Choctaw language

Last updated
Choctaw
Chahta
Native to United States
Regionfrom Southeastern Oklahoma,to east central Mississippi and into Louisiana and Tennessee
Ethnicity20,000 Choctaw (2007) [1]
Native speakers
9,600 (2015 census) [1]
Muskogean
  • Western
    • Choctaw
Language codes
ISO 639-2 cho
ISO 639-3 cho
Glottolog choc1276 [2]
Oklahoma Indian Languages.png
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

The Choctaw language, traditionally spoken by the Native American Choctaw people of the southeastern United States, is a member of the Muskogean family. Chickasaw, Choctaw and Houma form the Western branch of the Muskogean language family. Although Chickasaw is sometimes listed as a dialect of Choctaw, more extensive documentation of Chickasaw has shown that Choctaw and Chickasaw are best treated as separate but closely related languages. [3]

Contents

Orthography

Rev. Cyrus Byington worked nearly 50 years translating the bible into Choctaw. He stayed with the Choctaws in Mississippi before removal and followed them to Indian Territory after their forced relocation. Cyrus Byington.png
Rev. Cyrus Byington worked nearly 50 years translating the bible into Choctaw. He stayed with the Choctaws in Mississippi before removal and followed them to Indian Territory after their forced relocation.

The written Choctaw language is based upon the English version of the Roman alphabet and was developed in conjunction with the civilization program of the United States in the early 19th century. Although there are other variations of the Choctaw alphabet, the three most commonly seen are the Byington (Traditional), Byington/Swanton (Linguistic), and Modern (Mississippi Choctaw).

Many publications by linguists about the Choctaw language use a slight variant of the "modern (Mississippi Choctaw)" orthography listed here, where long vowels are written as doubled. In the "linguistic" version, the acute accent shows the position of the pitch accent, rather than the length of the vowel.

The discussion of Choctaw grammar below uses the linguistic variant of the orthography.

The Choctaw "Speller" alphabet as found in the Chahta Holisso Ai Isht Ia Vmmona - The Choctaw Spelling Book, 1800s. Choctaw alphabet (Speller).svg
The Choctaw "Speller" alphabet as found in the Chahta Holisso Ai Isht Ia Ʋmmona – The Choctaw Spelling Book, 1800s.
The Choctaw linguistic alphabet as found in the Choctaw Language Dictionary by Cyrus Byington and edited by John Swanton, 1909. Choctaw alphabet (Byington).svg
The Choctaw linguistic alphabet as found in the Choctaw Language Dictionary by Cyrus Byington and edited by John Swanton, 1909.
The Modern Choctaw alphabet as used by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Present. Choctaw alphabet.svg
The Modern Choctaw alphabet as used by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Present.
IPALinguisticCBTC MississippiTraditionalByington/Swanton
Vowels
aa
ii
oo
Long
aaááa
ā
iiííe, i
ī
ooóóo
ō
Nasal
ãːaąaaⁿ
+Cam, an
ĩːiįiiⁿ
+Cim, in
õːoǫooⁿ
+Com, on, um, un
Lax
əaʋ
ɪi
ʊou
Consonants
bb
chčch
ff
hh
kk
ll
ɬlhłhl, lh ł, lh
mm
nn
pp
ss
ʃshšsh
tt
ww
jy
ʔ'
  1. ^ Choctaw Bible Translation Committee
  2. ^ Substituted with 'v' according to typesetting or encoding constraints.
  3. ^ The former is used before a vowel; the latter, before a consonant. The intervocalic use of <hl> conflated the common consonant cluster /hl/ with /ɬ/.
  4. ^ Dictionary editors John Swanton and Henry Halbert systematically replaced all instances of <hl> with <ł>, regardless whether <hl> stood for /ɬ/ or /hl/. Despite the editors' systematic replacement of all <hl> with <ł>, the digraph <lh> was allowed to stand.

