5:30 pm to 7 pm
“Native Tongues: Threatening Speech and Language Exchange in the Borderlands of the Colonial Northeast”
Katherine Grandjean, Wellesley College
In early America the “frontier” existed in the realm of talk and rumor as much as it did on the ground. Nowhere was that fact more evident than in the borderlands between New England and New Netherland in the mid-seventeenth century. Although the English and Dutch colonies are rarely studied together, they were closely connected by Long Island Sound. More language exchange occurred, here, than scholars have realized. Where trade brought together the English, Dutch, and Algonquian worlds, people talked—and not always in the same tongue. Still, shared language did not always lead to greater understanding. Many spoke threateningly. For Native people leveraging against the growing heft of the English colonies, threatening speech may have proved an especially effective “weapon.”
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