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Volume 2, Issue 4 (2008) Pp. 1–9.

Father Morice's Rendering of Latin in Carrier Syllabics
by William J. Poser

Father Adrien-Gabriel Morice, O.M.I., missionary in Fort Saint James, British Columbia from 1885 to 1904, published three editions of a Carrier Prayer Book, consisting mostly of prayers, hymns, and catechism lessons which he had translated into the Carrier language. All three editions also contain a number of Latin hymns. In the first two editions, both the Carrier text and the Latin hymns are written in the “Dene syllabics” Father Morice's adaptation of the Cree syllabics for Carrier. The rendering of these hymns in syllabics is rather peculiar, not what one would expect from a straightforward transliteration of either the Classical or the Italianate Church Latin pronounciation. For example, most instances of Latin <u> are rendered /i/. The syllabic text can be explained only by assuming that the Latin was pronounced in the French manner and then further adapted to the phonology of Carrier. In two respects this adaptation deviates from the actual pattern of adaptation of loans, suggesting that that the adaptation of the hymns was dictated in some respects by Father Morice's ideas about Carrier phonology rather than by actual Carrier practice.

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Acknowledgements Copyright © 2009 Northwest Journal of Linguistics ISSN 1718-8563