Dialects

There are three dialects of Choctaw (Mithun 1999):

  1. "Native" Choctaw on the Choctaw Nation in southeastern Oklahoma
  2. Mississippi Choctaw of Oklahoma on Chickasaw Nation of south central Oklahoma (near Durwood)
  3. Choctaw of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians near Philadelphia, Mississippi

Other speakers live near Tallahassee, Florida, and with the Koasati in Louisiana, and also a few speakers live in Texas and California.

Phonology

Consonants

Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
central lateral
Nasal m n
Stop 1 p   b t k ʔ 2
Affricate ch [ ]
Fricative f s 3 ɬ sh [ ʃ 3 ] h
Approximant l y [ j ] w
  1. ^ The only voiced stop is /b/. The voiceless stops /p/, /t/, and /k/ may become partially voiced between vowels, especially /k/ and for male speakers. Also, the voiceless stops are slightly aspirated at the onset of words [4] and before stressed syllables, behaving like English voiceless plosives.
  2. ^ Controversially, analyses suggest that all nouns end in an underlying consonant phoneme. [5] Nouns apparently ending in a vowel actually have a glottal stop /ʔ/ or a glottal fricative /h/ as the final consonant. Such consonants become realized when suffixes are attached.
  3. ^ The distinction between phonemes /s/ and /ʃ/ is neutralized at the end of words.

Free variation

  1. /ɬ/, the voiceless lateral fricative, is pronounced as a voiceless dental fricative [θ]. [6]
/ɬ/[θ]
  1. The voiceless labiodental fricative /f/ is pronounced as a voiceless bilabial fricative [ɸ]. [6]
/f/[ɸ]

Phonological processes of consonants

/k/[ɣ]/V_V
imofi-aki-lih→imofiy-əɣə̃:-lih
/h/[ç]/_
katihchish→katiçtʃiʃ

Vowels

Short 1 Long Nasal 2
tenselax
Close front iɪĩː~ẽː
Close-mid back oʊõː
Open central aəãː
  1. ^ Lax vowels occur more often in closed syllables. [7] In traditional orthography, ʋ usually indicates [ə] and u usually indicates [ʊ]. Exceptions include pokoli (traditional) for /pʊk.koli/, imalakusi for /imaːlakosi/. The traditional orthography doesn't distinguish lax and tense front vowels, instead it indicates /iː/ with e.
  2. ^ Nasal vowels are intrinsically long.

Pitch

  1. In Choctaw, very few words are distinguished only by pitch accent. [7] Nouns in Choctaw have pitch realization at the penultimate syllable or the ultimate syllable. [7] Verbs in Choctaw will have pitch realization at morphemes indicating tense, but sometimes, pitch directly precedes the tense morpheme. [7]

Syllable structure

Syllables of Choctaw [8]

SyllableTypeExample
VLighta.bih
CVLightno.sih
VVHeavyii.chih
CVVHeavypii.ni'
VHeavya.chi'
CVHeavyta.chi'
VCHeavyish.ki'
CVCHeavyha.bish.ko'
VVCSuper Heavyóok.cha-cha
CVVCSuper Heavynáaf.ka'
VCSuper Heavyat
CVCSuper Heavyok.hish
*(C)VCCSuper Heavytablit.tapt
*CCVSuper Heavyski.tii.nnih
  1. As is in the chart above, there are three syllable structure types in Choctaw: light, heavy, and super heavy. Possible syllables in Choctaw must contain at least one vowel of any quality. [9]
  2. Syllables cannot end with a consonant clusters CC. However, there is an exception with the structure *(C)VCC if a word in Choctaw ends with the suffix /-t/. [9]
  3. Syllables do not begin with consonant clusters CC, but there is an exception in an initial /i-/ deletion, which results in a syllable *CCV . [9]

Rhythmic lengthening

  • Rhythmic lengthening is the process of lengthening the vowel duration of an even-numbered CV syllable in Choctaw. However, vowels at the end of words are not permitted to undergo that process. Also, if an even-numbered syllable is a verbal prefixes class I or III, the affix's vowel may not undergo lengthening, and the same holds true for noun prefixes class III as well. [10]
CV-CV-CVC→CV-CV:-CVC
salahatok→sala:hatok

