Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The letter "8"

Q: In the section:  How is the Abenaki tribe organized?
in the final sentence, it reads "The leader or chief of each Abenaki band is
called sagama or sag8mo in their language."
I’m not sure but "sag8mo" seems like a typo.
Thanks for the info.

A:   Strange as it may seem, no... the "8" was an old linguistic symbol, used by missionaries, to represent a nasal "aw" sound as in "dawn," which is how the middle vowel in that word is actually pronounced.

Since most Native American languages were traditionally unwritten, the spelling systems that have been used for them have sometimes been a little on the unintuitive side.

Hope that is interesting to you. Have a good day!

Further reading:
Abenaki language
Abenaki alphabet
Abenaki tribe   

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