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Bungi (Bungee) Language

Bungi, Bungee, or Bungay, was a dialect of English spoken in the Red River valley north of Winnipeg, Manitoba !ts origins are linked to fa"ilies of e"ployees of the #udson$s Bay %o"pany who were of &rkney descent and the %ree wo"en who" they "arried &ften, the ter" Bungi or Bungee (fro" bangii "eaning 'a little bit() has been used to refer to either the Manitoba )aulteau* (who are a little bit like the %ree) or their Metis population (who are a little bit +nishinaabe) ,he language of their M-tis population is described as the Bungi language ,he vocabulary and word order of Bungee were pri"arily English, but the speech was lilting, like that of .aelic speakers, and Bungee included vocabulary, structures and speech patterns borrowed fro" the languages around it Bungi, also called the Red River /ialect, is a creole described as code0switching based on %ree language synta* !t consists of )cottish0English influenced by .aelic and %ree and )aulteau* Like the Michif language Bungi "akes no distinction between "asculine and fe"inine third person singular pronouns ,hus a Bungi speaker "ight say 'My wife he is going to the store ( Like Michif there is also repetition of the noun and pronoun for e"phasis 'My brother is co"ing, hi" ( ,he is an evident influence fro" 1lains %ree, a language which does not pronounce the sound 'sh”2 thus, in Bungee, shawl beca"e sawl, and she beca"e see Bungee speakers would often reverse this process, turning words like story and sniff to shtory and shniff )ounds like ch and j also underwent a change, so that catch ca"e out as cats and jump asdzump &ne speaker had this advice for a careless child2 You sould never shtop when you are goin on a messidze 3"essage4 and never tawlk to strainzers in the buss 3bush4 Robert 1apen co""ents2 ,he language consists of about 567 %ree or )aulteau* words as well as a few ter"s borrowed fro" 8rench Bungee is said to often substitute 9s9 (as in 'sip() for 9sh9 (as in 'ship(), and vice versa Words such as 'shot,( '"arsh,( 'shallow,( 'sure( and 'she( would fre:uently be pronounced 'sot,( '"ars,( 'sallow,( 'sewer,( 'sall( and 'see;( conversely, words like 'start,( 'string( and 'sell,( could be pronounced 'shtart,( 'shtring( and 'shell( (&sborne, )cott and Mulligan, 5<=5) ,his pheno"enon can be e*plained, as in Michif 8rench, by the fact that the %ree language does not differentiate these consonants Bungee also borrows words and structures directly fro" the %ree and )aulteau* languages ,he standard Bungee greeting >!?" well, you but@> co"es directly fro" %ree ,he influence of %ree also appeared in words such as apeechequanee (to so"ersault), kaykatch (nearly), chimmuck (splash5) and keeyam (never "ind) )i"ilarly, the sentence I'm just slocked it the light uses a )cots verbsloken (to put so"ething out, to e*tinguish) with an &rkney past tense I'm slocked (! have extinguished).2
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+n e*a"ple of ono"atopoeia )cott and Mulligan (5<=5)


Reading List2 Blain, Eleanor ')peech of the Lower Red River )ettle"ent ( !n Willia" %owan (Editor)2 apers of the !ighteenth "lgonquian #onference &ttawa2 %arleton Bniversity, 5<CD2 D05E Blain, Eleanor ',he Bungee /ialect of the Red River )ettle"ent ( Winnipeg2 M + ,hesis, Bniversity of Manitoba, 5<C< ,his is the only "aFor acade"ic study of the Bungee language Blain interviewed about si* Bungee speakers, not all of who" agreed to be taped ,he s"all sa"ple really li"its the value of this thesis Brian &rvis, a Bungee0speaker who grew up in )elkirk, Manitoba, takes issue with Blain$s description of the language as a dialect #e asserts that there are still Bungee speakers and that it is a language like Michif, and not a dialect ()wan, 5<<52 5GG) Blain, Eleanor $he %ed %iver &ialect Winnipeg2 WuerH 1ublishing, 5<<I %ansino, Barbara 'Bungi in 1etersfield2 +n C5 Jear &ld Writes +bout the Red River /ialect ( Winnipeg2 'innipeg (ree ress, March AE, 5<C6
.old, Elaine '+spect in Bungi2 E*panded 1rogressives and Be 1erfects ( #ongr)s de l*"#+ ,--. / #+" #onference ,--. ,oronto2 Bniversity of ,oronto, A66D .old, Elaine ',he %ase of Bungi2 Evidence of Kernacular Bniversals ( !n Markku

8ippula (Ed ), 0ernacular 1niversals and +anguage #ontacts Lew Jork2 Routledge, A66<2 5EG05D= 1apen, Robert + ',he #eritage of Metis Language in Western %anada,( $he !ncyclopaedia of (rench #ultural 2eritage in 3orth "merica4 http299www a"eri:uefrancaise org9en9article0=GA9,heM#eritageMofMM 7%G7+<tisMLanguageMinMWesternM%anada ht"l
1entland, /avid # 'M-tchif and Bungee2 Languages of the fur trade ( (1aper presented in the series 0oices of %upert's +and5 ublic +ectures on +anguage and #ulture in !arly 6anitoba March <, 5<C=

)cott, ) &sborne; N Mulligan, / + (5<=5, /ece"ber) ',he Red River /ialect ( $he Beaver, IA0I= MMMMMMMMMM ',he Red River /ialect ( !n O P %ha"bers (Ed ), #anadian !nglish5 7rigins and 8tructures ,oronto2 Methuen, 5<=52 E50EG


)tobie, Margaret 'Background of the /ialect %alled Bungi ' 2istorical and 8cientific 8ociety of 6anitoba, )eries !!!, Lo AI, 5<ED9EC2 E=0D= )tobie, Margaret ',he /ialect %alled Bungi ( #anadian "ntiques #ollector, E(C), 5<D52 A6 Walters, 8rank O 'Bungee +s )he !s )poke ( %ed %iver 0alley 2istorian and 2istory 3ews $he 9uarterly :ournal of the %ed %iver 0alley 2istorical 8ociety , ; (I), 5<E<Q 5<D62 EC0D6 Walters, 8rank O , ieces of the ast 5 " #ollection of $ales of 7ld %ed %iver4 West )elkirk, Man2 8 O Walters, c5<C<

%o"piled by Lawrence Barkwell %oordinator of Metis #eritage and #istory Research Louis Riel !nstitute