Cover image for Oneida-English/English Oneida dictionary
Oneida-English/English Oneida dictionary
Michelson, Karin.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Toronto ; Buffalo, N.Y. : University of Toronto Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xii, 1398 pages ; 27 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PM2073.Z5 M527 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Reference

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Oneida is an endangered Iroquoian language spoken fluently by fewer than 250 people. This is the first comprehensive dictionary of the Oneida language as used in Ontario, where most of the surviving speakers reside.

The dictionary contains both Oneida-English and English-Oneida sections. The Oneida-English portion includes some 6000 entries, presenting lexical bases, particles and grammatical morphemes. Each entry for a base shows several forms; illustrates inflection, meaning and use; and gives details regarding pronunciation and cultural significance. The English-Oneida entries direct the reader to the relevant base in the Oneida-English section, where technical information is provided. Completing the volume is a set of appendices that organizes Oneida words into thematic categories.

The Iroquoian languages have an unusually complex word structure, in which lexical bases are surrounded by layers of prefixes and suffixes. This dictionary presents and explains that structure in the clearest possible terms. A work of enormous precision and care, it incorporates many innovative ideas and shows a deep understanding of the nature of the Oneida language.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Like many indigenous languages of North America, Oneida is on the verge of extinction. In an effort to preserve the language before it is permanently lost, Michelson (linguistics, SUNY Buffalo) and Doxtator (retired Oneida-language teacher, Standing Stone School at Oneida-of-the-Thames, Ont.) have compiled a valuable work that converts a language available only in oral form into written text. It should not only preserve the Oneida language, but has the potential to serve as a valuable tool for those interested in reclaiming use of the language. This dictionary joins Amos Christjohn and Maria Hinton's An Oneida Dictionary (1996) as the only recent works on the subject. Libraries collecting in this area should acquire both since they may contain dialectical differences. Highly recommended for collections in Native American studies and in languages and linguistics. J. R. Burch Jr. Campbellsville University