Conference on Proto-Algonquian

Conference on Proto-Algonquian
Saturday, March 2, 2024

The Canadian Studies Program is proud to announce a one-day conference honoring the late David Pentland of the University of Manitoba on the occasion of the posthumous publication of his Proto- Algonquian Dictionary . The conference will bring together scholars from across the United States and Canada to celebrate this significant milestone in Algonquian scholarship, and to celebrate Dr. Pentland's life and career as a prominent scholar in the field of Algonquian studies.

Ever since Leonard Bloomfield published his groundbreaking 1946 sketch outlining the sound system and basic morphology of Proto-Algonquian, refinements of the details of sound change and the reconstruction of Proto-Algonquian has been a central part of Algonquian linguistics. But the close similarities among most of the languages has led to a plethora of proposed reconstructions that are often not fully consistent with one another. Pentland’s dictionary has been a long-awaited step forward, bringing a new level of rigor and consistency to the field. Of course, it will also be a springboard to a range of new questions about methodology, classification, and borrowing. And we cannot discount the window on Algonquian culture such a comprehensive work provides. Speakers at the conference will address these questions and more.

Please join us to celebrate David and his contribution to our field. The conference is at no cost, but you will need to register to attend either in person or over Zoom. Please email us at to RSVP.

Check-in and Welcome, 9:30-9:45 AM

Remembrance of David Pentland, 9:45-10:00 AM

Session 1, 9:45-12:15 pm

  • Will Oxford, University of Manitoba
    "The Proto-Algonquian of David Pentland's Dictionary"
  • Kevin Brousseau, Moose Cree First Nation
    Discourse on Proto-Cree
  • David Costa, Miami University
    "The Lexical Basis of Core Central Algonquian"

Lunch Break, 12:15-1:30 pm

Session 2, 1:30-4:00 pm

  • Ives Goddard, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
    "Archaic Phonological Contrasts in Eastern Algonquian"
  • Richard A. Rhodes, UC Berkeley
    "Some Implications of Classifications for the Reconstruction of Proto-Algonquian"
  • Rose-Marie Déchaine, University of British Columbia
    "Negation Across Algonquian"

This conference will be held on the UC Berkeley campus and will be open to the public. The intended audience is academics with familiarity with Algonquian linguistics, or Proto-Algonquian more specifically.

This conference is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Canadian Consulate General in San Francisco and is co-sponsored by the Department of Linguistics.