By William L. Leap
Examines the range of English in American Indian speech groups.
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Additional resources for American Indian English
There are Episcopal missions in White Rocks and Randelette, an Assembly of God church in Roosevelt, an Indian Baptist church on the White Rocks road, and a Pentecostal church one mile north of the Baptist facility. And there are Mormon churches in all of the non-Indian settlements and in some of the Indian ones. This means that Northern Ute people may travel considerable distances on Sundays and during the week, according to their religious preferences. For example, persons living in White Rocks who are members of the Assembly of God church in Roosevelt will make two thirty-mile trips, from home to church and back, if they attend morning and evening worship services each Sunday.
Because I have a lot to say about Northern Ute varieties of English in the following chapters, I will make only brief comments on this topic here. There are many Ute varieties of English, and their distribution, speaker by speaker, follows the patterns found for the ancestral language. Ute English as a whole contrasts with the cluster of (non-Indian) English varieties unique to northeastern Utahwhat the locals term "Basin English"and with the more standardized forms of English found throughout the region.
His English could range from classroom-acceptable to quite "down < previous page page_32 next page > < previous page page_33 next page > Page 33 home," depending on the issues under discussion and his own sense of "appropriate speech" within the given setting. Features from Ponca grammar that were so evident in the English of older persons were also present in his English and the English of others in his age grouping. However, proficiency in a more standardized English frequently masked the presence of these details in surface structures; when they did emerge, I soon discovered, their presence indicated a shift in the climate of conversation from formal to more congenial grounds.