Cayuga for "our language"
|Native to||Canada, United States|
|Region||Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation, Cattaraugus Reservation|
|61 (2016 census)|
Cayuga (In Cayuga Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ) is a Northern Iroquoian language of the Iroquois Proper (also known as "Five Nations Iroquois") subfamily, and is spoken on Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation, Ontario, by around 240 Cayuga people, and on the Cattaraugus Reservation, New York, by less than 10.
The Iroquois or Haudenosaunee are a historically powerful northeast Native American confederacy. They were known during the colonial years to the French as the Iroquois League, and later as the Iroquois Confederacy, and to the English as the Five Nations, comprising the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, and Seneca. After 1722, they accepted the Tuscarora people from the Southeast into their confederacy and became known as the Six Nations.
Cattaraugus Reservation is an Indian reservation of the federally recognized Seneca Nation of Indians, formerly part of the Iroquois Confederacy located in New York. As of the 2000 census, the Indian reservation had a total population of 2,412. Its total area is about 34.4 mi² (89.1 km²). The reservation stretches from Lake Erie inward along Cattaraugus Creek, along either side of NY 438. It is divided among three counties for census purposes:
Six Nations Polytechnic in Ohsweken, Ontario, offers Ogwehoweh language diploma and degree programs in Mohawk or Cayuga.Immersion classes in Cayuga are taught at Gaweni:yo High School, on the Six Nations of the Grand River reserve. The Cayuga language maintenance project was funded by the Canadian Government in 2010, and is being "carried out in partnership with the Woodland Cultural Centre." A Cayuga e-dictionary can be downloaded for PC or MAC, free of charge.
Six Nations Polytechnic (SNP) is a Haudenosaunee-owned and controlled post-secondary institution at Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation. The Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation are the Mohawk, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Seneca, and Tuscarora. The Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation reserve acreage at present covers some 46,000 acres near the city of Brantford, Ontario.
Ohsweken,, is a village on the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation Indian reserve near Brantford, Ontario, Canada. Approximately 300 of the 2,700 homes on the reserve are in Ohsweken, and it is the site of the reserve governmental and administrative offices.
The Iroquoian languages are a language family of indigenous peoples of North America. They are known for their general lack of labial consonants. The Iroquoian languages are polysynthetic and head-marking.
As of 2012, 79 people were said to be fluent speakers of Cayuga.
There used to be two distinct dialects of Cayuga. One is still spoken in Ontario. The other, called "Seneca-Cayuga", was spoken in Oklahoma until its extinction in the 1980s.
There are two varieties of Cayuga. The Lower Cayuga dialect is spoken by those of the Lower End of the Six Nations and the Upper Cayuga are from the Upper End. The main difference between the two is that the Lower Cayuga use the sound [ɡj] and the Upper use the sound [dj]. Also, pronunciation differs between individual speakers of Cayuga and their preferences.
There are 5 oral vowels in Cayuga, as well as four long vowels, [iː], [aː], [oː], and [eː]. Cayuga also has 3 nasalized vowels, [ẽ], [õ], and [ã]. Both [u] and [ã] are rare sounds in Cayuga. Sometimes, the sounds [u] and [o] are used interchangeably according to the speaker's preference. After long [eː] and [oː], an [n] sound can be heard, especially when before [t], [d], [k], [ɡ], [ts], and [j].
Vowels can be devoiced allophonically, indicated in the orthography used at Six Nations by underlining them.
|Mid||/e/||/eː/||/ẽ/ /ẽː/||/o/||/oː/||/õ/ /õː/|
Length is important because it alone can distinguish two completely different meanings from one another. For example:
[haʔseʔ] you are going
[haʔseː] you went
Following are some words that demonstrate what some vowels sound like when they occur before [h]. [ehaʔ], [ẽhaʔ], [ohaʔ], and [õha], [e] and [ẽ] sound like a whispered [j], and [o] and [õ] sound like a whispered [w]. Furthermore, the [ã] in [ẽhãʔ] and [õhã] is nasalized because of [ẽ] and [õ]. The consonant before the nasalized vowel becomes voiceless. Also, odd-numbered vowels followed by [h] are devoiced, while even-numbered vowels followed by [h] are not.
Allophonic variations that occur in Cayuga:
/d/ becomes devoiced [t] before devoiced consonants. The sound [d] does not exist word-finally.
/ɡ/ becomes devoiced [k] before devoiced consonants.
/s/ becomes [ʃ] before [j] or [ɹ].
/dʒ/ becomes [dz] and [ds] before [a] and [o], respectively. Speakers may use [dz] and [ds] interchangeably according to the speaker's preference.
/w/ can be voiceless (sounds like [h] followed by [w]).
/j/ can also be voiceless (sounds like [h] followed by [j])
/h/: "A vowel devoices if the vowel and a following [h] are in an odd-numbered syllable." For example:
the [õ] in [ehjádõ̥hkʷaʔ]
The vowel is voiced when it and a following /h/ are in an even-numbered syllable and in "absolute word-initial position or in word-final position, or preceded by another [h]." For example:
[ʃehóːwih] 'tell her'
[ehjáːdõh] 'she writes'
Most words have accented vowels, resulting in a higher pitch.Where the stress is placed is dependent on the "position of the word in the phrase." The default location for stress for nouns is on final vowel. "In words that are at the end of a phrase, accent falls on the 2nd last vowel, the 3rd last vowel, or occasionally, on the 4th vowel from the end of the word." For example:
[neɡitsõˊː aɡaːtõˊːdeʔ] 'I just heard it'
These sounds are long, especially in an even-numbered position. When nouns and verbs are not at the end of a phrase, accent is placed on the final vowel.For example:
[aɡaːtõːdéʔ tsõː teʔ niːʔ dedéːɡẽːʔ] 'I heard it, I didn't see it'
Cayuga is a polysynthetic language. As with other Iroquoian languages, the verbal template contains an optional prepronominal prefix, a pronominal prefix (indicating agreement), an optional incorporated noun, a verbal root, and an aspectual suffix. The nominal template consists of an agreement prefix (usually neuter for non-possessed nouns), the nominal root, and a suffix.
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