Michif, a severely endangered language still spoken today by an estimated 100–200 Métis people in Western Canada, is generally classified as a mixed language, meaning it cannot be traced back to a single language family [Bakker (1997). A Language of Our Own (Oxford University Press, Oxford); Thomason (2001). Language Contact: An Introduction (Edinburgh University Press and Georgetown University Press, Edinburgh and Washington, DC); Meakins (2013). Contact Languages: A Comprehensive Guide (Mouton De Gruyter, Berlin), pp. 159–228.]. It has been claimed to maintain the phonological grammar of both of its source languages, French and Plains Cree [Rhodes (1977). Actes du Huitieme congrès des Algonqunistes (Carleton University, Ottawa), pp. 6–25; Bakker (1997). A Language of Our Own (Oxford University Press, Oxford); Bakker and Papen (1997). Contact Languages: A Wider Perspective (John Benjamins, Amsterdam), pp. 295–363]. The goal of this paper is twofold: to offer an instrumental analysis of Michif vowels and to investigate this claim of a stratified grammar, based on this careful phonetic analysis. Using source language as a variable in the analysis, the authors argue the Michif vowel system does not appear to rely on historical information, and that historically similar French and Cree vowels pattern together within the Michif system with regards to formant frequencies and duration. The authors show that there are nine Michif oral vowels in this system, which has merged phonetically similar French- and Cree-source vowels.

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