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University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics

Abstract

This paper investigates the claim that Michif has a phonology split by etymological origin, Cree and French. We present two case studies, one which examines a phonological process and one which concerns the vowel inventory. The first case examines whether a French phonological rule, liaison, is truly restricted to the French portion of Michif, or whether it can apply across etymological classes. We find instances where liaison does occur between French and non-French words, suggesting that liaison cannot be restricted to a French subpart. The second case tests whether the Michif vowel inventory can reliably be divided into French and Cree categories on the basis of phonetic contrasts. The statistical models indicate that there is no basis for dividing the inventory into two subparts based on etymology. Taken together, these case studies suggest that the phonology of Michif should be treated as a single system rather than a split system.

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