Smallest possible word

  • The smallest possible word in Choctaw must contain either two short vowels or one long vowel. [8]
a:t
  • /A-/ insertion: there are verbs with only one short vowel in their roots. Without an affix attached to the verb root, the verbs become impossible utterances because Choctaw requires either two short vowel or a long vowel for a word to be formed. An initial A- prefix is thus attached to the root of the verb. [11]
*bih → a-bih

Phonological processes

Glide insertion

  • When a verb root ends with a long vowel, a glide /w/ or /j/ is inserted after the long vowel. [12]
  • ∅→/wa/ / V:____
  1. Where V: is oo
  2. boo-a-h→bóowah
  • ∅→/ja/ / V:____
  1. Where V: can be either ii or aa
  2. talaa-a-h→talaayah

/i-/ deletion

  • In Choctaw, there is a group of nouns which contain an initial /i-/ that encodes for 3rd person possession. It may be deleted, but if the /i/ is part of a VC syllable structure, the C is also deleted, because the resulting CCV syllable is rarely a permissible syllable structure at the onset of words. [13]
/i/→∅ / #____
Part 1: /i + C/→∅ + /C/ / #____
Part 2: /∅ + C/→∅ / #____
ippókni'→ppókni'→pókni'

/-l-/ infix assimilation

  • The verbal infix /l/ is pronounced /h, ch, or ɬ/ when /l/ precedes a voiceless consonant. [14]
l → {h, tʃ, ɬ} /_C[-voice]
ho-l-tinah → ho-ɬ-tinah

Phonological processes of the suffix /-li/

  • There are several assimilation processes that occur with the suffix /-li/. When the verbal suffix /-li/ is preceded by /f/ /ɫ/ /h/ /m/ /n/ or /w/, the /l/ assimilates to the corresponding consonant that precedes it. [15] Also, the verbal suffix /-li/ is preceded by the consonant /b/, the /l/ is realized as /b/. [15] Third, when the verbal suffix /-li/ is preceded by the consonant /p/, the /p/ is pronounced as /b/. [15] Lastly, when the verbal suffix /-li/ is preceded by the consonant /t/, the /t/ is pronounced as /l/. [15]
/l/→/f, ɫ, h, m, n, w/ / /f, ɫ, h, m, n, w/____
/kobaf-li-h/→ kobaaffih
/l/→/b/ / /b/____
/atob-li-h/→ atobbih
/p/→/b/ / /b/____
/tap-li-h/→ tablih
/t/→/l/ / ____/l/
/palhat-li-h/→ pallalih
  • There are two deletion processes that occur with the suffix /-li/. If the verbal suffix /-li/ precedes the verbal suffix /-tʃi/, the suffix /-li/ may be deleted if the resulting syllable, after deletion, is a consonant cluster. [16] The other process occurs when the verbal suffix /-li/ precedes the suffix /-t/, which results with the suffix /-li/ being sometimes deleted if the syllable /-li/ has not already gone under phonological processes as described above. [17]
/li/→∅ / ____/tʃi/
balii-li-chi-h→balii-chi-h
/li/→∅ / ____/t/
balii-li--h→balii-t

Schwa insertion

  • Schwa insertion: when a glottal fricative /h/ or a velar stop /k/ precedes a voiced consonant within a consonant cluster, a schwa /ə/ is inserted to break up the consonant cluster. [18]
∅→/ə///h/____[+voiced] consonant
∅→/ə///k/____[+voiced] consonant
'ahnih'→/ahənih/

Vowel deletion

  • Vowel deletion is the process of a short vowel being deleted at a morpheme boundary. It occurs when an affix containing a short vowel at the morpheme boundary binds to a word that also contains a short vowel at the morpheme boundary. [19]
  1. For most vowel deletion cases, the preceding short vowel is deleted at the morpheme boundary. [19]
V→∅ / ____V
/baliili-aatʃĩ-h/→baliilaatʃĩh
  1. If a class II suffix attaches to a word that results with two short vowels occurring together, the short vowel that follows the class II suffix is deleted. [19]
V→∅ / V____
/sa-ibaa-waʃoohah/→sabaa-waʃoohah

Morphology and grammar

Verbal morphology

Choctaw verbs display a wide range of inflectional and derivational morphology. In Choctaw, the category of verb may also include words that would be categorized as adjectives or quantifiers in English. Verbs may be preceded by up to three prefixes and followed by as many as five suffixes. In addition, verb roots may contain infixes that convey aspectual information.

