Seejiq Abstract.

The Seejiq (called Seediq in Wikipedia) are a Taiwanese aboriginal people who speak an Austronesian language; I learned about them from Scott Simon’s article “Real People, Real Dogs, and Pigs for the Ancestors: The Moral Universe of ‘Domestication’ in Indigenous Taiwan,” forthcoming in American Anthropologist — or rather from the abstract, which is at the link. Why am I mentioning it here? Because the abstract is repeated in Seejiq (“Pnegluban seejiq ni kana samat o saw bi tkrakaw sun imi ‘nguciq,’ aji asaw quri pnegluban quri kmlawa ka nii…”), which I think is such a terrific idea I wanted to post about it. And don’t bother talking to me about practicality, because I don’t give a damn.


  1. Greg Pandatshang says

    I wonder how impractical it really is. If the paper is not about a particular language, then this model isn’t really applicable any way. If it is about a particular language, then the author will often have put a lot of effort into studying that language. I have no idea how difficult most people would find it to compose a couple paragraphs in the target language at that point. Also, the author might have L1 contacts who can do a translation.

  2. This used to be quite common practice in the USSR, even for the smallest languages.

    For example, my copy of Nanai-Russian dictionary (Nanai-Locha Hesenkuni) published by “Locha Heseni” Publishers in Moscow has 5 page foreword in Nanai.

    Nanai is quite small language by all standards, author mentions in the foreword says that “SSSR-du bi nanaisal egdilechi 10,5 mingan nai”.

    Of course, it is a dictionary and presumably it is intended for use of native Nanai speakers, so translating foreword in its entirety into Nanai makes sense.

    And also, judging from his name, the author – Sulungu Nikolayevich Onenko – was apparently ethnic Nanai as well.

    I do wonder though how and why he got an Ukrainian surname….

  3. According to Russian Wikipedia, its a Nanaisky name:Оненко

    A google search gets a lot of results with Khabarovsk which fits.

  4. Ксёнѕ Фаўст says

    I do wonder though how and why he got an Ukrainian surname….

    When one looks up the demographics of various parts of ex-USSR, virtually everywhere there seem to be 2-4% of Ukrainians, from Estonia to Kamchatka. I guess there was a lot of migration for jobs, also fleeing from war and hunger, plus certainly forcible relocation. Let’s not forget Siberia was conquered with Cossack hands.

  5. It turns out that Onenko is indeed a Nanai surname, a Russified (or rather Ukrainized) form of native Nanai term Oninka (people from Oni river – also known as )

    Perhaps, the Russian official who first registered the surname Oninka simply spelled it like the more familiar Ukrainian surname (from Onisii, Ukrainian variant of Anysius – name of 5th century Greek saint ) .

  6. You can see little spots of Ukrainian all over the place on this ethnic map from 1941. (Pardon the suspicious absence of Poles in the Kresy.)

  7. It turns out that Onenko is indeed a Nanai surname – a Russified (or rather Ukrainized) form of native Nanai term Oninka (people from Oni or Anyuy_River(Khabarovsk_Krai))

    Perhaps, the Russian official who first registered the surname Oninka simply spelled it like the more familiar Ukrainian surname (from Onisii, Ukrainian variant of Anysius – name of 5th century Greek saint Anysius of Thessalonica) .

  8. Ксёнѕ Фаўст says

    (Pardon the suspicious absence of Poles in the Kresy.)

    Their presence on the map would undermine the validity of the Soviet ‘liberation of western Ukraine and Belarus’ two years earlier, wouldn’t it? I think there’s an inscription Поляки near Białystok but it’s not differentiated with a color (as if Поляки were a subgroup of Belarusians). Apart from the Ukrainian ‘islands’ there is other interesting stuff going on, e.g. Latgalians as an ethnicity separate from Latvians, a large German pocket remains on the Volga and smaller ones in the Ukrainian SSR (alongside Greeks and Bulgarians), Belarusians on the Tavda (Irtyš basin). Even some actual Евреи are marked near Birobidžan.

  9. I’m with Greg. Abstracts are short, so it’s not like duplicating an entire paper. In this day of computer fonts for every existing (and imagined) writing system, typesetting is not much of a barrier. Also, it gives the interested reader a block of text in the language to look at and puzzle over, which I’d think would increase reader interest.

  10. Nice to see babuy in the abstract, in there just being the Proto-Austronesian protoform, as my teacher Cal Watkins might have phrased it.

  11. I notice that in Seejiq Truku, the name of the Seejiq Truku seems to be just Truku while seejiq is a common noun meaning humans/people. Anybody know why they aren’t just called Truku in English too?

