Choctaw language

Last updated
Native to United States
RegionSoutheastern Oklahoma, east central Mississippi and into Louisiana and Tennessee
Ethnicity20,000 Choctaw (2007) [1]
Native speakers
9,600 (2015 census) [1]
  • Western
    • Choctaw
Language codes
ISO 639-2 cho
ISO 639-3 cho
Glottolog choc1276 [2]
Oklahoma Indian Languages.png
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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]

Native Americans in the United States Indigenous peoples of the United States (except Hawaii)

Native Americans, also known as American Indians, Indigenous Americans and other terms, are the indigenous peoples of the United States, except Hawaii. There are over 500 federally recognized tribes within the US, about half of which are associated with Indian reservations. The term "American Indian" excludes Native Hawaiians and some Alaska Natives, while Native Americans are American Indians, plus Alaska Natives of all ethnicities. Native Hawaiians are not counted as Native Americans by the US Census, instead being included in the Census grouping of "Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander".

Choctaw Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States

The Choctaw are a Native American people originally occupying what is now the Southeastern United States. Their Choctaw language belongs to the Muskogean language family group. Hopewell and Mississippian cultures, who lived throughout the east of the Mississippi River valley and its tributaries. About 1,700 years ago, the Hopewell people built Nanih Waiya, a great earthwork mound located in what is central present-day Mississippi. It is still considered sacred by the Choctaw. The early Spanish explorers of the mid-16th century in the Southeast encountered Mississippian-culture villages and chiefs. The anthropologist John R. Swanton suggested that the Choctaw derived their name from an early leader. Henry Halbert, a historian, suggests that their name is derived from the Choctaw phrase Hacha hatak.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.



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 (Original), Byington/Swanton (Linguistic), and Modern (Mississippi Choctaw).

Byington (Original)

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.

Byington/Swanton (Linguistic)

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.

Modern (Mississippi Choctaw)

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.

Modern (linguistic variant)

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 (Oklahoma) after their 'removal'. 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 (Oklahoma) after their 'removal'.

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.


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.

Florida State of the United States of America

Florida is the southernmost contiguous state in the United States. The state is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Straits of Florida. Florida is the 22nd-most extensive, the 3rd-most populous, and the 8th-most densely populated of the U.S. states. Jacksonville is the most populous municipality in the state and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. The Miami metropolitan area is Florida's most populous urban area. Tallahassee is the state's capital.

Louisiana State of the United States of America

Louisiana is a state in the Deep South region of the South Central United States. It is the 31st most extensive and the 25th most populous of the 50 United States. Louisiana is bordered by the state of Texas to the west, Arkansas to the north, Mississippi to the east, and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. A large part of its eastern boundary is demarcated by the Mississippi River. Louisiana is the only U.S. state with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are equivalent to counties. The state's capital is Baton Rouge, and its largest city is New Orleans.

Texas State of the United States of America

Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, while the Gulf of Mexico is to the southeast.



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. ^ According to one analysis, all nouns must end in a consonant, but this is considered controversial. [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

Free variation in linguistics is the phenomenon of two sounds or forms appearing in the same environment without a change in meaning and without being considered incorrect by native speakers.

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

Phonological processes of consonants

Voiced velar fricative consonantal sound

The voiced velar fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in various spoken languages. It is not found in Modern English but it existed in Old English {Baker, 2012, P. 15}. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ɣ⟩, a Latinized variant of the Greek letter gamma, ⟨γ⟩, which has this sound in Modern Greek. It should not be confused with the graphically similar ⟨ɤ⟩, the IPA symbol for a close-mid back unrounded vowel, which some writings use for the voiced velar fricative.


The voiceless glottal fricative, sometimes called voiceless glottal transition, and sometimes called the aspirate, is a type of sound used in some spoken languages that patterns like a fricative or approximant consonant phonologically, but often lacks the usual phonetic characteristics of a consonant. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨h⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is h, although has been described as a voiceless vowel because in many languages, it lacks the place and manner of articulation of a prototypical consonant as well as the height and backness of a prototypical vowel:

[h and ɦ] have been described as voiceless or breathy voiced counterparts of the vowels that follow them [but] the shape of the vocal tract […] is often simply that of the surrounding sounds. […] Accordingly, in such cases it is more appropriate to regard h and ɦ as segments that have only a laryngeal specification, and are unmarked for all other features. There are other languages [such as Hebrew and Arabic] which show a more definite displacement of the formant frequencies for h, suggesting it has a [glottal] constriction associated with its production.

Voiceless palatal fricative consonantal sound

The voiceless palatal fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ç⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is C. It is the non-sibilant equivalent of the voiceless alveolo-palatal sibilant.