Verb prefixes

The verbal prefixes convey information about the arguments of the verb: how many there are and their person and number features. The prefixes can be divided into three sorts: agreement markers, applicative markers, and anaphors (reflexives and reciprocals). The prefixes occur in the following order: agreement-anaphor-applicative-verb stem.

Agreement affixes

The agreement affixes are shown in the following chart. The only suffix among the personal agreement markers is the first-person singular class I agreement marker /-li/. Third-person is completely unmarked for class I and class II agreement arguments and never indicates number. [20]

person markersclass Iclass IIclass IIIclass Nimperative
+s+C+V+C/i+a/o+C+V+C+V+C+V
first-personsingularinitial-lisa-si-a-am-ak-n/a
medial-sa--sam-
paucal ii-il-pi-pi-pim-kii-kil-
pluralhapi-hapi-hapim-
second-personsingularis-ish-chi-chi-chim-chik-
pluralhas-hash-hachi-hachi-hachim-hachik-ho-oh-
third-personi-im-ik-

Some authors (Ulrich 1986, Davies, 1986) refer to class I as actor or nominative, class II as patient or accusative and class III as dative. Broadwell prefers the neutral numbered labels because the actual use of the affixes is more complex. This type of morphology is generally referred to as active–stative and polypersonal agreement.

Class I affixes always indicate the subject of the verb. Class II prefixes usually indicate direct object of active verbs and the subject of stative verbs. Class III prefixes indicate the indirect object of active verbs. A small set of stative psychological verbs have class III agreement subjectsthe direct object; an even smaller set of stative verbs dealing primarily with affect, communication and intimacy have class III direct object.

Active verbs

As the chart above shows, there is no person-number agreement for third person arguments. Consider the following paradigms:

hablitok ("kicked", past tense)
DIRECT OBJECT
SUBJECT
first-personsecond-personthird-person
singular paucal pluralsingularplural
first-personsingularili-habli-li-tok 1
'I kicked myself'
pi-habli-li-tok
'I kicked us (few)'
hapi-habli-li-tok
'I kicked us (all)'
chi-habli-li-tok
'I kicked you'
hachi-habli-li-tok
'I kicked you (pl.)'
habli-li-tok
'I kicked her/him/it/them'
pluralii-sa-habli-tok
'we kicked me'
il-ili-habli-tok 1
'we kicked ourselves'
ii-chi-habli-tok
'we kicked you'
ii-hachi-habli-tok
'we kicked you (pl.)'
ii-habli-tok
'we kicked her/him/it/them'
second-personsingularis-sa-habli-tok
'you kicked me'
ish-pi-habli-tok
'you kicked us (few)'
ish-hapi-habli-tok
'you kicked us (all)'
ish-ili-habli-tok 1
'you kicked yourself'
ish-hachi-habli-tok
'ýou kicked you (pl.)'
ish-habli-tok
'you kicked her/him/it/them'
pluralhas-sa-habli-tok
'you (pl.) kicked me'
hash-pi-habli-tok
'you (pl.) kicked us (few)'
hash-hapi-habli-tok
'you (pl.) kicked us (all)'
hash-chi-habli-tok
'you (pl.) kicked you'
hash-ili-habli-tok 1
'you (pl.) kicked yourselves'
hash-habli-tok
'you (pl.) kicked her/him/it/them'
third-personsa-habli-tok
'she/he/it/they kicked me'
pi-habli-tok
'she/etc. kicked us (few)'
hapi-habli-tok
'she/etc. kicked us (all)'
chi-habli-tok
'she/etc. kicked you'
hachi-habli-tok
'she/etc. kicked you (pl.)'
habli-tok
"she/etc. kicked her/him/it/them"
ili-habli-tok 1
'she/etc. kicked herself/etc.'
  1. ^ When the subject and object refer to the same thing or person (coreference), the reflexive ili- prefix is mandatory and used in place of the coreferent object.

