in the historical operation of verbal taboo on the names of the deceased.
It is suggested that this is part of the status of native northwestern
California not as a linguistic area in a strict sense, but as an
ethnolinguistic area.

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