Critical mass in Michif
In this paper, we examine mass and count in Michif, a language often called a mixed language, which has elements from French (and English) and Cree (and Ojibwe). French has an obvious grammatical mass/count distinction (Doetjes 1997); Cree does not. Michif could therefore display a mass/count distinction, like French, or look like it lacks one, like Cree. In fact, the system is mixed (contra Croft 2003: 58): French-derived nominals display an obvious mass/count distinction and the Cree-derived nominals do not. Number, numerals and quantifiers disambiguate within the French-derived part of the grammar but do not in the Cree-derived part. Michif has inherited both the French system and the Cree system, reflected in the behaviour of the nominals.
Keywords: Michif, nominals, mass/count distinction, mixed languages
Published online: 10 May 2016
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