Transitive active verbs seemingly with class III direct objects:

  • Am-anoli-tok 'She/he/it/they told me.'
  • Chim-anoli-tok 'She/he/it/they told you.'
  • Im-anoli-tok 'She/he/it/they told him/her/it/them.'
  • Pim-anoli-tok 'She/he/it/they told us.'
  • Hachim-anoli-tok 'She/he/it/they told y'all.'

When a transitive verb occurs with more than one agreement prefix, I prefixes precede II and III prefixes:

Iichipí̱satok.
Ii-chi-pí̱sa-tok
1pI-2sII-seeNGR-PT
'We saw you.'
Ishpimanoolitok.
Ish-pim-anooli-tok.
2sI-1pIII-tell-PT
'You told us.'

For intransitive verbs, the subjects of active verbs typically have class I agreement. Because third-person objects are unmarked, intransitive active verbs are indistinguishable in form from transitive active verbs with a third-person direct object.

Stative verbs

The subjects of stative verbs typically have II agreement. A small set of psychological verbs have subjects with class III agreement. [21]

Baliililitok.
Baliili-li-tok
run-1sI-PT
'I ran.'
Saniyah.
Sa-niya-h.
1sII-fat-TNS
'I am fat.'
a̱ponnah.
a̱-ponna-h.
1sIII-skilled-TNS
'I am skilled.'
Negatives

The set of agreement markers labelled N above is used with negatives. [22] Negation is multiply marked, requiring that an agreement marker from the N set replace the ordinary I agreement, the verb appear in the lengthened grade (see discussion below), and that the suffix /-o(k)-/ follow the verb, with deletion of the preceding final vowel. The optional suffix /-kii/ may be added after /-o(k)-/. Consider the following example:

  • Akíiyokiittook.
  • Ak-íiya-o-kii-ttook
  • 1sN-goLGR-NEG-NEG-DPAST
  • 'I did not go.'

Compare this with the affirmative counterpart:

  • Iyalittook
  • Iya-li-ttook.
  • go-1sI-DPAST
  • 'I went'.

To make this example negative, the 1sI suffix /-li/ is replaced by the 1sN prefix /ak-/; the verb root iya is lengthened and accented to yield íiya; the suffix /-o/ is added, the final vowel of iiya is deleted, and the suffix /-kii/ is added.

Anaphoric prefixes

Reflexives are indicated with the /ili-/ prefix, and reciprocals with /itti-/: [23]

  • Ilipísalitok.
  • li-pí̱sa-li-tok.
  • REFL-seeNGR-1sI-PT
  • 'I saw myself'.

Verb suffixes

While the verbal prefixes indicate relations between the verb and its arguments, the suffixes cover a wider semantic range, including information about valence, modality, tense and evidentiality.

The following examples show modal and tense suffixes like /-aachii̱/ 'irrealis'(approximately equal to future), /-tok/ 'past tense', /-h/ 'default tenses': [24]

Baliilih.
Baliili-h.
run-TNS
'She runs.'
Baliilaachi̱h.
Baliili-aachi̱-h.
run-IRR-TNS
'She will run.'

There are also suffixes that show evidentiality, or the source of evidence for a statement, as in the following pair: [25]

Nipi' awashlihli.
Nipi' awashli-hli
meat fry-first:hand
'She fried the meat.' (I saw/heard/smelled her do it.)
Nipi' awashlitoka̱sha.
Nipi' awashli-tok-a̱sha
meat fry-PT-guess
'She fried the meat.' (I guess)

There are also suffixes of illocutionary force which may indicate that the sentence is a question, an exclamation, or a command: [26]

Awashlitoko̱?
Awashli-tok-o̱
fry-PT-Q
'Did she fry it?'
Chahta' siahokii!
Chahta' si-a-h-okii
Choctaw 1sII-be-TNS-EXCL
'I'm Choctaw!' or 'I certainly am a Choctaw!'

