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Beyond Ainu StudiesChanging Academic and Public Perspectives$
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Mark J. Hudson, Ann-Elise Lewallen, and Mark K. Watson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836979

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836979.001.0001

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From Collecting Words to Writing Grammars

From Collecting Words to Writing Grammars

A Brief History of Ainu Linguistics

(p.185) 12 From Collecting Words to Writing Grammars
Beyond Ainu Studies

Kirsten Refsing

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter presents the international history of research into Ainu linguistics. It particularly demonstrates how preoccupation with the genetic affiliations and distinct attributes of the Ainu language have long made linguistic research an empirical device for defending particular theoretical and political positions. In the work of early twentieth-century missionary John Batchelor, for example, research into Ainu grammar became not only a medium for conjecture about Ainu racial origins and other topics of colonial concern. In addition, there are vibrant and ongoing traditions of collaborative work between Ainu and non-Ainu on oral literature, dialects, place names, and language revival. In this context, language is an important site of intercultural resistance against scientific colonialism.

Keywords:   Ainu language, Ainu grammar, Ainu oral literature, scientific colonialism, prescriptive grammarian, Ainu Studies scholar

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