Short 1 Long Nasal 2
Close front iĩ
Close-mid back oõ
Open central aã
  1. ^ In closed syllables, [ɪ], [ʊ], and [ə] occur as allophonic variants of /i/, /o/, and /a/. Traditional orthography distinguishes the lax allophones from the tense vowels but failed to distinguish phonemic long vowels from phonemic short ones.
  2. ^ Nasal vowels are not distinguished by duration given that they are already phonetically long.


  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]

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]

Smallest possible word

  • The smallest possible word in Choctaw must contain either two short vowels or one long vowel. [8]
  • /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/→∅ / #____

/-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/
/li/→∅ / ____/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

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
  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____

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. All are prefixes except -li, a suffix. [20]

1st sg.(-li)sa-am-/a̱-ak-
2nd sgish-chi-chim-/chi̱-chik-
2nd pl.hash-hachi-hachim-/hachi̱-hachik-

I, II, and III are neutral labels for the three person marking paradigms. Some authors (Ulrich 1986, Davies, 1986) have called them actor–patient–dative or nominative–accusative–dative.

The 1sg I agreement marker is /-li/, the only suffix among the agreement markers. It is discussed in this section along with the other agreement markers.

I, II, and III agreement are conditioned by various kinds of arguments. Transitive active verbs show the most predictable pattern. With a typical transitive active verb, the subject will take I agreement, the direct object will take II agreement, and the indirect object will take III agreement.

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

  • Habli-li-tok 'I kicked him/her/it/them.'
  • Ish-habli-tok 'You kicked him/her/it/them.'
  • Habli-tok 'She/he/it/they kicked him/her/it/them.'
  • Ii-habli-tok 'We kicked him/her/it/them.'
  • Hash-habli-tok 'Y'all kicked him/her/it/them.'
  • Sa-habli-tok 'She/he/it/they kicked me.'
  • Chi-habli-tok 'She/he/it/they kicked you.'
  • Habli-tok 'She/he/it/they kicked him/her/it/them.'
  • Pi-habli-tok 'She/he/it/they kicked us.
  • Hachi-habli-tok: 'She/he/it/they kicked y'all.'
  • 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:

'We saw you.'
'You told us.'

Intransitive verbs show more complicated patterns of agreement. For intransitive verbs, the subjects of active verbs typically trigger I agreement, the subjects of stative verbs typically trigger II agreement, and III agreement is found with the subjects of some psychological verbs. [21]

'I ran.'
'I am fat.'
'I am skilled.'

This type of morphology is generally referred to as active–stative.


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
  • '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]

'She runs.'
'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]

'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 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 show delayed inception
h-gradeinsert -h- after the penultimate vowel of the 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":

'He sang.'
'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":

'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'
chinoshkobo' 'your head'
noshkobo' 'his/her/its/their head'
sashki' 'my mother'
chishki' 'your mother'

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

a̱ki' 'my father'
amofi' 'my 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]
'It rained.'
'She/he/it is fat, they are fat.'
'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'


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

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Muskogean is language family spoken in different areas of the Southeastern United States. Though there is an ongoing debate concerning their interrelationships, the Muskogean languages are generally divided into two branches, Eastern Muskogean and Western Muskogean. Typologically, Muskogean languages are agglutinative. One language, Apalachee, is extinct and the remaining languages are critically endangered.

Koasati language Native American language spoken in Louisiana

Koasati is a Native American language of Muskogean origin. The language is spoken by the Coushatta people, most of whom live in Allen Parish north of the town of Elton, Louisiana, though a smaller number share a reservation near Livingston, Texas, with the Alabama people. In 1991, linguist Geoffrey Kimball estimated the number of speakers of the language at around 400 people, of whom approximately 350 live in Louisiana. The exact number of current speakers is unclear, but Coushatta Tribe officials claim that most tribe members over 20 speak Koasati. In 2007, the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, in collaboration with McNeese State University and the College of William and Mary, began the Koasati (Coushatta) Language Project as a part of broader language revitalization efforts with National Science Foundation grant money under the Documenting Endangered Languages program.

Chickasaw language Native American language of the Muskogean family

The Chickasaw language is a Native American language of the Muskogean family. It is agglutinative and follows the word order pattern of subject–object–verb (SOV). The language is closely related to, though perhaps not entirely mutually intelligible with, Choctaw. It is spoken by the Chickasaw tribe, now residing in Southeast Oklahoma, centered on Ada.

Tunica language language

The Tunica language is a language isolate that was spoken in the Central and Lower Mississippi Valley in the United States by Native American Tunica peoples. There are no native speakers of the Tunica language, but as of 2017, there are 32 second language speakers.

Tonkawa language language spoken in Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico by the Tonkawa people

The Tonkawa language was spoken in Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico by the Tonkawa people. A language isolate, with no known related languages, Tonkawa is now extinct. Members of the Tonkawa tribe now speak English.