Verbal infixes

Choctaw verb stems have various infixes that indicate their aspect. [27] These stem variants are traditionally referred to as 'grades'. The table below shows the grades of Choctaw, along with their main usage.

Name of GradeHow it is formedWhen it is used
n-gradeinfix n in the next to last (penultimate) syllable; put accent on this syllableto show that the action is durative (lasts some definite length of time)
l-gradeput accent on next to last (penultimate) syllable; lengthen the vowel if the syllable is openbefore a few common suffixes, such as the negative /-o(k)/ and the switch-reference markers /-cha/ and /-na/
hn-gradeinsert a new syllable /-hV̱/ after the (original) next to last (penultimate) syllable. V̱ is a nasalized copy of the vowel that precedes it.to show that the action of the verb repeats
y-gradeinsert -Vyy- before the next to last (penultimate) syllableto show delayed inception
g-gradeformed by lengthening the penultimate vowel of the stem, accenting the antepenultimate vowel, and geminating the consonant that follows the antepenult.to show delayed inception
h-gradeinsert -h- after the penultimate vowel of the stem.to show sudden action

Some examples that show the grades follow:

In this example the l-grade appears because of the suffixes /-na/ 'different subject' and /-o(k)/ 'negative':

... lowat táahana falaamat akíiyokiittook.
lowa-t táaha-na falaama-t ak-íiya-o-kii-ttook
burn-SS completeLGR-DS return-SS 1sN-goLGR-NEG-NEG-DPAST
'... (the school) burned down and I didn't go back.'

The g-grade and y-grade typically get translated into English as "finally VERB-ed":

Taloowah.
Taloowa-h
sing-TNS
'He sang.'
Tálloowah.
Tálloowa-h
singGGR-TNS
'He finally sang.'

The hn-grade is usually translated as 'kept on VERBing':

Ohó̱bana nittak pókkooli' oshtattook.
Ohó̱ba-na nittak pókkooli' oshta-ttook
rainHNGR-DS day ten four-DPAST
'It kept on raining for forty days.'

The h-grade is usually translated "just VERB-ed" or "VERB-ed for a short time":

Nóhsih.
Nóhsi-h
sleepHGR-TNS
'He took a quick nap.

Nominal morphology

Noun prefixes

Nouns have prefixes that show agreement with a possessor. [28] Agreement markers from class II are used on a lexically specified closed class of nouns, which includes many (but not all) of the kinship terms and body parts. This is the class that is generally labeled inalienable.

sanoshkobo' 'my head'
sa-noshkobo'
1sII-head
chinoshkobo' 'your head'
chi-noshkobo'
2sII-head
noshkobo' 'his/her/its/their head'
noshkobo'
head
sashki' 'my mother'
sa-ishki'
1sII-mother
chishki' 'your mother'
chi-ishki'
2sII-mother

Nouns that are not lexically specified for II agreement use the III agreement markers:

a̱ki' 'my father'
a̱-ki'
1sIII-father
amofi' 'my dog'
am-ofi'
1sIII-dog

Although systems of this type are generally described with the terms alienable and inalienable, this terminology is not particularly appropriate for Choctaw, since alienability implies a semantic distinction between types of nouns. The morphological distinction between nouns taking II agreement and III agreement in Choctaw only partly coincides with the semantic notion of alienability.

