i've been studying lenape, the indigenous language of my area of origin, the Delaware River Valley, as it has been preserved in various sources. i've been studying on the lenape nation of pennsylvania's site www.lenapenation.org where there are lessons designed by Chief Shelley de Paul.
anyway, two of the 'idioms' i've noticed and found interesting in lenape are that 1) one can say 'this squirrel' (na hanikw), or, in order to be more specific as to the exact squirrel one is referring to, 'this here squirrel' (wa she hanikw). now doesn't this sound familiar? isn't that the way the so-called 'mountain people' used to talk? ("This here road, this here knife' etc -) it was considered substandard English. i always thought people who talked like that were supposed to be 'white people,' but it turns out, according to my research into their history, that i was mistaken. maybe that was why it was okay for them to be the object of humor by the dominant culture for so many years. just something to consider.
and 2) that the lenape had a way of saying 'you all' and also 'you' (but including me too). For example, let's say a group had set out on a journey but decided the weather was so bad the group had to turn back and go home. Someone might wish to say 'you all are going home now (but not me, i'm not going home, i'm going forward)' - this is the 'exclusive' form of 'you.' On the other hand someone might want to say in a rhetorical way for the sake of argument, 'you are going home now, and in the subtext, i am going home now too, but for the sake of argument let's just say that 'you' are going home now.' in other words, i'm not arguing with you here, but i want to make a point about this plan to go home. of course, if you go, i will go with you, but first let me present my ideas about going forward instead of going back. This is the inclusive 'you' which is more of a 'we.' I really 'get' the difference here, and when I first discovered this grammatical form, I got really excited about it. so here is how it looks in lenape: we are going home, nemachihena; you (excl) are going home, kemachihemo; you (incl) are going home, kemachihena.
there is nothing like studying another language to clue you in to completely other ways of thinking about things, about life. A whole other approach to life. it is really sad that the early explorers, friars and so forth did not have a better grasp on the cultural dimensions of the new languages they were struggling to learn and to teach. i wonder how that might have influenced the outcome of things.