10. The language of memory in East Cree

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The linguistic expressions of ‘memory’ and ‘remembering’ in East Cree span over several lexical, grammatical and discourse categories. The Cree data confirms that ‘memory’ is not a lexical universal. The Cree word <i>mituneyihchikan</i>encompasses all mental processes: thinking, feeling, knowing, understanding and remembering, with a focus on wholeness. There is a stronger cross-linguistic fit with the concept of ‘remember’, giving support to the claim that there could be a universal semantic interpretation for the ‘remember’-like constructions across languages. Two grammatical categories, absentative demonstratives and one type of evidential marking, are found to presuppose ‘remembering’ for felicitous use, as well as discourse practices typical of an oral tradition such as story telling and toponyms.


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