Ayacucho is a variety of Southern Quechua spoken in the Ayacucho Region, Peru, as well as by immigrants from Ayacucho in Lima. With roughly a million speakers, it is the largest variety of Southern Quechua after Cusco Quechua. The literary standard of Southern Quechua is based on these two closely related Quechua varieties.

Comanche language Uto-Aztecan language spoken by the Comanche people in the United States

Comanche is a Uto-Aztecan language spoken by the Comanche people, who split off from the Shoshone soon after they acquired horses around 1705. The Comanche language and the Shoshoni language are therefore quite similar, although certain consonant changes in Comanche have inhibited mutual intelligibility.

Eastern Pomo language language

Eastern Pomo, also known as Clear Lake Pomo, is a nearly extinct Pomoan language spoken around Clear Lake in Lake County, California by one of the Pomo peoples.

Pazeh language language

Pazeh is an almost extinct language of the Pazeh, a Taiwanese aboriginal people. It was a Formosan language of the Austronesian language family. The last remaining native speaker of Pazeh proper, Pan Jin-yu, died in 2010 at the age of 96. Before her death, she offered Pazeh classes to about 200 regular students in Puli and a small number of students in Miaoli and Taichung. Kulun was a dialect that became extinct earlier. The insulting name "fan" was used against Plains Aborigines by the Han Taiwanese, and the Hoklo Taiwanese speech was forced upon Aborigines like the Pazeh. Hoklo Taiwanese has replaced Pazeh and driven it to near extinction. Aboriginal status has been requested by Plains Aboriginals.

The Awngi language, in older publications also called Awiya, is a Central Cushitic language spoken by the Awi people, living in Central Gojjam in northwestern Ethiopia.

Khwarshi is a Northeast Caucasian language spoken in the Tsumadinsky-, Kizilyurtovsky- and Khasavyurtovsky districts of Dagestan by the Khwarshi people. The exact number of speakers is not known, but the linguist Zaira Khalilova, who has carried out fieldwork in the period from 2005 to 2009, gives the figure 8,500. Other sources give much lower figures, such as Ethnologue with the figure 1,870 and the latest population census of Russia with the figure 1,872. The low figures are because many Khwarshi have registered themselves as being Avar speakers, which is also considered their literary language.

Yabem, or Jabêm, is an Austronesian language and a division of the Melanesian languages spoken natively by about 2,000 people at Finschhafen, which is on the southern tip of the Huon Peninsula in Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea, despite historical evidence that shows that the language originated in the northern coast. However, Yabem was adopted as local lingua franca along with Kâte for evangelical and educational purposes by the German Lutheran missionaries who first arrived at Simbang, a Yabem-speaking village, in 1885. Yabem was the first language for which the missionaries created a writing system because it was the first language that they encountered when they arrived. They even created a school system to provide education for the Yabem community.

The roots of the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) are basic parts of words that carry a lexical meaning, so-called morphemes. PIE roots usually have verbal meaning like "eat" or "run". Roots never occur alone in the language. Complete inflected words like verbs, nouns or adjectives are formed by adding further morphemes to a root.

Athpare, also known as Athapre, Athpariya, Athpre, Arthare, Arthare-Khesang, or Jamindar, spelled Athpariya I to be distinguished from Belhariya, is an eastern Kiranti language.

The Nukak language is a language of uncertain classification, perhaps part of the small Nadahup (Makú) language family. It is mutually intelligible with Kakwa.

This article is about the sound system of the Navajo language. The phonology of Navajo is intimately connected to its morphology. For example, the entire range of contrastive consonants is found only at the beginning of word stems. In stem-final position and in prefixes, the number of contrasts is drastically reduced. Similarly, vowel contrasts found outside of the stem are significantly neutralized. For details about the morphology of Navajo, see Navajo grammar.

Ute dialect language

Ute is a dialect of the Colorado River Numic language, spoken by the Ute people. Speakers primarily live on three reservations: Uintah-Ouray in northeastern Utah, Southern Ute in southwestern Colorado, and Ute Mountain in southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah. Ute is part of the Numic branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family. Other dialects in this dialect chain are Chemehuevi and Southern Paiute. As of 2010, there were 1,640 speakers combined of all three dialects Colorado River Numic. Ute's parent language, Colorado River Numic, is classified as a threatened language, although there are tribally-sponsored language revitalization programs for the dialect.

The indigenous languages of the Americas form various linguistic areas or Sprachbunds that share various common (areal) traits.

Neve’ei, also known as Vinmavis, is an Oceanic language of central Malekula, Vanuatu. There are around 500 primary speakers of Neve’ei and about 750 speakers in total.


  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 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)


Further reading