Friday, January 01, 2010

Rumsen Folklore

It occurred to me that I didn't post information on the Rumsen (Ohlone) folklore article I got published in the Journal of Folklore Research in December 2008.  Here is the abstract:

Sadly, it often happens that languages and cultures become dormant with no written record of their existence, of how the people perceived their world, and how they described it through their folk stories. Such would have been the case of the now dormant Rumsen Ohlone language of California were it not for the tireless dedication of linguist John P. Harrington. He spent years collaborating with the last native speaker of Rumsen, Isabelle Meadows, to discuss her culture and her folk stories. Among the cultural gems that arose from these discussions are the two narratives published here. Both stories feature the trickster figure, Coyote. The first tells of a visit by a sea monster, which causes Coyote's wife to die of fright. The second describes a battle of wits between Coyote and Hummingbird. Both stories give us, through the original Rumsen language, insight into the culture and sense of humor of the Rumsen people, whose descendants still inhabit the central coast of California.

A PDF version of the article can be purchased for $13.50 directly from the Journal via this link:

In relation to this, one of the stories from this article will be published in the upcoming online edition of the Kansas Working Papers in Linguistics (KWPL) that also includes a brief Rumsen grammatical sketch based on the grammatical aspects of the Rumsen version of the story.  This will be free and downloadable from the Working Papers link (on the left) on the University of Kansas's Linguistics Department website.  My two prior papers on Biloxi are also free and downloadable anytime from this site.

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