  12. This is probably a trend now.

    Found this PhD dissertation title:

    “kâ-yôskâtahk ôma nêhiyawêwin: THE REPRESENTATION OF INTENTIONALITY IN PLAINS CREE” by JEFFREY THOMAS MÜHLBAUER, University of British Columbia, 2008.

    He explains the title in the Introduction

    ᑳ ᔫᐢᑳᑖᕁ ᐆᒪ ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ.
    kâ-yôskâtahk ôma nêhiyawêwin.
    kâ-yôsk=ât =an-k aw =ima nêhiyaw=ê =win
    C2-soft =by.air=II -0 PRX=IN.SG cree =AI=NOM
    ‘The Plains Cree language is soft.’

    “kâ-yôskâtahk ôma” (‘soft by air’) is apparently a metaphor for the concept of “intentionality” in Cree.

  13. And an excellent trend it is!

  14. And another Cree dissertation, I just love the chapter names!

    “îkakwiy nîhiyawiyân : I am learning [to be] Cree” by McIvor, Onowa, University of British Columbia, 2012.

    macipayiwin (the beginning)
    Chapter 1. kayas (history and context)
    Chapter 2. masinahikan kiskihtamona (knowledge that is written or comes from books)
    Chapter 3. sihcikiwina (the way or method of doing something)
    Chapter 4. nitacimowin (my story)
    Chapter 5. kikwaya ka miskaman (what I have found)
    Chapter 6. iskwayac tihtamowina (final thoughts)
    ikosi (that is all)

  15. And this dissertation
    “n’!”qwcin (clear speech): 1,000 hours to mid-intermediate N’syilxcn proficiency (Indigenous language, Syilx, Okanagan-Colville, n’qilxwcn, Interior Salish)”
    by MICHELE KAY S7imla7xw JOHNSON,

    has its abstract repeated in Salish language in its entirety.

    Abstract in English starts with
    “way’, iskwíst (my name is) S!ímla!xw. According to Syilx ways, personal introductions come before any other words. I am Syilx, and related to the Simlas and Richters from Vernon and Ashnola BC. I am an N’syilxcn (n’qilxwcn, Okanagan-Colville, Interior Salish) language learner and teacher. ”

    If you were wondering, ‘Abstract’ in Interior Salish is “c!xit i! sqw”lqwilts”

  16. Another Cree thesis abstract – this time by Iranian engineering student.

    ‘It’s a sign of respect’: Non-Indigenous U of R PhD student writes thesis abstract in Cree
    International student encourages other grad students to do the same

  17. And here is the abstract in Cree.

    ka-astâhk itêyihcikan-yôski-mâmitonêyihcikan ita ka-osihtahk ka-nânahitâk-ocipitamihk isihcikêwina ka-tipêyihtamihk oyasiwêwina.

    âcimowinis: ka-nânahitâk-ocipitamihk osihtâwina ka-âstamêhk kâ-kanawêyihtamihk kîkwaya ta-tipêyihtamihk. kâ-ocipitamihk tipêyihtamihk oyasiwêwina (PPCP) oyasiwâtamihkk ispî êkwa ita ka-osihtahk, êkosi ka-âstamêhk kâ-kanawêyihtamihk kîkway êkwa êkosi nawac mistahi ka-kîsi-sâkaskinâhtahk itisahamâtowina. ôma nitawâpênikêwin kitâpahtamihk kâ-isi-osihtahk PPCPak nistam ka-osihtahk oyasiwêwina, kâ-ispayiki, êkwa ka-kanawâpahtamihk kotaka oyasiwêwina.

    which means

    Application of Adaptive Neuro-Fuzzy Inference Systems in Development of Just-In-Time Pull Product Control Policies

    Abstract: Just-in-Time manufacturing processes minimize inventory levels through effective control strategies. Pull Production Control Policies (PPCPs) authorize when and where to process, minimizing inventory levels while maximizing order fulfilment. This study investigates the development of PPCPs, by designing authorization mechanisms, measuring their performance, and evaluating alternative policies.

  18. This is great — good for the Americanists!

  19. I wonder how much engineering terminology in Cree there existed before this.

  20. I detect Cree word ‘yôsk’ (‘soft’) discussed a few comments earlier – “yôski” must be the new Cree term for “fuzzy” then.

    âcimowinis is formed in a typical Algonquin fashion.

    âcimow – to tell a story, âcimowin – story, âcimowinis – little story, here “abstract”.

    The language is well suited to producing neologisms, so I imagine with some degree of inventiveness any technical concept can be expressed in Cree.

  21. Azimov means “to tell a story”? Hmm.

  22. David Marjanović says

    Azimov means “to tell a story”? Hmm.

    Day saved.

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