The First French-Huron Dictionary by Father Jean De BrÉbeuf and His Jesuit Brethren

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Adele Mellen Prize for Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship
This work provides, for the first time, the Jesuit lexical and grammatical description of the Huron language. It includes a translation and analysis of what may be the oldest surviving French-Huron dictionary composed by French-Jesuit missionaries, dated to sometime during the 1640s or 1650s. The work of the missionaries with Father Jean de Brébeuf’s early studies in the 1620s to Father Pierre Potier’s efforts during the mid-eighteenth century established a body of linguistic work unique from any other Aboriginal language in the Americas.


“. . . a very solid ethnohistorical and linguistic work that is a significant and profound contribution to a too-scanty literature of a neglected culture. And, if – as the author states – a dictionary speaks, as well, about the person who wrote it, then this work is a testament to nearly 40 years of focussed, sustained diligent scholarly research. The Wyandot, the Jesuits, and other academics owe a debt of gratitude for this monumental work.” – Dr. Bryan Cummins, McMaster University

“Such a publication is timely. . . . Books such as this are essential to the Huron descendants’ efforts at regaining their language in order to strengthen their deepest identity.” – Prof. Louis-Jacques Dorais, Université Laval

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