Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Essays in Algonquian, Catawban and Siouan Linguistics in Memory of Frank T. Siebert, Jr

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Essays in Algonquian, Catawban and Siouan Linguistics in Memory of Frank T. Siebert, Jr

Article excerpt

Blair A. Rudes and David J. Costa (eds), Essays in Algonquian, Catawban and Siouan Linguistics in Memory of Frank T. Siebert, Jr.. Algonquian and Iroquian Linguistics Memoir 16 (Winnipeg: Department of Linguistics, University of Manitoba, 2003), ix + 296pp. Paper. $40. ISBN 0-9210-6416-0.

Frank T. Sibert, Jr (1912-98) was a man of many parts. Trained as a medical doctor, his library of more than 500 items relating to North American Indians and the American Frontier was auctioned by Sotheby's in May 1999. But it is as a linguist working on native American languages that he will be remembered. An eminent contemporary in that field described him as 'clearly the most brilliant and competent . . . that there has ever been, hands down'. Yet this festschrift tells us very little about him. It does cite a four-page obituary, a memorial volume of personal reminiscences from friends and colleagues, and two bibliographies. Few scholars in minority fields receive such posthumous acclaim. Unfortunately, for readers in the United Kingdom at least, these tributes and records appeared in relatively obscure serial publications.

Siebert's interest in native American languages began at the age of twenty, when he began fieldwork on the Penobscot language of northern Maine on the way home from a family holiday in Quebec. (He outlived the last fluent native Penobscot speaker by five years.) The festschrift focuses on the three language families that were the objects of his research: Algonquian, Catawban and Siouan. …

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