S8soseli: the White Throated Sparrow

Sipsis – pronounced seep-sees – #Abenaki for small bird

S8soseli – pronunced sohn-SOH-seh-lee  #Abenaki for White Throated Sparrow

The pure, simple song of the white-throated sparrow reminds us of the conversations to be joined outside of our own minds. This was going to be a post observing #NationalBirdDay, then realized it was a rather ludicrous construct. So, I will let sparrow speak for himself.

In English, the song is often described as “Old Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody” or, if you are a little further north, “Oh Sweet Canada, Canada, Canada.” I grew up having been taught and hearing the “Oh Sam Peabody” mnemonic. Many small birds are now known (in Western Abenaki) simply as “sipsis” (literally small bird), with no surviving differentiation between species. But a number of specific names have persisted into the present, mostly the more common and larger individuals such as crow, robin, blue jay, eagle, and turkey. I wondered if the #Abenaki had an onomatopoetic name for this little songster, a device often employed in the language, given that the song of the white throated sparrow is so memorable. To my joy, I was able to locate it! Father Rasles gives it as “sôhsohseli” – which I might rewrite as “s8soseli” pronounced sohn-SOH-seh-lee. It is a pretty good evocation of the song.

Wliwni s8soseli!

 

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Philippe Charland: A New French-Abenaki Dictionary

philippe-charland-abenakis

Au Québec, le nombre de personnes qui parlent l’abénaquis se compte sur les doigts de la main. Philippe Charland est l’un d’eux. En collaboration avec le conseil de bande d’Odanak, l’enseignant lancerait bientôt le premier dictionnaire français-abénaquis. Un outil qui pourrait faciliter l’apprentissage de la langue autochtone pratiquement éteinte.

Un texte de Raphaëlle Drouin

Philippe Charland (qui n’est pourtant pas Autochtone) enseigne l’abénaquis depuis maintenant 10 ans dans les communautés de Wôlinak et d’Odanak, dans le Centre-du-Québec.

Read the full article at Radio-Canada.