Noun suffixes

Choctaw nouns can be followed by various determiner and case-marking suffixes, as in the following examples, where we see determiners such as /-ma/ 'that', /-pa/ 'this', and /-akoo/ 'contrast' and case-markers /-(y)at/ 'nominative' and /-(y)a̱/ 'accusative': [29]

alla' naknimat
alla' nakni-m-at
child male-that-NOM
'that boy (nominative)'
Hoshiit itti chaahamako̱ o̱biniilih.
Hoshi'-at itti' chaaha-m-ako̱ o̱-biniili-h
bird-NOM tree tall-that-CNTR:ACCSUPERESSIVE-sit-TNS
'The bird is sitting on that tall tree.' (Not on the short one.)

The last example shows that nasalizing the last vowel of the preceding N is a common way to show the accusative case.

Word order and case marking

The simplest sentences in Choctaw consist of a verb and a tense marker, as in the following examples: [30]
o̱batok.
o̱ba-tok
rain-PT
'It rained.'
Niyah.
niya-h
fat-TNS
'She/he/it is fat, they are fat.'
Pí̱satok.
pí̱sa-tok
seeNGR-PT
'She/he/it/they saw her/him/it/them.'
As these examples show, there are no obligatory noun phrases in a Choctaw sentence, nor is there any verbal agreement that indicates a third person subject or object. There is no indication of grammatical gender, and for third person arguments there is no indication of number. (There are, however, some verbs with suppletive forms that indicate the number of a subject or object, e.g. iyah 'to go (sg.)', ittiyaachih 'to go (du.)', and ilhkolih 'to go (pl)'.)

When there is an overt subject, it is obligatorily marked with the nominative case /-at/. Subjects precede the verb

Hoshiyat apatok.
hoshi'-at apa-tok
bird-NOM eat-PT
'The birds ate them.'

When there is an overt object, it is optionally marked with the accusative case /-a̱/

Hoshiyat sho̱shi(-ya̱) apatok.
hoshi'-at sho̱shi'(-a̱) apa-tok.
bird-NOM bug-(ACC) eat-PT
'The birds ate the bugs.'

The Choctaw sentence is normally verb-final, and so the head of the sentence is last.

Some other phrases in Choctaw also have their head at the end. Possessors precede the possessed noun in the Noun Phrase:

ofi' hohchifo'
dog name
'the dog's name'

Choctaw has postpositional phrases with the postposition after its object:

tamaaha' bili̱ka
town near
'near a town'

Examples

Some common Choctaw phrases (written in the "Modern" orthography):

Other Choctaw words:

Counting to twenty:

At " Native Nashville " web , there is an Online Choctaw Language Tutor, with Pronunciation Guide and four lessons: Small Talk, Animals, Food and Numbers.

See also

Related Research Articles

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Muscogee language Indigenous American language

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Muskogean languages language family

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Koasati language Native American language spoken in Louisiana

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References

  1. 1 2 Choctaw at Ethnologue (21st ed., 2018)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Choctaw". Glottolog 3.0 . Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. Munro 1984
  4. 1 2 3 Broadwell (2006:15)
  5. Broadwell (2006:19-20)
  6. 1 2 3 Broadwell (2006:15-20)
  7. 1 2 3 4 Broadwell (2006:16-18)
  8. 1 2 Broadwell (2006:18-20)
  9. 1 2 3 Broadwell (2006:18-19)
  10. Broadwell (2006:21-26)
  11. Broadwell (2006:18-21)
  12. Broadwell (2006:125)
  13. Broadwell (2006:60-62)
  14. Broadwell (2006:124-125)
  15. 1 2 3 4 Broadwell (2006:26-27)
  16. Broadwell (2006:130)
  17. Broadwell (2006:219)
  18. Broadwell (2006:16)
  19. 1 2 3 Broadwell (2006:26)
  20. Broadwell (2006:137-140)
  21. Broadwell (2006:140-142)
  22. Broadwell (2006:148-152)
  23. Broadwell (2006:98-99)
  24. Broadwell (2006:169-183)
  25. Broadwell (2006:184-190)
  26. Broadwell (2006:191-193)
  27. Broadwell (2006:161-168)
  28. Broadwell (2006:52-63)
  29. Broadwell (2006:64-92)
  30. Broadwell (2006:32)

Sources

Further reading