Thanks Re: Onen tonsa kerisa ... (the end of the story)

David Mead mead2368 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Feb 1 19:00:11 UTC 2010

My friend Tim reports:

"We've gotten confirmation from an Iroquoianist that it's 
Mohawk.  Many thanks to you and your colleagues for pointing us in 
the right direction."

Hats off to Erik Zobel and Steve Trussel who identified the text as 
Iroquoian, and kudus to Ann Kumar who took a "long shot" and actually 
pinpointed Mohawk!

(P.S.  Some people had written to me off the list.)


I have a friend who teaches linguistics at Dartmouth University.  He 
has been asked to help identify the language of a 1911 
document.  Does the excerpt below look familiar to anyone out there?

If you have a "hit" or a suggestion, I'd be happy to pass it 
on.  This fits in the "Oh, so you're a linguist. Can you ... ?" 
category of request, but maybe we can do our profession proud for the 
Norwich Historical Society.  :-)

Thanks much,  David

>Date: Fri, 29 Jan 2010 08:46:38 -0800 (PST)
>From: Tim Pulju <pulju at>
>As it happens, I now have a passage for you.  Just this morning, 
>someone gave me a transcript of a document found in the archives of 
>the Norwich Historical society, dated 1911.  (Norwich is a small 
>town near Dartmouth).  The transcript reads:
>"Onen tonsa kerisa serako ne tisa tia ta karha thon tsi te sepiaton 
>ni sa tis la kamon ne kina sa hi ni senkinenne..."
>They're wondering what language it is.  To me, it looks like it 
>could be Austronesian.  Any thoughts?
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