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Bungee (also Bungi, Bungie, Bungay, or The Red River Dialect) is a dialect of English that was influenced by Orkneymarker English, Scottish English, Cree, Ojibwe, and Scottish Gaelic. It was spoken until the mid-twentieth century in western Canadamarker in places connected with the Red River Colony (Saint Andrews Parish) by Métis descended from families of Scottishmarker fathers (voyageurs) and Cree or Ojibwa mothers (retired from the Hudson's Bay Company) and their descendants. Only a few speakers of Bungee remain.


Their name is derived from either the Anishinaabe word "bangii" or the Cree word "pahkī", meaning "little bit" in both languages.

Bungee speakers report that the name Bungee means "Native" although one speaker reported that it meant "half-Native and half-(European)-non-Native".


The main linguistic documentation of this dialect lies within Blain (1987, 1989) and Walter (1969-1970).

The lexicon is mostly English with words from Cree and Ojibwa and interspersed throughout.

Many speakers in Blain's studies were ashamed to speak the dialect as the speech community members were discriminated against by other social groups.

The major difference with other dialects is in the phonology (sound system & pronunciation). Voice quality differences are noticeably apparent.

See also


  1. Wurm et al. (1996: 1178).


  • Barkwell, Lawrence J., Dorion, Leah; & Hourie, Audreen. (2006). Metis legacy: Michif culture, heritage, and folkways. Metis legacy series (Vol. 2). Saskatoon: Gabriel Dumont Institute. ISBN 0920915809
  • Barkwell, Lawrence; Dorion, Leah; & Préfontaine, Darren R. (n.d.). Annotated bibliography and references in Metis legacy.
  • Blain, Eleanor M. (1987). Speech of the lower Red River settlement. In W. Cowan (Ed.), Papers of the eighteenth Algonquian Conference (pp. 7–16). Ottawa: Carleton University.
  • Blain, Eleanor M. (1989). The Bungee dialect of the Red River settlement. (MA thesis, University of Manitobamarker).
  • Blain, Eleanor M. (1994). The Red River dialect. Winnipeg: Wuerz Publishing.
  • Bungee (Canadian Encyclopedia)
  • Cansino, Barbara. (1980, March 26). Bungi in Petersfield: An 81 year old writes about the Red River dialect. Winnipegmarker Free Press.
  • Scott, S. Osborne; & Mulligan, D. A. (1951, December). The Red River dialect. The Beaver, 42-45.
  • Scott, S. Osborne; & Mulligan, D. A. (1951). The Red River dialect. In J. K. Chambers (Ed.), Canadian English: Origins and structures (pp. 61–63). Toronto: Methuen.
  • Pentland, David H. (1985, March 9). Métchif and Bungee: Languages of the fur trade. (Paper presented in the series Voices of Rupert's Land: Public Lectures on Language and Culture in Early Manitoba.
  • Swan, Ruth Ellen. (1991). Ethnicity and the Canadianization of Red River politics (p. 133). (MA thesis, Winnipeg, University of Manitoba).
  • Stobie, Margaret. (1967-1968). Backgrounds of the dialect called Bungi. Historical and Scientific Society of Manitoba, 3 (24), 65-67. (Online:
  • Stobie, Margaret. (1971). The dialect called Bungi. Canadian Antiques Collector, 6 (8), 20.
  • Walters, Frank J. (1969-1970). Bungee as she is spoke. Red River Valley Historian and History News. The Quarterly Journal of the Red River Valley Historical Society, 3 (4), 68-70.
  • Wurm, Stephen A.; Mühlhäuser, Peter; & Tryon, Darrell H. (Eds.). (1996). Atlas of languages of intercultural communication in the Pacific, Asia, and the Americas (Vol. II.2). Trends in linguistics: Documentation (No. 13). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

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